“Almost one hundred and fifty four years ago, as Abraham Lincoln approached the cataclysmic rending of our nation over a struggle for other freedoms, a rending that would take his life and the lives of hundreds of thousands of others, he wrote these words: ‘It can not have failed to strike you that these men ask for just…the same thing–fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have.’
The men and women, and the children too, whose voices join in noble harmony with Plaintiffs [who seek to strike down Virginia’s ban on marriage equality] today, also ask for fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as it is in this Court’s power, they and all others shall have.”
Illustration by one of those children. (C: Daddy, this is Abram Lincoln. He was president. He freed the people. And, then a very bad man shot him.)
F (randomly at bedtime): Maria doesn’t know how to sing “Let It Go.” She just says, “Let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore…let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore…” over and over.
D: But, you can sing more?
Fisher proceeds to sing the whole thing, in some parts coming across like someone who doesn’t speak a lick of English but can mimic the sounds well enough — “my so is spiral ee in frozen fact us all around.”
It is actually not such a random conversation, Papa having taken them to their fourth viewing, the sing-along version, a week or so ago…and Daddy stopping every morning on the walk to school to give everyone a chance to stomp on a painted “x” while singing, “Here I stand (stomp on the “x”), and here I’ll stay, let the storm rage on…” Arms go up dramatically, trying to raise up an ice castle. None ever appears, except in the collective imagination, so smiles at each others’ goofiness will have to do for another day.
D (after Fisher finishes his bedtime rendition and after Daddy tickles him in appreciation): Fisher, we need to remember that if you ever have trouble remembering or learning anything, we need to put whatever it is to a melody. Then, you can sing it to remember.
F: That’s a good idea, Daddy! But, I don’t know that song.
D: Oh, you will, Fisher. Trust me, you will.
F (getting first glimpses of the Olympics on TV): Where is Sochi?
C: Oh, yah! I know those games in Russia. Three kids in my class are in Russia.
D: From Russia.
F: Can we go to Russia, Daddy?
C: Why not?
D: Well, they have…
P: People problems in Russia.
F: What are people problems?
D: Guys, you need to brush your teeth and come to bed.
C: Daddy, can you tell us what the people problems are after we brush our teeth?
D: Yes, let’s get moving.
Daddy hopes not to have to explain the “people problems.”
F (while brushing his teeth): Can you tell what the people problems are?
C: (while changing into her pajamas): What are those people problems in Russia?
Why are they stuck on this?
F: (after reading a book): Daddy, what are those people problems Papa said?
Relenting, Daddy tries to explain to Cory and Fisher that some people in Russia (not all people) have passed laws (laws are rules) against families like theirs (no, not because the people in Russia don’t like twins, but because they don’t like families with two daddies or two mommies).
C: That’s not nice. That King, King Marta Loofa said that’s not nice.
F: But, we can still go to Mexico, right, Daddy?
D: Yes, Mexico doesn’t have the same bad laws.
C: Are there other places we can’t go because of those bad people?
D: Well, yes.
F: Like where?
D: Well, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Mississippi and…
C (missing the jab at the Old South): What’s Saudi Arabia?
D: It’s a desert country in the middle east with very bad rules for people like Daddy and Papa and for all women, too.
C: What do they have in Saudi Arabia?
D: Oil. Sand. Desert. Bad laws.
F: I don’t want to go to Saudi Arabia.
D: Neither do I.
A few days later, Fisher works on the final touches of cut-glue-sticker valentines for his classmates.
C (helping): Daddy, I told Lota and Misha and Kissenia about those bad laws in Russia. They said that they already know that.
D: Well, remember, not all Russian people are bad people. It’s just that the people in charge are saying bad things about Daddy and Papa.
F (affixing stickers to hearts): That’s right. They just say, “Go home, we don’t like you, you nasty boy.”
C: I told them that I like the Olympfix, but I don’t like the Russia right now.
D: That’s a good way to say it. But, don’t make them feel bad about what Russia is doing, okay?
C: Oh, they don’t feel bad.
D: How do you know?
C: Because they don’t speak English very well, so, it’s okay.
Daddy keeps wondering what happened during that little cross-cultural exchange, as he helps them make an “Olympfix Valentine” to celebrate finishing the project.
A few minutes later, Cory is singing under her breath, “Russia, Russia, Russia, with the new <garbled>, Russia, Russia, Russia…” She looks up and smiles. “Grease” meets Sochi.
F (excited): See, Cory! ! It has three gold eyes, right, Cory?”
Cory is transfixed. One of the stories that Daddy has been telling the kids at bedtime for years focuses on how the biggest, most beautiful bearded iris, purple with a gold eye, ended up in the centerpiece on the table at Daddy’s pizza place, where the conductor of the mystery train has his lunch. None of the bearded iris bulbs that Daddy has planted has ever produced blooms, but this year, a single beardless one has.Someday, they might know from bearded irises, but for the moment, a beardless one’s emergence (after three days away skiing) is definitely worth early morning gasps and a rush outside.
Fisher definitely looked the part on their first day in ski school.
Cory did, too.
Ten minutes after pick up, Fisher explained that although he didn’t fall as much as Cory did, Cory skied “down the mountain” faster than he did. It seemed a fairly even assessment, and Cory was in no condition to challenge him…