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Early Morning Dignity

It’s 6 a.m.

Papa has left for the airport on a three-day trip to NYC. Boston makes his big move, from the bed to the back yard to the couch. He stretches out, exhausted, back asleep in minutes. Cinder has also just peed, also outside, and starts jumping up to try to bite anything that Daddy touches or looks at besides him. Quincy is still snoring.

Daddy stares at a list of pre-Octane cases denying motions to shift fees in patent litigation cases…and decides to read Lithwick’s take on yesterday’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court instead. “Yes!” “Damn right!” “That’s what I’m saying!” Toward the end, the read is interrupted by Fisher’s arrival, then Cory’s.

F: …Daddy…
C: Daddy…

Cinder bites at Daddy’s shoelaces. Daddy gets some initial thoughts down while trying to stop Fisher from playing some game that involves enticing Cinder to dive into a big tupperware dish full of water (where’d that come from?) using his kibble while Cory keeps upping the volume of the dance music, the wildness of her moves, and the number of strings of fake, beaded braids (meant for her dolls) clipped into her hair. A second cup of coffee helps.

C: …Daddy…
F: …Daddy?

“The early press accounts during the Supreme Court oral arguments in the marriage equality cases yesterday seemed to sound warning notes, like, uh oh, Justice Kennedy might not be ready to finish what he started. Oh, no! He mentioned ‘millennia’!

Then, I listened to the arguments. (Well, half listened while working on other things.) Every time Kennedy spoke, I tuned in more closely, and I kept thinking, um, what was all the concern about on the marriage equality side? The Michigan attorney keeps trying to tell Kennedy that he’s been wrong (always a good plan to tell a justice he’s wrong) all along, that marriage is NOT about conferring dignity on the individuals who are part of the couple, as well as on their children, it is about trying to connect children to their biological parents. Or something. And Kennedy is like, ‘WHAT THE WHAT?!’ to the idea that marriage isn’t about dignity. And the other moderate justices are like ‘WHAT THE WHAT?!’ to the idea that excluding gay people from the institution somehow leads to fewer illegitimate children.

Oral argument, as usual, seems to have changed nothing.

Straight people (what up, straight people?) have been redefining “traditional marriage” away from a means for conveying property (property that we in the modern world now call “women”) from one man (a father) to another (a husband) for decades. No state requires straight couples who stumble into parenthood by randomly bumping uglies for long enough to procreate to marry each other. No state requires straight couples who have married and successfully reproduced to stay married until the kids are fully grown. No state prevents people from remarrying after divorce. No state requires a fertility test to issue a marriage license. No state denies marriage rights to old folks who are probably past the point of reproducing. No fault divorce, anyone? Hello, adoption laws! On and on…

Marriage is not about connecting children to their biological parents. Kennedy knows that. He has settled on “dignity” as the remaining purpose for marriage, as straight people have been redefining it, because there has to be one. (Right?! I mean, there HAS to be one…) The Michigan attorney made up the whole ‘connecting children to biological parents’ in order to…to…to…what? To keep gay people out of the institution. To keep their relationships inferior to straight relationships. Because the conservative class doesn’t like gay people. Because of their religious convictions and/or bigotry. It is painfully obvious.

And all this hubbub over Roberts’ question about why denial of marriage rights to same-sex couple doesn’t present a “straightforward” question of sex discrimination? Great. Just great. Let’s find a way out without the Court having to recognize that discrimination based on sexual orientation exists and rarely furthers a legitimate purpose, much less a compelling one.

Sorry, straight people. You started down this road toward “dignity”, and, even after an oral argument that began with a (misleading) shout-out to millennia, I still think Kennedy’s going to help bring you home.”

Daddy hits post, drops to the ground to give Cinder some more “morning loves” before ushering the kids to a breakfast broken up repeatedly by songs too dance-tastic to ignore. The kids constantly laugh at Daddy’s weird gyrations.

F: Daddy, how do you do…
C: Daddy, do that shoulder thing…

Cinder starts running around this early morning suburban rave like he’s the one who has had too much coffee. Cory and Fisher scream as he gives them chase. Daddy dances through lunch preparations. Boston and Quincy keep snoring.

There’s so much dignity flying around this house right now, Kennedy couldn’t possibly be bothered by little things like “millennia”…

They Do Windows

Talk on a lazy Saturday turns to allowance.

The twins play some game with coins that leads them to their room to open a piggy bank. They come out together.

F: Daddy, why don’t we get…
C: Daddy, can we get allowance?
D: Omigosh, guys! That’s such a good idea. We haven’t been keeping up with that, have we?
F/C: No.
C: How do we get allowance again? Can I do the windows to get allowance?
D: Well, remember the rules, only one time out per week. You can’t earn any allowance if you have more than one time out in a week. Like this week, when you had to go to your room during dinner?
C: Oh. But, can I do the windows, too?
D: Let’s think about that. But, Rule Number One is only one time out in the week, okay?
C (biting her lip): Okay.
F: What else do we have to do? Can we clean the windows? But, do we have to clean our room?
D: That’s a great idea! You GET to clean your room and your office. You GET to straighten them up. How about you guys work together to clean up your room and office, and, Fisher, you vacuum the living room, and, Cory, you clean the hardwood floors?
C: Okay. And the windows.
F: Yah, and the windows.

They are obsessed with the windows, which they take on as Job One. White rags, water, inside and out, fun music playing.

D (seeing Cory work some moves into her swipes): Hey, guys, should we judge the windows on technical merit AND artistic impression? Technical merit could be how clean the windows end up, and…
C: Artistic impression could be whether we show our moves?
D: Yep!

They both start dancing as they wash. Daddy decides to laugh, rather than record. Fisher is working it. Cinder is fascinated with the kids, the rags, the water, the windows, the moves.

Over an hour later, the house is immaculate. Immaculate. No corners cut. For good or for ill, they’ve demonstrated that they CAN do a great job cleaning up, moves included, when they put their minds to it. Near perfect scores for technical merit plus decent artistic impression means a ch-ching, ch-ching, couple dollars worth.

Conquering Her Knots

After dinner, Daddy washes dishes, Fisher bounces on the trampoline, and Cory fumes.

C (frustrated): But, I can’t get this out, and no one is helping me!
D (for the third time): Cory, just a second. I’m finishing the dishes. My hands are wet. As soon as I’m done, I’ll…
C: One! That’s…
D: help you. If you are just…
C: …a second. And, you are not even helping me.
D: …patient and work at it, I’m sure you can get those shoes untied.
C: I tried, Daddy, and I can’t.
F (arriving at the back door): Cory, will you come jump on the trampoline with me?
C (a little pathetic): I’m trying, Fisher, but no one is helping me untie my shoes.
F (looking down to assess the situation): Oh, I could help you with your shoes, Cory!
C: You can?
F: Uh huh. Come! Come with me, okay, Cory?
C: Okay.
F: Come!

She follows him out to the trampoline.

F (faded voice): Sit down right here, Cory, so I could help you.

She complies. For a few minutes, they babble to each other, mostly about the knots and what they’re going to do after Fisher conquers them. Only half of what they say is audible. He works at her laces as they talk. They must be some serious knots after all. In a show of success, her shoes fly up and hit the side of the netting, eventually making it over. Part one of their plans apparently involved chucking them over the rim, rather than through the opening.

C: Thanks, Fisher.
F: Oh, you’re welcome, Cory!
C: Now, watch this! I am going to…

The two move on to executing the rest of their plans, which involve a lot of bouncing.