Wednesday a federal judge in San Antonio joined judges in Utah, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Virginia in ruling that bans on same-sex couples marrying or recognizing out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples are unconstitutional.
“Today the 6th federal judge in a row has ruled – in Texas – that there is simply no legitimate justification for denying marriage to loving gay and lesbian couples,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry.
“The court’s holding is solid and serious, and follows the language and logic of the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling last year and the Constitution’s clear command. With 47 marriage cases in 25 states now moving forward, and the possibility that a freedom to marry case will again reach the Supreme Court as soon as 2015, we must continue the conversations and progress – Texan to Texan, American to American – that show that all of America is ready for the freedom to marry,” Wolfson added.
Kenneth D. Upton, Senior Counsel in Lambda Legal’s South Central Regional Office in Dallas, said: “The yellow rose of Texas has a distinctly rainbow hue today. That the judge in this case saw fit to issue a preliminary injunction preventing Texas state officials from enforcing the discriminatory marriage bans illustrates his belief that the state was unlikely to prevail at trial. As important, this ruling extends the impressive run of recent victories that have stretched from Utah to Virginia. The walls of exclusion continue to crumble as court after court after court recognizes that denying marriage to same-sex couples is discrimination, pure and simple.”
Upton added, “Congratulations to the attorneys in this case – Barry A. Chasnoff, Daniel McNeel Lane, Jr., Jessica M. Weisel, Matthew E. Pepping, and Michael P. Cooley of the firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, as well as San Antonio Attorney Frank Stenger-Castro – and to the plaintiffs. We look forward to the continued progress of this case and to the continued march towards justice for LGBT individuals and their families across Texas.”
The Public Research Religion Institute released data Wednesday that showed increased support for the freedom to marry in the South and in Texas. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Southern millennials support the freedom to marry, and support across the South is split, with 48 percent in support and 48 percent opposed. Support has grown the fastest in the South of any region in the country, more than doubling in the last 10 years. In Texas, support is split, with 48 percent of Texans in support and 49 percent opposed.
On Monday, Freedom to Marry launched a public education campaign called Southerners for the Freedom to Marry, with the goal of building majority support for marriage in Southern states, including Texas.
Brought to you by The Seattle Lesbian
It seemed like Lindsay Lohan threw in the lesbian towel after her tumultuous relationship with celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson, but she got the rumors started again after she posted an Instagram picture seductively cuddling with Keith Richards’ daughter, Alexandra Richards.
Lohan is looking seductively at the camera showing off a bra strap and diamond ring with Richards behind her almost kissing her shoulder. It was captioned: @wolfyrichards @rushzimmerman #snowedinn #quiche #foxwhole.
In January Lohan claimed she was single after being linked to model Christian Arno Williams.
Last year Lohan claimed that despite her relationship with Ronson, she knows she’s straight. But who knows, do you pose with your friends like that?
See more at: The Seattle Lesbian
TNF: Tell me about your family.
Ben: We are three fun loving and down to earth gentlemen. Nick and I have been together since 2005. Our son Sawyer was born via adoption in January of 2013. He is the best thing that has ever happened to us and we thank God every day for the gift that his birth parents gave us. The three of us are currently planning Nick and my wedding which is set for August of 2014.
TNF: How did you meet your husband?
Ben: Nick and I met eight and a half years ago through mutual friends in our hometown. We were both hesitant at first, especially Nick because he had just publicly come out and I was the first person he dated. It was definitely love at first sight. We actually told one another that we loved each other after only dating for two weeks. Nick then transferred colleges to be closer to me. We began to live with one another after a year of dating and bought our first house while still in college less than three years later. Nick and I have always been a fast paced couple. When we set our minds on something we go for it. It may take us awhile to make our minds up, but then we do not stop until we achieve our goals. That is something we would like to instill in our son Sawyer: never stop until you reach your goals.
TNF: Do you feel different from other families? If so, how so?
Ben: We feel very similar and different to families in many ways. No family is the exact same to any other family. In a sense we are all different. However, that being said, we worry about Sawyer just like every other parent, we feed him, bathe him, teach him things and are proud of his every accomplishment. However, our journey to parenthood may be different than the average ‘typical’ family. As every adoptive parent knows, the adoption process is hard and stressful, but the end result is indescribable. I love my family and would not ask to be in a different family.
TNF: Where do you live and is it tough being a gay couple where you live?
Ben: We currently live in a suburb of Madison, Wisconsin. Compared to other places that I have either lived, been to, or read about, being a gay couple and family is acceptable and we are treated nicely. We do not fear going places or the idea that we could be physically harmed for who we are. However, that is not to say that we feel as though we are treated equally. A lot of people will ask us who the “mother” is or who the “man” of the relationship is. In addition, we choose not to show public displays of affection of any sort, including holding hands, because you simply do not see that from same sex couples where we live. We are happy with how we are treated for the most part, but there is still a long way to go before we feel we can be truly accepted and ourselves out in public.
TNF: What has having a family meant to you?
Ben: Having a family is everything to us. Since Nick and I began dating 8 ½ years ago all we have ever talked about is starting a family together. We would sit on our couch and dream about what being a parent would be like. It is everything we dreamed and more. Nick and I were born to be Sawyer’s parents; I truly believe that. I wake up everyday thankful for my family. To all those couples or individuals out there wanting and wishing to have a family it can come true, you just have to work for it and be patient. The end result is worth every struggle, tear and doubt.
Thank you Ben and Nick for sharing your story with us. Congratulations on your engagement!
By Bianca Dalangin
My name is Bianca Y. Dalangin. Born in Cavite, the Philippines, my father and I migrated to the United States when I was three.
At the age of seven, my dad came out to me . Because I was raised in an archetypical traditional family who did not really practice these beliefs, I initially thought that having this preference was morally wrong, and even illegal. Being clueless and naïve about the LGBTQ community, I constantly questioned my dad’s motives and choices, and wondered if he was ever going to be that “normal” dad again.
However, as I grew older, I realized that his sexuality or preference of another gender did not change his character in any way. He is my dad. He was there, is there, and will always be there to kiss wounds, mend patches, and teach life lessons. Even when I grow older, and colder, and sassier, he still loves me, and keeps his promise of unconditional fatherly love. He will always be my dad, and I will always be his daughter, and I will always love him forever.
As soon as high school started, I resurrected the Los Angeles Chapter of COLAGE. COLAGE is an organization for people with LGBTQ families, who have learned to love their families and share their beliefs of equality and family with the world. I want people who are in the same boat to be inspired and to know that they have people like them to talk and relate to. At the same time, I want people who are not in the same boat to be aware and educated of LGBTQ families and to live with open minds. I am more than proud to be leading the LA group, and am having so much fun meeting new people whom I can relate with. It is definitely challenging to keep a new group running, but I do not regret being part of the COLAGE family and spreading the COLAGE love.
Long ago, the “normal” family consisted of a pious, domestic mother, a manly working father, three children, a white picket fence, a dog, and a goldfish with a thirteen-day life span. Today, that belief has changed. The next family loves each other unconditionally, and lives through an unbreakable bond of friendship. The next family tells their deepest secrets and humiliations through dinner conversations and family fun nights. The next family cheers for each other, win or lose. We cannot completely eliminate the limited thought of how a normal family should be like, but we can at least try our very best to open up more hearts, clear up more minds, and share more of the world’s many loving families.
The Next Family is now.
This last year has been a big coming out year for athletes and celebrities. With every coming out story we get one step closer to an understanding and a common movement toward equality. Last night’s reception in Los Angeles for Jason Collins, the first openly gay athlete to play in North America’s four professional sports, was supportive and embracing as the Laker crowd stood and applauded when he stepped onto the court.
Here are the fabulous and beautiful top 10 celebrities that came out in 2013/2014
2014-Ellen Page revealed she is a lesbian in a moving speech at the Human Right’s Campaign Time to Thrive event.
2014- Michael Sam, a defensive lineman from Missouri came out in interviews with ESPN and the New York Times.
2013- Actress Maria Bello came out in a New York Times piece entitled Coming out as a modern family.
2013- Robin Roberts, Good Morning America anchor came out in a Facebook post last year thanking her “long time girlfriend.”
2013- Bob Harper, personal trainer on The Biggest Loser comes out as gay to help a contestant through struggles.
2013- Actor Victor Garber, best known for his roles in Deception and Titanic addressed his same-sex partner in a new interview last year. It should be noted that he originally mentioned his partner in a 2012 interview with Canada’s Forever Young News.
2013- Today’s show Jenna Wolf came out on air and announced she is having a baby with her partner Stephanie Gosk.
2013-Tom Daley, 19-year-old British diving star who won an Olympic Bronze medal, came out in a You Tube video announcing that he is in a relationship with a man.
2013- Abc Family Actor, Matt Dallas came out in a tweet revealing he is happily engaged to his boyfriend.
2013- Actress Raven-Symone came out on Twitter announcing that she can finally get married.
By Anthony Romeo
It’s the time of night in New York City when the neon lights are casting a purple pallor over the low-hanging clouds, wispy violet tendrils inching through the avenues, before another sun goes to sleep in a sleepless city. And I’m not watching it at all, because I’m watching a baby try to poop.
This must be one hell of a poop. I can see the furrowed brow of concentration and force, coupled with the scrunched cheeks and tightened fist of determination. This baby is about to accomplish something enormous, and I can’t turn away.
These things have been happening lately, you see. I just find myself captivated. Whether it’s a baby in a grocery store who can’t stop putting the broccoli in his mouth or the little girl at the rink in a hockey jersey in her Dad’s arms, smiling at me as an entire period of hockey passes by without my knowledge.
Our neighbor’s 11-month old baby is the light and the joy of living in our duplex. He hugs me, and tugs on my facial scruff, and always beams when he sees me. He sat on my lap for the entirety of his first musical. We immediately steal our friends’ babies and hold them until we are forced to give them back. Maybe steal is a harsh word.
If I had ovaries, I think it would be safe to say they’ve been aching. I want a baby. I want a baby very, very badly. All around us now, as my husband and I slide handsomely into our thirties, our friends are having babies. I’ve always been less interested in trends and more focused on what feels right for me individually.
I am so excited for my friends when I hear about their pregnancies. I have amazing friends, beautiful, loving, caring friends. And they’re going to make amazing moms and dads, I’m sure of it. Far be it from me to begrudge a woman her vagina. But there’s that part of me that wants a baby so badly for myself, for my husband. To make our family happen. We want to experience every moment of our baby’s life, from the first time we feel a tightened grip around our pointer fingers to the first diaper change, first word, first anything and first everything.
We started looking into the adoption process. In approaching my 30th year, I’ve lost the ego that tells me I need to have a child that is biologically mine. I will take any baby. I don’t care if the baby is Black, white, Asian, chubby, skinny or a jerk. Do you hear me? If you have a baby and it’s a jerk, I will take it. Pack his stuff in a box, I’ll pay for shipping and handling.
Well, the adoption research didn’t take very long, as it turns out. $2,500 for a home study. $1,000 for a home study update. $3,000 for pregnancy-related expenses. $3,000 for travel. $6,000 for out-of-state agency fees. $2,000 for “finalization expenses.” $1,500 for additional attorney fees. $150/hr. for birth parent counseling. $150/hr. for pre-adoption consultation. $150/hr. for private adoption information meetings. With specific agencies, there is a $20,000 child placement fee.
That’s at least $39,000. Thirty-nine thousand dollars. So ultimately, if we’re able to find a child who never needs to eat, wear clothes, go to school, leave the home or have any substantial quality of life, it looks like we just might be able to afford this.
If “Toys ‘R Us” sells toys, then logic would follow that “Babies ‘R Us”… nevermind. I already checked.
Maybe surrogacy would be easier, you might suggest. No, $80,000 is not easier than $39,000. Both are batsh*t crazy.
Real life is different than television. Couples like us are different from the couples on “Modern Family” and “The New Normal.” Money has to be earned, and that is hard.
We do not have, and will not have, an extra forty grand, or eighty grand just lying around. Can we afford to have a baby right now, in terms of the costs of living and providing for a newborn? Absolutely. Do we have the time to take care of a newborn? Absolutely. Do we have jobs that allow us the paternity leave to be there as our child grows up? Yes, we do. Are we ready? Mentally, emotionally, are we ready for our entire lives to change and adjust to a new life in the house? Yes. A thousand times, yes. And because our marriage is now legally recognized at the state and federal level, nothing is standing in the way of our having a family protected to the fullest extent of the law.
But unless Oprah or Ellen or Angelina Jolie is going to pay for a baby for us, we’re left watching for one sailing through the air from Rosie O’Donnell’s Koosh Launcher. Santa has left me disappointed every year. Let me appeal to you here, faithful reader. Looking past the insanity of adoption fees, here are the qualifications that I think make us fantastic candidates to be parents.
Me, Dad #1. (Or maybe it’ll be Pop? Daddy? Something cute our baby calls me that I can’t even imagine right now?) Here’s what I bring.
1.) I know every lullaby ever created. I am the best shower singer in theseUnited States. I have seen literally hundreds of Broadway shows and am prepared to sing that baby to sleep every single night of its life until it’s thirty or I’m dead.
2.) I have been a hockey fan for 20 years. I will care too much that my son or daughter is also a Devils fan. That child’s first Halloween costume will be in a hockey jersey. And there will be facepaint.
3.) Happiness and celebration matter to me. So there will be Christmas decorations and Halloween decorations and Easter decorations and the happiest of birthday parties and celebrations for good report cards and celebrations for Arbor Day because trees matter and on President’s Day I might dress up as Thomas Jefferson because it will make my child laugh and all I want in this world is to have a child that is mine and to make it laugh.
4.) I don’t know how to do girl’s hair. I will probably never know how tobraid, but I will happily send my daughter to school with a sloppy braid, because I will try so hard. Hmm, maybe that’s not my best sell. You know what, we have friends who will do her hair.
My Hubby, Dad #2 (Pop might be a better name here, he does wear old hats really well, and that feels like a “Pop” thing to do.)
1. He can cook anything, from anything, and it will be the most delicious dish you’ve ever eaten. I will only eat French Fries, but he will teach our child about being what other folks call “healthy and nutritious.”
2. He is a teacher, and he cares more about children than I could possibly imagine. He has dedicated his life to children, and if he works half as hard at being a dad as he does as a teacher, our child will be President. Unless we end up adopting that jerk baby we discussed earlier. Then maybe he’ll just wind up in the Senate.
3. He can parallel park better than anyone I’ve ever met.I feel like this is something that might not get covered in a home study for adoption, but my husband will out-parallel-park your husband eleven times out of ten. So I’m pretty sure our baby will be a great driver, and a responsible parker.
4. He is a good man. Good men make good fathers. This is a no-brainer.So, there it is. These are among the many and varied reasons that I think we will be good parents, should be parents. Our parents can’t wait to spoil a baby. This would be the first grandchild in our family, and I think you all know what that means.
There will be too many family members passing around the new baby, too many stories about what we were both like as babies ourselves. Too many toys, shiny plastic celebrations of a new beginning. And there will be embarrassing photos trotted out, like this one.
My body and my head and my heart feel like they can’t wait to be holding a tiny bundle of baby-love in my arms. But I have to wait. For something, I suppose. A magical stork in a cabbage patch, a family who hears about two dads-in-waiting or an overhaul of the costs of the adoption system that makes adoption affordable for two dads with a lot of love and a lot of hope. For now, we have our cat. And as much as he puts up a fight when it’s time to put his pajamas on, it’s the best we can do. It is all we can do. It’s just a little less fun to see him poop.
Until then, we’ll find happiness in unexpected places. Grocery stores, hockey games, our friends’ homes. And their babies. Every tiny smile and giggle we’re lucky to share. Someday our prince or princess will come. And we can’t wait to be part of it. Even if waiting is the only thing we can do.
(Author’s Note — All babies pictured in the above article are otherwise spoken for, with parents who will not give them up, no matter how hard I try. I’ve even offered chocolate. They aren’t budging.
Thanks to the parents of Baby Max and Andie Lynn for use of the adorable pictures.)
You can follow Anthony on Twitter
By Rob Watson
We just passed Valentine’s Day. Gay parents around the country are being attacked by those who want to deny them marriage equality rights in courts around the country. The reasons do not make sense, but neither does trying to undermine love.
One of the most nonsensical reasons is the suggestion that gay couples marrying is done for only romantic love, and heterosexual couples are doing it for love of family. Rather than submit logic here on why heterosexual couples are as likely to enjoy consensual relationships with each other, and how same sex couples can be as strongly “child centric”, I decided to go ahead and commemorate the day by BEING child-centric instead.
Here is my Valentine. It is not to my partner Jim, whom I adore. He will got his own valentine last week. This one is to my sons for whom I live and for whom I would die. Jason and Jesse, both eleven years old, were adopted as babies from the foster care system. They were each born to drug addicted birth parents and put in life threatening circumstances. I am the only dad either have ever known.
Dear Jesse and Jason,
Hi guys! It is Valentine’s day and tonight you spent the evening writing out your cards and putting together little gifts for all your school mates. I thrill over the joy and generosity you exhibit in wanting to make sure each person is touched, and that everyone of them knows you care.
My sweet boys, this is my valentine back to you.
You have transformed me. I knew who I really was destined to be the minute I looked into each of your eyes. I thought I knew before then, but I did not know completely. In those two instances, I looked deep and heard my soul mutter, “Hi there, I’m your Dad.” The incredible thing is, that each of you looked back with a gleam that said, “Yes, you are.”
I thought when I was young that I wanted to win an Academy Award someday. (You know, that’s the show where I take over the TV for the night…) Watching you grow, and become the young men you have, has been the greatest honor of my life. Lights, camera….no cinematic action, just one heck of a lot of pride.
I also thought, when I was young, that I wanted to be a super hero. (I know you guys have thought about being ones too!). Here is a secret for you. You made me into one. When you were little, you gave me the power to heal owwies with a single kiss. You each would fall down and cry, and then run into my arms and with just one of my cuddles and a single kiss (sometimes to the owwie itself), waala! It was miraculously healed. The tears dried up and in less than a minute, you were back to your happy self. You also gave me the power of incredible magnetic force—as soon as I walked into your pre-school room, your little bodies came flying at me at an incredible speed and force that it almost always knocked me down. You gave me the power to overcome all adversities against all things yucky. Somehow, someway, I no longer wretched at poopie diapers, vomit covered t-shirts (mine) or spiders, the later of which I was the designated hit man against.
(I will let you know as you enter your teen years that I have developed a keen x-ray vision and ability to hear through walls. You have been officially warned.)
There are people in this world who believe that people cannot love as deeply as we do unless the kids were made by the Dad. Jesse, you got this reaction recently when classmates made faces to you after you told them you have two dads. They were wrong and I hope you never let their mistaken ideas get to you. They just don’t know us.
What they don’t understand is, I did make you. And you made me. None of us would be who we are without the others. We pro-created each other. There are people who believe that if we don’t share the same DNA we cannot have the bond that we do. They are wrong. I don’t cherish my DNA. I cherish you. More than anything, you rock my world.
When people attack families like ours, it does make me angry at times. I too get hurt over the ignorance they display. I feel wounded for the people who suffer at the hands of their opinions. I feel helpless sometimes that I can affect a change. I need to be reminded myself of what I just told you: they don’t know us.
I get reminded when something happens as it did tonight when I came to bed. On my pillow was an item more powerful than homophobia and self-righteousness put together. In the creases of the bed linens was something that makes me invincible. It was a slightly wrinkled, cut out white paper heart with these words scrawled on it:
“I Love You Daddy”
With that, you restored my super powers once again. I am ready to take on the world, and I hope you are too. You both have all my heart, all my soul. You are my Heaven and Earth. Happy Valentine’s Day.
TNF: Tell me about your family. How old are your kids? Did you get married/have a ceremony?
Garon: There are three dudes in our house. My husband Jamie, our little guy Matteo, and myself. Jamie and I got married in June 2012, first legally In front of the United States Capitol in DC. Then we jumped on a plane to Ft. Lauderdale, and that weekend our parents flew in and married us in a ceremony in front of 70 friends.
We never would have guessed that just a few months later we’d have our little man, but in November of 2012, Matteo was born in Howard County, Maryland. We worked with an agency, Adoption Makes Family, in Maryland and they market heavily toward jails and hospitals so that when a child is born, and a mother wants to place him or her for adoption, they are the first call. It seemed a long shot, but that’s exactly what happened just 5 months after our wedding.
We woke up one morning, Jamie was packing for a business trip to the UK later that day when the phone rang. “What are you guys up to?” said the adoption agency director. I looked at Jamie and in the worst makeshift hand signage possible I motioned to him, “do not say you are packing!”
“Your son was born this morning, “ he said. We were completely in shock. We had no idea he was coming that morning, or that we were the next family for placement.
TNF: How did you meet your husband?
Garon: Jamie and I met at the Washington Sports Club in Columbia Heights and it’s still the gym we go to today. We saw each other on the floor, in the locker room, our lockers were right next to each other but no one said anything. It wasn’t until we were walking out that I caught up to him and said, “hey, I’m Garon. What’s your name?”
TNF: Do you feel different from other families? If so, how so?
Garon: No, I don’t think we feel different at all. Family looks like so many different things in my opinion, and we’re one of those many variations. We clean up cheerios, change diapers, laugh, watch Lion King, and worry about our kid just like anyone else. However I will say that when we move through airports and board flights, it feels like absolutely everyone is staring. We either get the ‘that’s so awesome’ smile or the ‘disapproving glance’. Gate agents have asked us, “So whose the dad?” TSA always seems momentarily confused. Flight attendants love it.
TNF: Is it tough being a gay couple where you live? Do you feel accepted?
Garon: Washington, DC is a wonderful city to be gay in. I actually think it’s one of the most gay populous cities in the US. But you never know what might happen and we’re not taking any chances. We often take long multi-hour walks around the city with our son. When we do, there’s a baseball bat in the bottom of the stroller. Sometimes gangs come in from other cities to commit a crime as a challenge and then leave. I think two dads and a baby would seem a bragging rights target. We’re prepared to beat the shit out of anyone that tries. President Obama said, “No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street, holding hands with the person they love.” I hope one day soon, that comes true.
TNF: Why did you decide to start GayDadSwag?
Garon: Right after we adopted Matteo, I started looking around for a site that connected gay dads. There was nothing. I thought there’s got to be a site that brings together gay dads from around the world, shares their stories, their pictures, and gives straight allies a place to voice their support.
So I created Gaydadswag. To me Swag is the way you carry yourself. It’s you being you, in whatever way that is. And we’re cool with that. Initially it started as a Tumblr. In the first two weeks it went around the world. So I spent a couple months building the dot com and creating a team. Now www.gaydadswag.com is the first of it’s kind in the world. I hope it changes minds and hearts and gives people a window into these beautiful lives. There’s people from all walks of life that write us and tell us they read it. Mom’s groups, straight dads, kids, and young people from all over the globe. Google analytics shows us that people in places (to name a few) like Saudi Arabia, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Uganda, and Russia, are looking at it. We are so grateful to have that direct connection to them.
TNF: What has having a family meant to you?
Garon: Honestly, it’s everything. I knew I wanted to be a young dad before I knew that I was gay. I knew I wanted to adopt before I knew I was gay (maybe because I’m adopted myself). So when I came out, I thought, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue this dream of having a family. Looking back, I wish I had a site like Gaydadswag to show me what that might have looked like.
I sort of went on blind faith. There’s this beautiful moment that happens once in awhile, when the three of us are lying in bed, or on an airplane, or reading together, and I stop and look at them and I think, there’s no where else I’d rather be than with these two. I think often about when I might die. Will I live well into old age or will I be killed in an accident of some kind? I tell myself, whenever that moment comes, I hope the last image I process, is of my husband holding our son. That’ll be enough for me.
Jamie is from Rotterdam, New York. Garon is adopted from Sri Lanka, his family is American. Matteo is half black, half white. They all dance to P!nk & Madonna on the regular, play soccer in the house, and travel a ton.
Thank you Garon and Jamie for bringing tears to my eyes with your beautiful story. Keep in touch with The Next Family.
By Brandy Black
I have two-year-old twins and a 6-year-old daughter. This might be my favorite combined age of all three. They play together (sometimes), they laugh and most importantly they help each other. We, for the first time in two years, sit back and watch until one of them chucks a car at the other’s head. Tonight my wife was working and I made dinner for all three and watched as they danced around the kitchen singing “I want to build a snowman” from our new family favorite soundtrack. Sophia showed Bella how to dance like Elsa so that they could play “Frozen” together. Penn hummed to the music while pushing cars back and forth beneath my legs. When their plates hit the table they all marched over, Bella climbed into her highchair because she no longer requires, or should I say allows our help. Penn stood dangling with one arm waiting to be perched up and Sophia plopped in her chair with her doll Lile beside her. They all use forks, they all chat, at the same time. Our kitchen is loud. I never imagined having a house full of children and a constant buzz of incessant noise. My back turned, adjusting the volume on the speakers, it hit me, all at once, I heard my children. I have children, that fill this house and make it a home. Three very distinct personalities. Bella, assured, bossy, a tomboy–prefers Penn’s clothes, a foodie, independent, distant to strangers giving them the F eye when they look at her. Penn, quiet, happy, always preferring cars, trucks, balls and anything that makes sound, he gives hugs and kisses, and has learned everyone’s name in the house but his own. He adores his sisters above all. Sophia, girly, sassy, full of attitude, thoughtful in ways that I have never been–making things for everyone in the house daily, a kind, gentle, hard-ass sister that doesn’t put up with anything. She rules with an iron fist and a heart of gold.
When dinner was finished Bella got out of her high chair and pulled up a big kid chair to sit between her brother and sister. I gathered their berries and granola for dessert when I heard a loud scream from Penn. I turned to find him holding onto his twin sister who was dangling sideways from the chair. She had a tight grip on his pinkie finger and that hold was the only thing keeping her from hitting the ground. Penn has always been her protector, her hero! The three of them take care of one another in their own unique ways and I’m merely the lucky Mama that gets to sit back and watch their bond grow each day.