A Great Big Impromptu Announcement

At approximately 1:40pm we found out the very county that we live in was issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples at 2:00pm. Now, the Missouri ban was put in place in 2004 and put into our Constitution. Ya know, ridiculous. Right? So, St. Louis has been issuing marriage licenses. And today, my county announced their own intentions to issue marriage licenses in our two court houses; in downtown KC and then in the adorning town to mine.

I called the office in that town to make sure. You can’t always believe the internet. And it was the hot topic of Facebook in Missouri friends and family on my timeline. But, there was no way I could vet the issue until I called the office personally. Besides, it wouldn’t help my anxiety disorder until I figured it out.

So, we looked at each other; Kim and I. There was NO plan. NO more waiting.

This was it. This was the time.

11 years later and a 2 year old later; we were getting married.

20 minutes or so later, we were doing this outside the courthouse:

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We got a nice and pretty new marriage license. We also had an all dressed up Punky holding both our hands. Singing about how she was so excited her Moms were getting married. However, for Punky, a marriage is where she gets to dance. A party where she gets to dance her heart out. She was sorely disappointed. She cried for a good 2 hours about wanting to get married. We tried to tell her we were getting married and we would have a party for her to dance at later. And we will.

She was not at all happy about that answer.

I told her she could help Mommy plan the wedding party. So she will help me plan the wedding party.

Instead, we had our fantastic friends and Punky’s godparents came over and we had a little wedding moment on Kim’s parents’ couch, in their living room. Punky’s godfather is ordained and he helped officially marry us. It was a no fuss event, with pretend sipping of champagne (except that I don’t drink and Kim doesn’t care for champagne). We took a few pictures and now, its official.

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We announced it on Facebook, made it “Facebook Official” and we have had nothing but love and support from both our family and friends. Its been nothing but excitement and overwhelming love and its the best possible outcome we could have asked for. I called my mom, to tell her – it’s her 21st wedding anniversary today! We got married on my mom’s wedding anniversary. Woah.

Kim and I had a very rough week this week. Its been, tough. Kim had a bit of an episode with her Bipolar disorder and it was emotional, scary, and made me worry that we would break – our rope, on a thin strand of fraying edges, would snap. But, looking at my little girl’s eyes and seeing them light up when she said “My moms are married!” made me remember that we have weathered a lot of storms in the 11 years we have been together.

It made me come to the conclusion, that no matter how much hard stuff comes up, we made the most beautiful thing in the world – we made Punky with our love. We went through a ton of tough stuff to make her. This episode, this scary, emotional, and hard episode is not our first rodeo – its not like it hadn’t happened before.

Besides, we never expected this ruling to happen so quickly. It wasn’t something I thought would happen in Missouri until the last of the states were called for marriage equality, so when it happened – out of the blue…. I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in fate. But, I do believe in instinct, and this felt right today. We have waited 11 years. That wait is over. They will appeal the decision, that is inevitable. It will happen – but it’s also inevitable that we will be married. We ARE married. And though we had a rough week…..

We are strong enough. And after 11 years, we are officially married. I am officially a MRS. and its strange and weird to think of myself as married. I’m a wife. Not just a mother. Not just a daughter. Not just a sister. I’m a wife…. well, shit just got real didn’t it?

On This … Our Wedding Day.

Which was not to be.

We didn’t get married. We didn’t call to check on the status. Instead, I drove home from my parents’ house 3 hours away with a carsick toddler who had to pee (potty training) every five minutes down the highway.

By the time we got home, I had stopped at no less than 4 gas stations and hauled a toddler and her portable potty chair ring into their bathroom. Sometimes she went, sometimes, she had already gone. Thank goodness for pull-ups on long car rides.

I also got to clean up puke on the side of the highway. Lots and lots of puke. So much puke that I had to change my kid, wipe down the seat, and then put her back in it. Puke in the hair, puke on the hands, puke on her most favorite blanket. But, once she was done puking and all cleaned up, she was better. Feeling better enough to keep watching her movie.

Mommy was tired. Worn out and tired.

We had a nice visit with my family though. Lots of nice times and sweet moments. And it took my mind off the fact that we weren’t getting married. I got to spend time with people I love and people who were equally as disappointed that we weren’t getting married.

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It’s nice to have supportive family who love us so much. I really is. Of course, there are some well wishers and people who really do mean well – but let’s just say the one thing not to say to console a person who CAN’T GET MARRIED is to tell them that marriage is just a piece of paper.

Or that we don’t need a piece of paper to know how much we love each other.

That’s not the point. The love isn’t the point. This marriage, this paper that so many straight couples (who I love dearly and I know meant no disrespect) take for granted gives so many rights and privileges that we don’t have.

So, actually – yes. WE do need that piece of paper. To make our lives complete and legal and as equal in the eyes of the law, we do need that paper.

In order for Kim to make medical decisions on my behalf without the hassle of courts and lawyers and still the possibility of a judge declaring its not legal. We do need that paper.

In order for us to be equal parents to our daughter, make decisions in all aspects of her life – financial, education, medical – we do need that paper.

I think people forget, or they are just not aware of the many rights that you are afforded when you get married. It’s not about declaring your love to someone, we’ve been doing that for 11 years. Now, it’s about the same rights. The same standard of care we should be getting from our government in the form of taxes, spousal benefits, and guardianship of our daughter.

Its the legal aspect that means the most.

So do I need a piece of paper to tell the world I love the woman I have been with for the last 11 years? No. That’s a given.

I know the phrase “Its just a piece of paper” is one given out of love and consolation. One that is supposed to make us feel better.

Unfortunately. It only means that there are still people in the world, people who love and support us, who don’t fully understand the ramifications of our being unable to marry.

It’s not about religious beliefs. It’s not about love. It’s not about some ceremony or tradition. Its not about procreation or even raising a kid in the ‘right family.’

You can read about what it’s really about: It’s about the rights we don’t have.

It will come and I think that’s what is so frustrating. This delay is just a delay. An unnecessary waste of energy, time, and emotional heartbreak. In the end, what is another month, really? What has changed? Not much.

Other than the idea that we should have been getting married today. And we didn’t.

And these are the Days of Our Lives…..

I feel like we are constantly in some wackadoodle damn soap opera. The roller coaster of our life just never had a moment to slow down and stop. There are never any breaks along the way, it’s just UP and DOWN. UP and DOWN.

Jeez, life, throw me a damn bone.

I’m super frustrated right now because Kim and I got Punky all dressed up and paraded her around the court house in Kansas to get our application for a marriage license. Literally, just last week, this was a done deal and we found out about it on Wednesday. We were excited, we were so relieved. It wasn’t Missouri, but just the few days prior, Missouri did rule that they would recognize gay marriages performed legally in states that do allow that sort of thing.

So, why not, we said?

We only live 30 minutes away from the court house doing it and we could go up there before I went to work the very next day. So, Thursday, we got ready, we all three got up super early. This was a momentous occasion and one we called all our parents about and pumped up our Facebook friends and family with this adorable video from Punky!

It was pouring down rain when we got in the car, by the time we got on the highway, I couldn’t even really see the cars in front of us. The rain was sheets of water, buckets being dumped on our car. Kim looked at me and said, “You must really want to do this.” And if anyone knows me, I don’t drive in the best conditions, let alone these types of conditions, unless I want to get somewhere. I held it together and kept my cool.

Punky got to press the walk button on the crosswalk and go through the metal detector, all while charming the pants off anybody we passed with her ridiculously adorable pea coat and umbrella.

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We finally found our way to the marriage license window and got the application; after swearing to god that our statements were all true. We got the application and they hadn’t even had time to change the pronouns on the application yet, it’s that new. So we had to cross out groom and we had to change he to she. Normally, this kind of thing might bug me, but not at that moment. I didn’t care. I just wanted to do it right.

11 years we have waited. 11 years we have been patiently watching and silently hoping that we will be married in our own state, or at least close. (Kansas is literally right around the corner from us!)  Who cares if the forms are updated. That time will come. I just wanted it to be right.

We signed some stuff, took our application and went home to wait the three day waiting period for Kansas marriage licenses.

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We were going to make a trip back there on Tuesday. We were going to get married and get our marriage license on Tuesday. The long wait for marriage (and tax benefits and rights and equality) was finally over.

Until tonight.

When we read that the Kansas State Attorney General petitioned a block on all gay marriage licenses. There will be a hearing. Sometime in November. And yes, I know – we will get married eventually. With the way the momentum of gay marriage is sweeping the country – it’s going to happen.

But.

It won’t be Tuesday.

And we are all pretty bummed about it.

SAD

And in other news, we are going to visit my family tomorrow – so that will likely brighten my spirits a bit.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Our World Is Full Of Awesome

On the wedding front, we are still saving up the money to drive to Iowa and get the marriage license to make this thing legal. Not as romantic as a wedding should sound, but it’s practical. The fun part is on Pinterest. I was a little discouraged about the venue and stuff being so expensive, well out of our price range. However, we have some awesome and very supportive friends. They suggested some great parks and places in the area. So I am going to scout this place out in person. It’s $100 for the whole day. I think I can spruce it up and make it wedding AND reception worthy. I already have lots and lots of ideas in my head.

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It holds 100 people, which is great for K’s huge Italian family and my semi-large out of town family and of course our friends and co-workers!

I’m thinking if I can get some fabric, we can put it around the outside edges to make it more like a ‘tent’. I am envisioning getting some stringed lights to hang on the inside to give the lighting more of a glow and romance. I have gone to Pinterest for centerpieces and all that, so we can get decorations cheap at the craft store and I’m pretty darn crafty.

We also started painting in this house. K’s therapist recommended that she get some of her creative ideas out in the form of painting. With her BiPolar Disorder, she has a lot of racing thoughts in her manic swings and it’s difficult for her to concentrate. So, this is one way for her to get it out and have an outlet for those thoughts. She has painted some pretty nice paintings. We are a Doctor Who family, so she painted a galaxy painting with a TARDIS for me to display in my cube at work.

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People comment on it a lot and absolutely love it. I helped her paint this one, we did it together. So I really took a liking to painting, so I painted one of my own last night!

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Punky has been way more vocal lately and that’s pretty awesome. Her little voice just melts my heart and I love it! Here’s a little treat – I think I figured out how to post videos!

Can I Borrow Your Backyard?

Holy smokes, people. I didn’t really think about how much is costs to have a stupid wedding ceremony. See, I know earlier I was all “Yay Wedding!” “Yay walking down the aisle!” That was before I went to price venues for an affair such as our wedding. Are you kidding me? $2000 for like three hours? Honestly, I have the food taken care of, I don’t need a dance floor or anything fancy. I just need a place to walk down the aisle in a pretty dress and say I DO to the love of my life.

Is that really so much to ask for?

We are parents of a small child and I don’t have the cash to have even a small affair. I mean, sure we could save it up for a while, but then the wedding would never happen, because we really are the worst savers on the planet! LOL.  And, anyone who knows me personally just laughed out loud for real, hopefully you aren’t drinking anything. Sorry about your nose ….

Anyway, so I am thinking about just crashing someone’s backyard. You know, put some lawn chairs out and pay homage to my redneck roots. Here I am rolling my eyes right now. Seriously, that just won’t ever happen.

But, I suppose, eventually I will make this work. There’s got to be a nice place I can have a decent wedding ceremony and not have to give my imaginary second born child as payment. (We can’t give up the first one, they’d give her back, and we aren’t having a second one, now we’re screwed!) Heh, but really, planning a wedding is expensive!

We have a date though, in May, hopefully. I am really shooting for that, regardless of what we do. And, we will technically be getting married before that, legally, with the paper and all that signed in a month – maybe less, as soon as we get some information from Iowa on how we have to proceed. I don’t want to be driving all the way to Iowa (I know, I know it’s only 2 hours) and find out that we weren’t fully prepared.

I sent an email to the county recorder’s office there on Labor Day and haven’t heard anything yet. I figure they are busy with a lot of midwesterners with the same questions I have about same-sex marriage, since the IRS ruling that just came out. I’m sure I’m not the only one with the questions on how to do this properly. And, Iowa is the closest state we can do it when we are smack dab in the middle of the country. I swear, the midwest needs to get with the program for crying out loud.

So, we have a semi-plan for the trip to Iowa, now we just need to figure out how to make the ceremony nice and still keep it reasonable  for our pockets. It’s really going to be a frivolous expense anyway, but I am set that I will have my day to walk down the aisle. Our mothers will be able to see us stand in front of our friends and family and proclaim our love to the person we have shared the last decade with. Our fathers will have the chance to walk us down the aisle, give us away and dance at our wedding. It will happen. It will.

In other news, I’m still working the night shift, getting off at midnight. I’m still doing a fill in supervisor job in the hopes of making it permanent. Keep your fingers crossed for me, it’s a great opportunity and it’s definitely what I want to do.

And, as always, it allows me to do great things with Punky that I wouldn’t normally be able to do. K and I decided that for pictures that aren’t ‘creeper worthy’ or nude pictures and stuff that I don’t actually ever post, I am not going to password protect, because damnit, I hate doing it. So, for your viewing pleasure, here’s what we have been doing!

Over the last holiday weekend, Punky helped me cook spaghetti. She really just stirred her own pot of cold, salty noodle water and nibbled on the uncooked noodles.

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We also spent some time at Barnes and Noble for the first time with Punky. She had a nice time with their Lego display thing.

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Tuesday we went to story time at the library. I didn’t get a chance to get any pictures of her there, because the story time was too little for her and she was too busy. We may try storytime for toddlers next time.

Then today we went for a little outing to the store this morning. I am just loving the fact that she walks to the car by herself and she can hold my hand, even if she doesn’t really want to.

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She climbs up the stairs, she takes a little break and then of course, becomes distracted by things on the way, but we get there eventually. I know I have more patience than K does in this department, but we are working on it! Our little girl is getting bigger and bigger. Her half birthday is on Saturday! We will likely have a little celebration for her 18 months. I’m sure I will have pictures for you then too!

Hope everyone had a great week and has a great weekend!

 

Wedding Fever

So, I never really thought this would happen. I want to plan a wedding! I want to have that walk down the aisle. I want to stand at the end of an aisle, arm and arm with my dad and look down the aisle at my beautiful K waiting for me. Ten years is a long time and I guess, I haven’t really thought about an ACTUAL wedding before.

But, now it’s possible. Now, it may be something we can do! I’m a typical girl. I want to say my “I Do” in front of my family and friends. I want to show the world that we can and will be together forever!

And along came Pinterest in the midst of ALL the changes to my new status as a ‘fiance’. I’ve been a fiance for 9 years, but I am a head full of schoolgirl plans and beautiful flowers, the dress, the music, the decorations. The invitations, the drapery, the guests, and the food. All with a budget we can afford, but I have waited 10 years for this wedding, I can definitely wait a little longer to make it sweet and worth our love.

So, if you wanna follow my wedding fever on Pinterest, jump aboard the planning of my lifetime! I will say that I haven’t consulted K about the plans yet, BUT, rest assured my darling love, I will consult you! After the fever is over! Think of it as … giving you options! I’m doing the pre-planning!

Love is Love … Even 10 Years Later

I know I spend time talking about how marriage equality would do wonders for my family. How it negatively impacts my family and my daughter that my partner and I aren’t married.  Also, previously, I talked about how my work’s insurance would be changing and going to an IRS governed type plan. That it would affect my health insurance for K and how we would get her to her doctor’s appointments and pay for her myriad of prescriptions. It’s been a worry that’s been on my shoulders for quite some time. Because, K isn’t my ‘tax dependant’ because we can’t get married, she doesn’t qualify for my insurance.

It’s been tough, trying to figure out what we will do.

Then this happened:

All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized for Federal Tax Purposes

I sent the article straight to my HR department and work and asked if she could please research how this will effect our new healthcare next year. I am very anxious to hear back. From what I am reading, and I could be very wrong, I’m tentatively hopeful, it could make K my tax dependant, which means she will qualify for my insurance!

I really hope that’s what it means.

What does that mean for K and I?

It means, 10  years into this relationship and 1 baby girl later, we are going to make a drive to Iowa and get married … legally! We are taking the next step to make it official. I always said i didn’t want to get married more than once, and I meant it. I wasn’t interested in having a “commitment ceremony”  when it didn’t mean anything other than our love and commitment to each other. We already  have that.

What we need is a legal marriage. It really does make a difference. People just don’t understand if they aren’t affected by it. I am over the moon by the way. I am excited to be ‘wife’ and not girlfriend, partner, blah blah. At this point, I’m not really as interested in the ceremony part as the legal part. I really hope my work is going to be able to recognize for healthcare, because that’s really the most important part of this!

I don’t have much to talk about other than this. We are making plans to get married and that’s a big deal. Once we have the paper to make it legal, we can have the ceremony that everyone gets. Punky will look adorable in a flower girl tutu!!

In the end, this little girl is going to have legally married parents.

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Seeing Red For Gay Marriage

CAM00483I  have been sitting glued to my computer screen with live updates on ABC all day. I am in a constant state of nausea and nervousness and I hear the decisions won’t even be made until June. I’m sitting here wearing my red t-shirt, in near tears from the overwhelming sea of red that I find on my Facebook feed from supporters in my own family and friends.

Proposition 8 (commonly known as Prop 8) is before the United States Supreme Court today, and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has its day tomorrow. I am on pins and needles, because these things seriously effect my family and it affects my daughter’s future.

The future of my child’s life is in the hands of someone else and it scares me to death. I am still overwhelmed by the different possibilities that may happen as a result of this monumental event.

I can only hope that it will go our way and we can be treated equal, finally. I am dreaming of a wedding. I am hoping for a marriage. I’m hoping to be treated like my family members, like my friends, like my co-workers.

It’s not about religion, it’s not about a GOD. It’s about human rights. It’s about real people, about the rights of my daughter. It’s about the stability of our family. It’s about dignity and about equality. It’s about loving thy neighbor. It’s about being compassionate.

It doesn’t matter your religious views. It doesn’t matter what you belief or don’t believe in religiously. It’s about what is right or wrong. It’s wrong to discriminate. It’s wrong to call me less of an American because of who I love. It’s wrong to tell my daughter her parents are less than normal. It’s wrong to pass judgement on another human being.

We all deserve to be treated equal. We all deserve to be loved. We all deserve to love one another.

Because I am so overwhelmed with this, I just don’t have the words to convey how much this impacts me. Instead, I have decided to let other people say it for me.

10 Ways DOMA Affects Families Like Mine

A Picture is Worth More Than Words

Equality Thoughts from my Straight Friend

How DOMA Hurts Real Families

And the one who said it the best today, was my very dear friend. I found this post on my Facebook wall, and I hope that he doesn’t mind that I stole it. It really puts all my thoughts and feeling into words I can’t really find.

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“This week, I PRAY for the US Supreme Court Justices. I PRAY that of those who are Christian, they look to their morality and Jesus’ teaching that LOVE knows no bounds and all should be treated with respect, dignity, and LOVE. 

For all of the Justices, I pray they will use their internal knowing of what is right and wrong; as well as the Constitution and the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS as a guide. I PRAY they will remember that their job is a legal one and should not be swayed simply because of a belief they hold religiously. They have a LEGAL job to do. It is only God’s decision who shall be judged upon their sins – NOT that of a government, court, or, dare I say, the people. 

My prayers are with the nine HUMANS who have to make a decision about what is LEGALLY and MORALLY right; NOT what is RELIGIOUSLY right. I hope ALL Americans can respect that even if a decision is handed down that doesn’t match your RELIGIOUS beliefs, it is NOT a cause for you to be upset. This isn’t a question of RELIGION. It’s a question of HUMANITY.” — G.A.

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So, with that, I put out my own hopes and dreams and I land them on the shoulders of 9 people. 9 people who can hand me equality or take it away. 9 people who can tell my daughter that she will be okay with her two mothers. 9 people who can say to the world, it’s time to stand up and treat our fellow Americans as one.

I’m no less and no more than you. My family is no less and no more than  you. I just want to be able to stand up and tell my daughter it’s okay to love and it’s okay to be who you are.