Monthly Archives: March 2012
For Andrew’s sixth birthday, I told him that we can start watching the Star Wars movies. My husband and I began with a nerdy conversation about viewing order, did a little research, found someone who has spent a lot more time thinking about this than we have, and then went with our original plan: we’ll watch them in the order they were released. Original trilogy followed by new trilogy.
I don’t think Jordan, at four, is ready to watch the movies yet, so it can be challenging to find good times to watch them with Andrew. But in the month since his birthday, we’ve managed to watch A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.
While watching The Empire Strikes Back, I wasn’t entirely sure that Andrew was following the plot. I’d ask questions, offer explanations, but I just wasn’t sure. Until we got to the “Luke, I am your father” scene.
“It can’t be true!” Andrew yelled, more to Luke Skywalker than to me. “Don’t believe him, Luke, he’s not really your dad! He’s trying to trick you!”
Andrew continued his advice to Luke throughout the scene. “Don’t go to the dark side, Luke! Think about what Yoda taught you! Don’t listen to Darth Vader!”
When the credits rolled, Andrew turned to me and said, “Did you know that would happen? I couldn’t believe it! We watched Darth Vader in two movies, and I had no idea he was really Luke’s father! That must make Luke so mad!”
What really makes me laugh is that I never considered the possibility that Andrew would be surprised. That Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father seems like such a fundamental fact to me, it never crossed my mind that Andrew wouldn’t know. But of course he didn’t!
His reaction was priceless, and something that I’ll never forget. I knew watching Star Wars with my kid would be cool, but I didn’t realize how cool it would be.
I thought it was a joke.
All this time, and I thought the idea of someone asking which member of a male couple is the woman was just a joke. Or, if not a joke, something said just for the purpose of being offensive. Something that only the most bigotty of bigotty nitwits would ever say.
I think I was wrong.
I don’t remember what the conversation was about, but I was talking with my best friend, probably about our kids and how hers had done something cute while mine had scratched each other to bleeding again. (It’s a good guess, because it’s frequent.) The topic turned to parenting styles or something, and she asked the following:
“So, just out of curiosity … how often do people ask you which one of you is the mommy?”
I laughed, and said, “Never! No one has ever asked me that question.”
“Of course, really. It’s like a joke, a variation on ‘Who’s the woman?'”
We talked a little bit about the idea of “who’s the woman?” and how it’s a question that speaks to this fundamental misunderstanding of relationships. There’s no woman in my relationship with Austin. That’s … kind of the point.
“Oh, good,” my friend said, “that’s exactly how I answer the question about which of you is the mommy. I laugh and say, ‘No. There are two dads.'”
I casually said that I thought that was an excellent answer, but there was kind of a pit in my stomch as I realized …
“Wait. Someone asked you whether one of us is the mommy?”
“Mark, people ask me that all the time.”
I asked her who asks her that question, but then I stopped her. We both agreed that I am probably happier if I don’t know. It’s not my own friends, she assured me. But it’s friends of friends. People I see casually, some of whom I’ve been acquainted with for years.
I slowly come to the realization that I tend to put myself in a bubble. I’m usually friendly, but I’m cold and aloof when I think someone is a moron. I don’t make friends with people who require some sort of “living in modern America” education in order to be my friend. If I find out that you vote Republican, chances are that I quietly unfriend you on facebook. Ditto if you post about defunding Planned Parenthood or how vaccines probably cause autism.
I used to be more of a … steward of the gays, I guess. At the end of my freshman year of college, my roommate asked, very seriously, if we could talk. He sat me down and told me, basically, that I had changed his worldview. He got a little choked up and said that he was sorry if he’d ever been an asshole to gay people. I remember telling him that he’d never been an asshole to me, so if he needed to apologize to anyone, I wasn’t it.
That may have been the most dramatic example, but it was something that was repeated many times in my college experience. People used to tell me that I had changed their opinion.
For a while, I just assumed that it was a college thing. Something that happens during those exploratory, decide-who-you-are years. And maybe it is.
Or maybe I just used to be nicer.