10 February 2009

Something Old

This post is part of Robin's Some/Thing carnival for Freedom to Marry Week, and Mombian's blogswarm on the same subject. Freedom to Marry's event page can help you find local events: get involved!

Something old. We don't have a lot of old things in our house. Politica's parents emigrated as adults; my grandparents emigrated, and they didn't have much. Neither of us comes from families rich in tactile history--there are photographs, of course, in our parents' houses, but not a lot of old things.

We don't have a lot of old traditions in our house, either. We've been conscious of the new for so much of our relationship. When we got married, we designed our Quaker ceremony to include some music (before the silent worship period). We designed the program to explain the ceremony and its context to our guests. We created new rituals to celebrate holidays together, eventually opting together to join a new faith tradition as we solidified our sense of family. It's all new.

We had to represent something old at our wedding. We did have one relatively old guest--Politica's father, who is so delightfully clueless about gay marriage that he only learned that it wasn't actually legal when we got married. (And for years thereafter, he'd ask, every now and again, "so, how's the marriage issue coming along out there, as though our former, extremely conservative state was going to shift any day now. This even before marriage equality seemed to be picking up steam in the states.) We had to find a way, though, to represent the broader sense of old at the wedding. We used old language. Our wedding rings have an inscription in Politica's Family's Ancestral Language, matching the inscription on her parents' wedding rings. We list ourselves as daughter of all four of our parents on our wedding certificate, even though my parents didn't attend and her mother was long dead.

We see ourselves as creating new--but sometimes, I miss something old. I wish we had more things around us connecting us to generations that came before. But our new will someday be Curious Girl's old, and I sometimes think about our family rituals as things we are creating and polishing, creating and softening, readying them for her to take and use as she will, in her life and her family someday. Old will come, and I'm happy to have Politica by my side as it does.

Seven conversations in seven days is a Freedom to Marry program designed to promote creative talk about marriage--click on the graphic to learn more.


Arwen said...

The first time I had a sense of connection to all those who came before was when I was providing labour support, pre-doula training. It was myself and my labouring friend's mom and sister; talking about it later we all felt as if we'd... been part of something bigger, joined a forever discussion.

What sort of traditions are you looking forward to handing forward?

"B" said...

I don't have a lot of traditions in my family, but I find myself evaluating larger cultural traditions a lot. Thinking about why we do things makes us able to make new traditions that are meaningful in ways that reflect our values, which is important. It does make it difficult to get the comfort that old traditions provide (we don't think about it, because we always just did it that way). I still put up X-mas decorations because it makes me happy, even though sometimes I struggle with it in my mind. That might sound lame?