“Mommy what is this… vote for Question 6?” my youngest says to me on our way out of the door to school.
“Um, it’s a yard sign. Come on we are running late. Get your book bag.”
“But what does it mean? What is Question 6?” he asks with urgency.
I pause. It seems like every important conversation happens when we are rushing out the door or driving and I can’t focus. This time I stop in my tracks because I realize in this moment that school can wait; this is an important conversation for our family. It deserves my full attention.
“You know how when you take a test, there are a bunch of questions?”
He nods, his eyes are on me, and he’s paying full attention. I take a deep breath unsure of how exactly I’m going to explain this, and in a split second I remind myself “simplicity is key."
I feel like I did as a child jumping off a high dive for the first time, not knowing what will happen or how to go about it.
“Well when adults vote for the new president, there are other questions we have to vote on as well. This year there is a question, question number six, about same sex marriage. And we want people to vote for it, so that couples can get married in Maryland.”
I can see the confusion spreading across his furrowed brow. I jump right back in….
“You know how me and mommy got married in Washington, D.C.? Well this question 6 is for couples, like me and mommy, to get married in Maryland. Right now it’s not legal and we want it to be legal.”
“What do you mean? It’s against the law for you and mommy to be together?” The confusion on his face is changing to panic.
“Are you going to go to jail?” his voice is starting to get that quiver in it like he’s about to cry and he’s blinking his blue eyes furiously in order to keep the tears from falling.
“No sweetie. No one is going to jail. Some people don’t think that same sex couples should be able to get married like couples who are a man and woman.”
“I don’t understand. You’re my mommies.”
“And this question won’t change anything. We will all still be a family. Right now in our country two mommies can only get married in certain places, certain states, and we want mommies to get married in every state. But change takes time. And some people are really scared of change. Did you know that a long time ago people with dark skin were not allowed to marry people with white skin? Did you know that?”
“Like Miranda’s* mom and dad?”
“Exactly. A long time ago it was illegal for Miranda’s* mom and dad to get married and have kids. But now it’s not. And that’s a good thing. Some people sweetie, don’t understand that love is love regardless of the color of your skin or if you are two mommies. Do you understand?”
“Yeah I think so.”
He grabs his book bag, and we start to make our way to the car. My oldest son changes the tone of the morning by reenacting the Ninjago television episode he was previously watching before this conversation began.
As we pull into the school parking lot, my youngest son who has been eerily quiet the entire ride to school says, “Mommy I’m going to say a bad word.” I don’t realize at the time that I’m holding my breath, and I’m unable to stop him.
“Those people that don’t vote for Question 6 are just STUPID! People should be able to love whoever they want, and you and mommy are the best mommies, so it shouldn’t matter that you are both girls.”
I exhale, drawing him into my body and hugging him so tightly. And in that moment, I know that I’m doing a pretty incredible job raising boys who will become compassionate, open-minded men. And I say a quick prayer hoping that there are more parents like me who stop and explain these issues to their kids so we can change the way the next generation views love.
* Child's name has been changed to protect privacy.