Proudly Out: Not Just Another Thanksgiving
For the last eight years, families -- all kind of families -- across the country have gathered together for food, fun, love and perhaps a little dysfunction on Thanksgiving. Political Editor Libby Post pauses to give thanks.
For the last eight years, families -- all kind of families -- across the country have gathered together for food, fun, love, warmth and perhaps a little dysfunction on Thanksgiving.
Many of us would actually go through the exercise of saying what we’re thankful for. For kids, it would be an extra day off from school. For shopaholics, it would be Black Friday. For Republicans, it would be George and Dick in the White House. For the rest of us... well for the rest of us we were thankful that the Constitution was changed to limit presidents to only two terms.
Last week, as we went to the various homes of family and friends we consider family, our thankful thoughts no doubt turned to our President-Elect. We’re thankful because the Supreme Court won’t fall into the hands of neo-cons who would rather protect corporate piracy than personal privacy. We’re thankful because greed will be replaced by accountability. We’re thankful because there will be someone sitting in the Oval Office who isn’t afraid to say the words lesbian or gay. We’re thankful because we’ll finally have a President who will act like a President.
But we’re also thankful for the people with whom we’ll be sitting around the table.
On Thursday, we drove down to New Jersey to celebrate Turkey Day with my childhood buddies. Yes, at age 50, we’re all still part of each others lives. One dates back to first grade, one to fifth and one to seventh. We are all bicentennial graduates -- we were handed our high school diplomas in 1976. Of the four of us, three are lesbians and one straight. Just for the record, it’s the straight girl who is my best friend!
We’ve been a part of each others lives for quite some time. We’ve been through the ups and downs of relationships, the joy of child birth, the challenges of sick kids and the delight of academic achievement. We’re all professionals -- a college professor, a lawyer, a physical therapist and a business owner. We all have kids. We’re all nice Jewish girls from Long Island.
Bottom line, we consider each other family. What we were thankful for that night was that we’re able to define who our family really is. It’s not about heterosexual sex that results in progeny as the Radical Christian Right wants everyone to believe. It’s about finding the people who mean the most to you and having them a part of your life. It’s not just about blood and heredity. It’s about love and commitment.
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Dinner Friday night proved that to a point. After T-Day, we came back to Albany and celebrated Thanksgiving again with another group of folks I also consider family. Lynn and I joined Alex, our son, for another turkey and vegetarian dinner at his dad’s house. Around the table sat dad, step-mom, step-sister, her husband and their son. You really need a spreadsheet to keep it all straight.
But the point I’m trying to make here is that once again we’ve defined family. Sure there’s a bit of biological basis to it. Lynn and Dale, her former husband, had Alex the old fashioned way. At first he knew mom and dad and then mom, mom and dad and then mom, mom, mom and dad. His family expanded exponentially and so did the experience of his life.
When we got together that evening, we looked around the table and were incredibly thankful for what life has given us.
We were also thankful for the sense of relief that came when the presidential election was called and is still with us. Sure, none of us are looking at our 401-K statements -- and, I’m very thankful for that. But there’s an overwhelming sense among all of us that despite the hard times we all know are ahead, we’ll have a leader in the White House who can bring us all together instead of driving wedges to capitalize on our differences.
I’m thankful that there just may be a different way of being an American -- actually the old way -- working together as family, friends, community and a country to put us all back on track and help us all reach our potential. It’s going to be a long haul but if my buddies and I can stay in touch all this time and Alex’s parents can redefine what family means then I really do think anything is possible.
Miss the last "Proudly Out"? Read it here.