Thursday, March 28, 2013

As If Two Women Raising a Child is New? No Data?

Men die in battle and sometimes men simply die. Some of those men leave behind families. Especially after a world war -- or two -- men are in shortage. It was not unusual in our own recent history to have households run by a single woman or a pair of women or a multi-generational team of women.  This is the history that we seem to be delusional about as if all households in the 1950s were traditional -- run by one man and one woman.

There's no information on women raising children without a man in the house? Who are you people? And how did you escape history?

My father and his two sisters were raised by their mother, a widow, and their aunt, who never married. Was this radical? Was this a huge sensation in their neighborhood? No. Some would say, yes, but they were sisters, not two women in love. I disagree. They were two women who made a decision -- out of love for family, for each other, for these three kids -- to make a family, a solid one. After the kids left the house, they continued to live together, to take care of each other.

AS FOR DATE ... how did the children fare? One became a lawyer and engineer. One became a teacher with a masters degree. One became a journalist. They all went on to have families of their own.One of them went on to have me.

The sad truth is that their father drank too much. By all accounts, he was a loving and charming man -- a great dancer, a champion speed-walker, a man who had perfected the pratfall. He was deeply loved and missed. But his relationship with my grandmother was complex, and, before he died -- the result of an Army Jeep accident -- they'd separated. There's a good chance that my grandmother would have raised her children as she did even if he'd lived. This, too, isn't ground-breaking. (My great grandmother was married five times in an era when it took five years to get a divorce.)

Many have pointed out that these Supreme Court arguments against same-sex marriage are the same used when trying to decide whether or not to allow interracial marriage. In one of the presidential debates between Romney and Obama, Romney made outlandish claims about single mothers -- blaming them for rampant gun violence. Remember that one?

And he was sharing the stage with the president of the United States, a biracial man raised by a single mother. He seemed completely unaware of this fact because we, as a nation, enjoy delusions. They keep us feeling like we know how the world works, how love works, how family works, how the human spirit works.

The good news is that we have no idea. So why keep legislating delusions and love and family and the human spirit. My father's childhood was good and sweet and, to be honest, pretty dull.

And further, since when does the fact that it hasn't been done before grounds that it shouldn't be done now?

Let men and women, committed by love to family, raise children. THOSE are the best homes.