2016 was a rather quiet year for us… though busier in some ways, with lots of milestones for the little ones. Addison turned six, started first grade, lost her first tooth, and had surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids. She has a love of all things teal, American Girl dolls, and making art.
The twins celebrated their third birthday over the summer. Kate is still obsessed with the Red Sox, has more stuffed animals than any child should, and loves to use big words, especially when scolding her brother. Evan loves to cook (banana bread muffins are his speciality), thinks Superman is awesome, and recently discovered a passion for Paw Patrol. When they are not causing mass chaos in our house, the twins enjoy creating “arts and crafts,” or playing outside. Evan’s heart is still stable, and he’s now heavier and taller than Kate.As usual, we tried to cram lots of adventures in during our down time, including snowshoeing, hiking, traveling, visiting museums, and more. We planted our garden, made art projects, and hung out at the library. Trips to ice cream stands were a weekly staple once the warm weather returned.
For the second summer in a row, we packed up and moved to Vermont so Kendra could continue working on a second masters. While she studied hard, the kids and I explored more of Middlebury and the surrounding area, hiked, visited the library, and ate lots of yummy food.
I even got to meet one of my heroes – cartoonist Alison Bechdel! Her comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For, was a lifeline for me when I was coming out in college. I fangirled a bit hard, but she was kind enough to listen to my rambling and pose for a selfie.
The toughest part of the year came over the summer when my Grammy passed away. It wasn’t unexpected, but it was painful nonetheless. She was an amazing woman. I am so grateful for the 40 years she was a part of my life, and for the fact that all my kids got to know and love her.
Over the year, we’ve gotten to know more of our neighbors, and we continue to fall in love with where we live. There are always loads of kids in and out of our house – it’s not uncommon for us to have lots of extra folks around the dinner table. Some of the neighborhood highlights were a trip into Boston, a mom’s night out for dinner, our annual pumpkin carving party, and a “drive in” movie for all the kids.
We celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah in South Carolina. It was a wonderful week filled with good food, fun, hiking, and spending time with Kendra’s family. The kids were thrilled to see their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and especially to play with their cousins, Olivia and Jada.
Though it’s been a good year for us as a family, my heart aches. I think a lot of people are feeling similarly. 2016 has not been an easy year. Bathroom bills, terrorist attacks around the world, a surge of racism and xenophobia in our own country… it’s starting to feel like hate trumps love.
The tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando hit us especially hard. Gay bars were such a huge part of my life when I came out, and for years after. The Common Ground in Ithaca, NY, was my safe haven in college. Where I felt like I belonged. I had to apply to get in when I was under 21. I took my form with shaking hands to get it notarized in downtown Ithaca, worried the clerk would pass judgement on me. But she smiled, and handed the form back to me. And with that signature, I had a safe space.
So when the massacre at Pulse was carried out, it struck fear in all of us in the LGBTQ+ community. Kendra and I sought comfort in others, and refused to succumb to fear and hatred. We hung a rainbow flag outside of our house, and took the kids to vigils to pray for Orlando.
Of course, Orlando wasn’t the first, or last, tragedy of 2016. My heart has broken a little more with each act of violence and hatred. Our hopes raised as election day came – we were so excited to take the kids with us to cast our ballots.
Yet despite the polls, Kendra somehow knew that Trump would win. I penned an open letter to Trump Voters in hopes of reaching the hearts of those on the fence. Waking up after election day, I felt beyond disappointed.
We spent our last night of 2016 watching Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix. It seems especially fitting in these times. Here’s hoping this year will surprise us all… though after tonight’s attack on a night club in Istanbul, I fear we are in for more of the same.
Yet, ultimately, I truly believe that love trumps hate. Our resolutions for 2017 are to fight even harder for equal rights for all, to speak up when we see injustice, and to be a voice for the oppressed.
I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight, I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice. – Theodore Parker
Wishing you all a safe, happy new year!
My Favorite Posts of 2016
- The Enduring Love of a Grandmother
- Finding Love in the Green Mountains
- 10 Tips for Stay at Home Parents
- The Donor Talk: When Kids Have a Sperm Donor
- Hiking and Birdwatching at Lake Conestee Nature Park