My little boy has been figuring out love for a while.
He asks great questions, comes up with amazing hypotheses and takes his experiences to new and unexpected places.
Even after he gets married, for instance, he's still going to come home at night to sleep in the family bed. And I'm still going to help remind him to do his chores, especially when he has too much laundry (HA!).
We recently figured out that I'll probably not be able to help him with "major" bottom wipes, so he's been working on that one, thank the stars, because I had been trying to figure out how to walk into a board meeting and call adult Milo out for a wipe down...
At least one BIG conversation, for me at least, has been about WHO he wants to marry.
At five, just like at four and three, Milo has given his heart and future plans to his friend Devious. Recently, his friends Trouble and Frat-bound have also joined that circle. Together, the four of them intend to buy a house and get married when they are older, like eight or nine or sixty. They'll live together building Legos and pooling their money to buy cool toys and eating chocolate all day.
I couldn't be prouder.
I know it's time to insert a snarky comment here, like about my future in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Devious and their recent, silly immigrant comments. Or just generally about my son and his boyfriends. But it AMAZES me that he's so intent on building a loving circle around him of people he intends to always care for and about.
The fact that Devious, Trouble and Frat-bound have mocky nicknames doesn't mean I don't adore them for being kind to and beloved by my son.
But this brings me to the bigger, meatier issue: WILL he be able to marry Devious, Trouble, or Stan or Aiden/Jaden/Kaden or any other boy he wants to?
At least twice now, another child has told him that he CANNOT marry another boy. And both times, he's come to me looking very solemn and asking for reassurance that his world is exactly the way he left it - marriage to boys intact.
I don't know who Milo is going to grow up into.
I hope all the fine things I see in him now - his sense of honor, of gentleness, his analytic and engineering prowess, his artistry, his humor, his love of words - grow into gifts of mind and spirit that bolster him and keep his life beautiful and meaningful.
And I hope that his capacity to love and embrace his friends and remain loyal to them only increases.
He may, like many boys, discover that girls DON'T have cooties. And he may take any number of paths toward adulthood, toward love both romantic and sexual that continue to shape and alter him over the years.
Whomever he loves, though, what I hate, what I DESPISE, is how at some point I have to help him recognize that there is a world of people out there opposed to love the way he sees it today.
Jamie and I have told him, every time he asks, that even though WE are a man and a woman, many families have two dads, two moms, one mom or dad or other combinations - and we point to the families we know like that. And every time he asks about how he can be a dad (which he very much wants), we've pointed to all the people we know who are adopted - like his mom - and found a home and a family created by love rather than by biology.
It may be that we've given him seeds he doesn't need. That he'll fall in love with a girl or four and never need to worry personally about the people in this world who don't want love and commitment to be about love but instead about conformity and gender.
I don't get those people. I'm mad at them. At the ones I know (hi, Mormon nephew who posts anti-gay-marriage-Facebook links) and at all the ones I don't (hello 51% of California voters).
My little boy is growing up in a world that I just want to shake by the shoulders and point out how VITAL love is. I want Milo to perceive his world as loving, embracing and beautiful. Not hating. Not angry. Not biased or prejudiced or small.
So today, I want to say "Thank you, Iowa and Vermont. Thank you, Massachusetts. And FIGURE IT OUT, everywhere else."
My boy is five. I'm 39. And I expect to dance at his wedding.