January 18, 2013

by jkatejohnston

Dear Max,

Teresa overheard Enzo and his friends in the school yard:

Kid #1:  My dad’s 33 years old!

Kid #2:  Oh yeah, well my dad’s 40.

Enzo:  Well my mom’s 44 and my other one is 48!

We win.

Being in a two-mom family is completely unremarkable.  Our advanced age on the other hand–as Enzo would put it, we’re the oldest moms ever recorded.  (He picks up language like that from books about snakes and crocodiles which are filled with records and statistics.)

As far as Enzo knows, we’re married.  That was the truest thing we could tell him.  I was thinking about that about how, if the Supremes affirm the 9th Circuit in the marriage cases, we’ll get married officially of course, but what will we tell him?  The notion that we’ve been anything less than married for the past eighteen years is absurd.  Maybe we’ll just sneak off and do it while he’s in school.

But now I’m remembering something that happened a few weeks ago that means maybe what I’ve just written isn’t right.  That is, he doesn’t really think we’re married, even though that’s what we told him.  Kids do learn the world.  They’re almost impossible to lie to.

Anyway, a few weeks ago he asked me if Teresa and I are going to get married.

“We already are,” I said.


“Some people get married again,” I added.  “If we get married again, what should I wear?”

“A beautiful dress.”

“What should Teresa wear?”

“I don’t know.”

“And what would you wear?”

“My handsomest clothes.”

So, you see we won’t have to sneak off after all

But back to the marriage cases and me gazing out my window at work and daydreaming over an open file.  As soon as I noticed I was daydreaming I realized I had to write it down.

Here’s what I wrote.  (Sorry California taxpayers, I can’t think about foster home licensing every single second.)  It’s handwritten very fast, and I’m going to try to just type it and not fix things.  It’s an experiment.

Fantasizing about if Supremes affirm 9th and we have gay marriage in California, how many pairs of Spanx I would have to wear to get into Grandma Clara’s cream knit suit and waltz down to the county clerk to get married.  And at what point additional Spanx begin to add to your girth rather than subtract from it.

And I started thinking about Justice Scalia, how rare it is for someone with all that authority to be as alive as he is.  Of course he’s insufferable on this subject, and if the marriage cases go the wrong way, he’ll write the majority opinion.  But he’s still funny and capable of surprising you.

Law is one of those professions that pull people out of shape.  It’s disfiguring.  Lawyers become logical to the point of idiocy.  And judges are worse.  But some people do stay human.

I’m amazed by how little I think about law as a lawyer, and I like it that way.  Mostly I think about not fucking up and who I need to call and things not to forget.  And walking away from the jail I think such obvious thoughts as:  out here is better than in there and don’t forget to call Shannon’s mom and ask her to put money on his books and don’t forget to turn in the paperwork to get funding for that expert and I’m hungry.  (I haven’t been at my new job long enough to know what I think about.)

 Well, I had to fix a few things in order not to look insane, but you get the idea.

Looking back at all I’ve written about marriage, I see that I hardly mentioned Teresa.  She would be there too!