I have something in common with our President: My views concerning marriage are evolving. Not just gay marriage. All marriage. It was country superstar Dolly Parton who once asserted her support of gay marriage this way: "Sure, why can't they get married? They should suffer like the rest of us do." As this blog is currently not equipped with its own laugh track, please feel free to insert bemused, knowing laughter you might have heard on "a very special episode" of "Blossom." I expect that's fair, since Vice President Joe Biden claims that "Will and Grace" are responsible for our country's enlightenment.
My feelings about marriage were once reinforced by shows like "Eight Is Enough," as it roughly paralleled the teeming horde that lived across the street from us. This couple who married in their teens were raising a house full of kids. They stuck together through all kinds of drama, including their own teen-aged daughters' pregnancies and eventual couplings with boys and the confusion that resulted when those grandchildren started showing up next to their aunts and uncles who were just a year or two older than they were. Still working on that bemused laugh track button.
They have since moved away, and we have been made aware of their progress through periodic visits and contact with other neighbors. Last week I found out that after raising all those kids together, that mom and dad were folding the tents and calling it quits on their marriage. Just one kid short of the finish line, they have separated before their last son could move out of the house. This should be their victory lap. Now dad is taking the boy and leaving. All that effort, all those late nights, all that worry and all those moments of joy packed into boxes and moved into the past. I know the challenges of bringing up a family of three, and a dog. I can't fully comprehend what that would feel like multiplied by eight. Or nine. Or ten.
Katherine Hepburn, who never appeared in a very special episode herself, once said,
"Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then." Cue laugh track with rising applause.