Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cast me gently...

...into morning - for the night has been unkind.

I attended a fundraiser last night that was both emotional and inspirational. We raised thousands of dollars that will surely make a difference in my community over the next year. The people who attend this kind of event are not the same people I brunch with on Sunday mornings. (aside from a dozen or so) They are pioneers and things legends are made of. I was very proud to be in their presence.

As I was helping guests check in, a man I hardly know came up to me and asked if I had heard the rumor that my ex is moving back to SLC. She used to work with him and they still know common people through her church and his employment. My heart sank. Could it be my chance? Could her moving here be a sign that she's searching, again, for another life that might include allowing me to know my daughter? And then my heart said no. No, please don't move back here. I know her well enough to know she'll never be "wrong" and having them this close - knowing they'll be around the corner or in the next city...I can barely breathe when I think of it.

When she first moved out and stopped visitation, Gray was just over two years old. They moved just 5 miles away. For the first year, during litigation, I hardly saw her. But I would drive by, walk by, run by, imagine - 24/7. I would pray for just a glimpse of Gray on her slide or trike. Every now & then she'd let me in and let me watch her sleep. Those moments were priceless to me but to live through that again will be reliving a torture that I wouldn't wish on anyone. Hope is what kept me alive through those times and it's not something I have anymore.

God, don't let it be true.

I was asked to speak for a few minutes about my case and about the changes that need to happen so it won't happen again. As usual, I thought a thousand times how nothing we change will help my Gray. Of course, I pray it will help every other Gracie but it hurts me that we are too late for mine. I practiced many times before we arrived. I wanted to acknowledge people that had such a positive impact and worked so hard for me and Gray. I had specific names in mind. I wanted to speak about my incredible attorney and all of our lgbt legislators that plead for me on the House and Senate floors. I wanted to list ideas for legislation to help future families in my situation. I wanted to talk about some of you who are right in the middle of nowhere with me.

Instead, I spoke about my job and the love I have for this work. I spoke about how I became involved and that it wasn't until I was directly effected by discrimination. I realized that I never even thought about lgbt parental or rights of our children until I was a parent - until I actually had a child. This seems simple but it was eye opening for me because I think most people walk in those same shoes.

When I spoke about Gray and the loss of her, I realized that last night was two months - exactly - from the ruling that changed our lives. My voice cracked and that was all I had. I looked out into the audience and found safety in C's eyes. She lead me to the end of my words and her eyes walked me all the way back to her.

If it takes my whole life - I won't break, I won't bend.
It'll all be worth it in the end. (thank you, Sarah)