We live in a “more is better” culture. So living in two homes for a large portion of your childhood may not seem like a big deal if you haven’t done it.
There are a number of children’s books on the subject, and from what I’ve seen, their thrust is “more is better.” Two of everything is better than one.
If it were only that simple.
Last time I wrote about “two homes,” I asked my readers to participate in a thought experiment.
Here is another one.
Our starting point is:
More is better.
Let’s exaggerate it. Since more is better…
Living in “three homes” will be better than living in two, right? Does that sound too far fetched?
It is not.
California, living up to its reputation as the land of fruits, nuts and flakes, now allows three or more legal parents for children. The “three parent bill” was inspired by an ugly lesbian-marriage custody dispute, and signed by Gov. Brown in October 2013. In 2012 he vetoed the same bill. Why he vetoed it in 2012 but signed it in 2013 remains unclear to me. Being the cynic that I have become, I wonder if he wanted to distance himself from the ugly circumstance that inspired the bill.
Anyway… remembering that more is better…
What about “five homes”? Five is better than three, right? Does that sound too radical? Not for some people.
“I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally. I don’t see why we should choose two of those parents and make them into a sanctioned couple. And because those five parents we have two groups with two different citizenships… [next she describes the family structure these kids have]. The five parents break down into two groups of three who have two different citizenships. And really I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality. And I don’t think that is compatible with the institution of marriage.”
“… five parents legally…”
Since the five legal parents won’t have to live under one roof, this means “five homes” for the children. And we have a large group of people cheering these ideas. No thought whatsoever as to what that means for those kids… but since “kids are resilient” this means we can do whatever we want with their family structures and it’s all good. Never mind that Ms. Gessen was raised by her own married parents and so never had her ontology muddied by the presence of step-parents and others who are not related. She takes far too much for granted and, literally, cannot even begin to relate to what she is making her children endure. I’m sure she imagines that “five parents legally” means five times the love. But she is wrong. It means alienation, loneliness, ontological wounds, liminality, and codependency.
The Cinderella Effect is real but who is changing their lives because of it? Do you know anyone who uses this as reason to stay together for the kids’ sake? As a reason to preserve (or even respect) their childs’ ontology? Maybe I’m just too jaded, but it seems that lots of kids could die like this boy before masses of people would begin to question their beliefs surrounding premarital sex (aka, having kids outside marriage), cohabitation, divorce, remarriage, the definition of marriage (aka gay marriage), and third-party reproduction (surrogacy).
“Five homes” is not even the last stop on this wild ride–it gets worse. But I’ll save that for another day.