In the nearly six years since I held the first of my three children’s newborn hands, they have taught me the endless potential that this world has for love.
From the time I knew I was pregnant on each of my babies I felt equal doses of nerves and excitement. I worried about how they’d come into the world, whether they’d be healthy, and how I woud l fare as their mother. Late arrivals, last minute position changes and faster-than-fast labours, saw them all arrive in their own way, at their own time. One looked around, one screamed and the other whimpered and then bawled. Their Daddy and I welcomed them each without hesitation or reservation, desperate to know them, to hold them and to love them.
Since then I have spent hours nursing them, changed endless nappies, kissed many sore knees, bums, fingers and toes. I have delighted in velvetty folded thighs that tell me my babies and I are a thriving team. I have both stressed and rejoiced at milestones that are eventually reached and quickly surpassed. I have worried about lingering coughs, high temperatures and dodgy rashes. I have helplessly held a convulsing child and screamed for an ambulance to come quickly. I have sat by an incubator deafened by endless beeps begging our smallest to live, to get strong and to come home.
But that was the easy stuff.
This week we all decide whether my children are equal. We decide whether these two boys and one girl, of unknown and irrelevant sexual orientation, are entitled to pay the same taxes, obey the same laws and have the State, their State, recognise their rights. We decide whether they each deserve the same security, happiness, and love. We decide, you and I.
I can raise my children to respect the rules of this Country, but you and I need to ensure the rules are respectful to them. I can teach my children to treat people of every race, faith, gender and background as they would like to be treated themselves, but you and I need to see that they are treated fairly in return. I can show my children how to love with all their hearts, but you and I need to make sure that their love is honoured. I can tell my children that this world is a good place, an inclusive place, but you and I need to make those words come true.
I hope I wake up next Saturday in a Country where my children, all our children, all of us, are equal. I hope we move beyond the dark days where sexuality is shamed, where people lived lonely lives rather than being honest and happy for themselves and others. I hope we decide to change the social contract that is marriage so it includes everyone. I hope that we decide we want equality. I hope we say ‘yes’.