Monday, July 25, 2011

Memories are better when you share them

With New York's first gay marriage taking place just down the river from our house, how could the kids and I not go? Sure, it was at midnight and yeah, there were a lot of people and a throng of press-types. But this was history in the making. And even more importantly, my girls wanted to go see it happen.

So Saturday evening we piled into the car and headed to Luna Island to watch the state's first gay wedding, taking place at midnight between Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd.

The ceremony itself was somewhat short ... and Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster had to slow down, improvise, wait for applause, and just plain pause just to make sure he didn't get "I now pronounce you legally married" out of his voicebox until after midnight.

And when he did, the crowd roared loudly.

Following the ceremony, the brides talked to the press and mingled with the crowd, many of them strangers to the women, self included. They were gracious and seemed thrilled with the response they received.

There was also a ceremony of hope that the nation's 44 states that don't recognize same-sex marriages would change their tune. My oldest was thrilled that she was one of 22 people who got to take part in that ceremony. It's something she'll never forget.

And really, that's what it's all about for me and my girls. We try to experience life in a way worth remembering. We try to live a life worth remembering.

Earlier Saturday, we had gone to Tonawanda Island and toured the Nina and Pinta. We added them to the other famous boats we'd toured before, including the Amistad and the Mayflower. We joked that all we needed was the Titanic and we'd have all the boats on our checklist.

There is actually a checklist. A bucket list, if you will. It includes the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Kentucky Derby. This weekend, I also added the 2012 Olympics in London to my checklist. I've never been abroad and what better reason to visit Europe than for the Olympics.

In the past few years, we've knocked some pretty major ones off our checklist, including the inauguration of President Barack Obama, which I took my oldest daughter to. I had decided before the election itself that I wanted to go to the inauguration, whether Obama had won or whether it was John McCain. I was particularly happy that Obama won because it meant my daughter wanted to come with me, making the memorable moment that much better. “We were there” is a much more meaningful statement than “I was there.”

We also attended Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, which I surprised the whole family with. My girls will remember that it was cold. But they'll certainly remember it. And I'll remember Punxsutawney, as well as Phil. But moreso, I'll remember being there with my family.

Life is more than about getting through it. It's about making memories with those you love. For me, that means doing things that are different … and doing them with my beautiful daughters.

I hope everyone has someone to make memories with.

Kitty and Cheryle do. And my daughters and I think that's awesome.