Posted on: Friday
A few weeks ago, while running errands down on the west side, we stopped to sit for a minute in Christopher Park and enjoy the fleeting early winter sunshine. It was an unseasonably tepid day, and it seemed that with the shedding of layers everyone in the city also shed a bit of their hardcore New York attitude. Everyone just seemed a little happier, a little lighter than usual. We sat on the benches and people-watched; we watched the couples walking hand in hand, the dancers with a boom box vogueing in the corner of the park, the business men and women buzzing by with their heels clicking against the pavement, the intermittent floods of people bubbling up out of the subway exit every few minutes, the dogs walking their owners and taxis screeching to a halt to pick up their passengers.. there was so much to see. Everyone seemed oddly positive, smiling a bit more than usual and walking with a spring in their step. It was one of those rare golden days that fall precariously just in between the seasons. If only we'd all known what a brutally cold winter lay just around the corner.. :)
Biet was utterly enthralled with the life-size statues in the park, the gorgeous sculpture duo Gay Liberation by George Segal. She kept looking up quizzically at their faces trying to decide if they were real people or not. At one point, she pulled herself up onto the bench and sat next to the ashy statue couple, shyly brushing her hand against the stone. I think it was in that moment that she realized they were pieces of art, not performance artists with painted bodies sitting deathly still (we see a few of those around town too). I love seeing her interact with the public art pieces that pepper our city's public spaces. It's one thing to go to a museum to see art, and another to simply live with it all around, on the streets, on the walls, and in the parks. I'm so happy to be able to raise my babies in a place that celebrates the normalcy and livability of art and emphasizes the importance of creativity for all.
As she was reaching up to gently touch the hand of the standing sculpted man, I realized what an amazing world she was coming up in. I thought, when she's old enough to experience that other kind of love- that kind of love so decidedly different from the bubble of love that she grows in as part of our family... that kind of love where you fall head over heels for another human being- she will be doing it in a world that wholeheartedly celebrates the diversity of love. Gay Liberation was installed in Christopher Park outside of The Stonewall Inn in 1992, but it was first approved a decade earlier in 1982, and was stalled to do public opposition. I can't imagine that kind of public opposition over such a piece these days. Now, over 30 years after its initial inception, I'm able to raise my kids in a world that celebrates loving anyone you want, regardless of color, gender, religion, or social differences. It's pretty incredible how far we've come. My kids will grow in a place where they can witness endless examples of what a loving relationship means, and will have the freedom to fearlessly explore it for themselves when the time comes. It's really an amazingly beautiful thing.
So Happy Valentine's Day! Here's to loving the one you love, and doing it proudly. xoxo
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