Dedication to Our Children In addition to ballroom dancing, folk or ethnic dances indigenous to either partner can naturally be included. Group line dances, like the Macarena, are also fun and fairly easy, yet just as symbolic. The parent/child ritual, the ‘Saying of Promises,’ can be performed at any time during the celebration, either at the ceremony itself or during the reception. It’s always best to resist forcing a child to participate, but by inviting her/ his input on what promises will be made, the rite becomes that much more meaningful and sincere. Encourage a supportive person outside the immediate family to help the child who wants to write her/his promises or statement of welcome. There should be no pressure on
Melissa & Amanda, wed Oct. 27, 2007 in Tennessee, present a ring and special vow to daughter Sarah.
need to about the new family configuration. Since most gay and lesbian households have already been in existence before a commitment ceremony is performed, both parents and children have had opportunities to think about and observe, firsthand, what they need from each other. Kerry Turner and Katy Coomer plan to include Kerry’s biological sons, ages three and nine, in their upcoming June 2009 wedding. “Katy wants to write a few lines to say to them,” Kerry writes, “she wants it to be something along the lines of how she promises to love and take care of them no matter what, that they are what makes our family whole and they will always be first.” Kerry and Katy also plan to have an inclusive candle-lighting ceremony. “We want them to feel like it is OUR wedding as a whole, not just Katy’s and mine,” and “...of course, we will each dance with them at the reception!” Dancing is a meaningful method of bonding parents and children at the wedding celebration.
the child, only encouragement and a sense of appreciation for her/his participation in the ritual. An example of what the new parent might wish to say: “I promise, in the name of all I hold sacred, to do my best to be a good parent to you. I promise to listen when you need to be heard, to comfort you in times of sorrow, and to celebrate with you in times of joy. “I promise to love you as a parent loves a child, to help guide your steps as you grow to adulthood, to never mistreat you nor betray your trust. You
were not born a child of my body, but today you are reborn as a child of my heart.” The child’s words should come from her/his own manner of speech. Don’t put adult words in the child’s mouth. Let her/him decide what’s important to say on this special occasion. Symbols of commitment might include a number of items: rings are possible, or other jewelry. A piece of clothing, like a scarf or tie, possibly embroidered or otherwise marked with the child’s name and date of the ceremony might be appropriate, as well as culturally significant symbols, if the child is old enough to appreciate them. A small flag, with a representation of the family, or hand-drawn new ‘family crest’ might be ideally suitable for many children, boys and girls alike. Whatever choices are made, the care and respect that is put forth in finding a place for your child or children in your marriage celebration will have a lasting impact. Well into the months and years ahead, your children will carry that message within, knowing that you and your partner believed utterly in the importance of including them in your future together. They will be reassured that yes, there is a unique and special place for them too, within the ongoing circle of the family. Patricia L. MacAodha is a freelance writer based in Oregon. firstname.lastname@example.org