Bioethics Blogs

What about Babci?

Each post this week serves a dual purpose: an exploration of the topic at hand as well as a re-introduction to big ideas this blog will be grappling with. 

My Polish grandmother (aka Babci) regularly sends me cards on the holidays. Often there is a check in there with instructions for me to “get myself a nice dinner” or “have fun with friends.”

Recently, she’s started including my partner, Sara, and sending her a card and check as well. This is adorable and hugely generous of Babci for two reasons. First because the additional card and money is unnecessary: it should be obvious I’ll spend the money on the two of us, not just myself. Second, because Sara and I aren’t married and don’t plan to be. My grandmother was married to my grandfather for *fifty years* and is still reasonably Catholic. Let’s be honest, we’re all a bit surprised she’s quite so accommodating. The fact remains that she is so accommodating and understanding.

My parents’ generation dealt with the scorn of “living in sin.” What’s bizarre is that though my parents and Sara’s parents are nothing but loving, accepting, and supportive of the two of us, they are also a bit weirded out by us not being married. We’ve been together nearly a decade, longer than most our married friends, but it’s still a bit odd.

The question I have been asking myself is “Do I owe Babci an explanation?”

The feminist-gender-queer critical theorist in me says “hell no! I don’t answer to your heteronormative standards.” The guy who appreciates that his parents and grandparents pretty much rolled just accepted things as they were and never made the whole thing an issue even though it bugged them says, “maybe I do need to explain this.” The part of me that wants to understand how people go from believing something is bad to something is tolerable-but-not-for-them to something is normal and a-ok says, “what does she actually think about the whole thing?”

I’m not about to explain why Sara and I aren’t and probably won’t get married in this post.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.