About a month ago Rhonda brought it to my attention that the NOH8 Campaign would have a photo shoot at the University of Houston on October 18th. Even though I’d had a photo taken two years ago when they were in College Station, I marked the day on my calendar and man, did that month fly by. I was marveling that I finally had a Thursday off with absolutely nothing to do when I saw the notation for the N0H8 shoot. Even though I wanted to kick back and be the kind of slacker my generation is known for, the N0H8 shoot was too important to me to pass up. Plus, this time, I wanted to take Hanley with me.
I love taking Hanley places and showing her new things. The mixture of shyness, curiosity, and exuberance she displays when processing a new experience is fun to observe. I took her to get her hair cut a few days ago, which really isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but for her it was an EVENT. She was getting a bob and couldn’t stop talking excitedly about the bob she was going to get, even though she really didn’t have a complete grasp on what a bob might be. She behaved exceptionally and walked out of the salon rocking a really fab bob.
After the haircut, I asked, “Have you ever been to the Water Wall?”
She pondered that and replied, “I don’t think I’ve ever met a Water Wall.” Which is Hanley-speak for “I’ve been once before and I want to go now, but I’m not unsure you’re offering to take me there, so I’m more likely to get what I want if I say I haven’t been there.”
I replied, “Then I think it’s time you go to the Water Wall. Let’s go.”
We parked at The Galleria and walked over to the Water Wall, which scared her at first, but I walked up to it with her and she stared all around at the water cascading down the sides of the large curved wall. She held out her hands to feel the wet vapor hanging in the air and blowing in the breeze. She smiled, forgiving the noise for scaring her earlier. She ran around, and I let her be an obnoxious three year old for a while as I brought out my camera and took pictures of her, the Water Wall, and the Williams Tower.
Hanley’s mother had told me before that she and her husband had talked and agreed that if Hanley someday told them that no matter where she falls in the GLBT spectrum that they’ll love and support her unconditionally. So when I asked if I could bring Hanley with me to the N0H8 shoot, I knew they’d have no problem with it. And they didn’t, even though I picked her up at 6 PM and it took a few hours before it was our turn to have our picture taken. Even though she was tired and bored Hanley was exceptionally well behaved, which I appreciated. I did my best to explain to her why we were there, but I know she didn’t quite grasp the deeper meanings. But that’s okay. Whenever we’re at the playground and another kid gets hurt and cries, Hanley is the first to run over to offer a hug and do whatever she can to make the other kid feel better. She’s very compassionate, and as long as I’m around her I want to do whatever I can to maintain that. Whenever I think about the future, about politics, and the future of our planet, I think about Hanley, and the possibility that somebody someday could tell her that she can’t marry the person she loves makes my heart break.
I can’t wait to get our picture. Hanley and her new bob rocked the photo shoot.