Welcome to My Para-Kin. What’s this all about, you might ask? It’s about gaps in the English language. Let me explain.
It was quite by accident that we stumbled into this word dilemma. A few years back, my partner and I went to the ER at a local hospital. On the intake form, he was given three choices as to who had accompanied him. His choices were “acquaintance,” “friend” or “spouse.” None of those applied and as a typical man, he checked “friend.” Months later, this sweetheart and life partner resolved some household catastrophe and I turned to him and said, “Honey… you are as wonderful as any Para-hubby could be! It was apparent, that as a happy and committed heterogeneous couple in our fifties, he was neither a boyfriend nor a husband, and I certainly was not a girlfriend at my ripe old age.
Our language does not provide words for this type of relationship. In fact, English lacks the words for many loving connections.
When people hear “Partner” … they think business.
When people hear “Domestic Partner” … they think housecleaning.
When people hear “Same-Sex Couple”…it sounds devoid of love.
When people hear “Spousal Equivalent” … well, never mind what people think!
And when we hear “Stepmom”…our mind inevitably pictures Cinderella.
As family court attorneys, we know that our clients are often in situations of blended families. They have stepparents or stepchildren. Regardless of their love, people often shy away from the word “step.” Why? There seems to be a subliminal connection between “step” and “evil”. Although this may be totally without merit, our culture just can’t escape that message from the Brothers Grimm. Now, there are positive alternatives. We can speak of our Para-sons or daughters as part of us, as integral parts of our families. We can look at grandma’s special friend and acknowledge that he is really has been our Para-grandpa.
So readers, rather than words of disconnect, lets support words of inclusion, love and Para-Kin.
If you are Para-wives or Para-husbands to each other, go tell the world.
If you are proud to be a Para-dad, a Para-son or you have that special Para-mom, go tell the world.
This Website is for all of us, all who want and deserve to be included as family,
All who are…My Para-Kin.
Deb Chernick, Esq.