The Bramble Family Story: Easter at the White House

We are Heather, Jocelyn, Jonah, and Vera Bramble. Like everyone else, we have our story!

It starts with two people: 

Jocelyn is a black lesbian. She grew up with her mother, father, and brother in Baltimore, and spent Sundays at St. Katherine’s Episcopalian church. Every summer, Jocelyn’s parents sent her and her brother to the tiny Caribbean island from which they immigrated to spend time with their extended family.

Heather is a white Jewish woman who fell in love with Jocelyn. She grew up in New York, in a Long Island suburb with her mom, dad and brother. She spent most of her life there – except for short ‘school stints’ in Israel and Texas. 

We are both lawyers and we now live in Washington, D.C. We met while working at the small office of a big law firm over nine years ago. In the summer of 2006, we went to Toronto to have a civil wedding, because it was not yet legal for us to get married in the District. Heather gave birth to Jonah in 2009, and Jocelyn completed her second parent adoption of Jonah six months later. We adopted Vera three days after she was born in 2011, in Chicago. We are the typical American family living a pretty traditional life in our nation’s capitol – right? 

Ever since this past Election Day, Jonah (almost 4 years old) and Vera (just turned 2 years old) have been dying to meet President Obama and visit The White House (they both went with us to vote and LOVED it!) Typically, we go on “adventures” all over Washington, DC. We love our city. We pass the White House and we wave hello to President Obama, First Lady Michelle, and Sasha and Malia – it’s just a thing we do! When we were offered a chance to attend The White House Easter Egg Roll this year as part of the Family Equality Counsel’s group, we screamed, “YES!” For days, Jonah & Vera were super excited about the upcoming “play date” with Sasha and Malia.

Last week was a big week for us: We hosted two traditional Passover Seders at our house for family and friends – and we even discussed how wonderful it was that President Obama has hosted his own Seder at the White House. On Tuesday, March 26, we “adventured” over to the Supreme Court to add our voices to those supporting equal rights for all families as part of the United for Marriage Rally. Jonah and Vera were excited to be at the steps of the Supreme Court. It was amazing and awe-inspiring to be surrounded by so many amazing families of all colors and all types – all different, but united by the belief that all families deserve equality. And then this past Monday, we had one of the greatest “adventures” ever! We actually went to the White House! 

We waited on long and short lines. We did yoga in the yoga garden. We hula hooped. We used the port-a-potties. We got our commemorative eggs and treat bags. We hugged a big duck mascot. We danced and sang. We ate juicy apples. Jonah and Vera ran as close to The White House as they could and screamed, “Hello President Obama! We want to play with Sasha and Malia!” 

Throughout the day, we were yet again surrounded by all kinds of families. In the line to enter the gates, we did the hokey pokey with the families behind us. Then we shared snacks and tissues with the families on the sides of us. Another family took our picture in front of the White House, and we took theirs. Jonah & Vera made fast friends on the yoga mats and hoola hooping – with everyone – because that is what kids do. 

We were all just a bunch of families on the White House lawn – every color, religion, shape, size and type – and that is how it should be. It hasn’t always been that way, but we are hopeful that in the future our country will continue to get even better. That is why we made sure we brought Jonah and Vera to the steps of the Supreme Court last week, and to the lawn of the White House this week – because every story and every memory makes a difference.

Jonah and Vera and their two mommies are grateful for organizations like Family Equality Counsel and the work they do every day to ensure our family is respected and protected. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will take this most recent opportunity to ensure equal rights for our family and all families for years to come. Finally, we are extremely proud of our President, Barack Obama, for the support he has given our family and for the awesome play date this past Monday – although Jonah and Vera would still like a chance to play with Bo, and see Sasha’s and Malia’s toys!