Thursday, March 15, 2012

Daddy and me

My Son and I attended our first Daddy and Me class today.

Its actually called a Baby and Me class, the ( p.c.) name for what was always called Mommy and Me classes.

Now don't blame us for the name change, apparently there is quite a Dad movement on the rise, Straight and Gay alike.

Dads don't like the short stick they seem to have been getting.

We are Daddies hear us roar!

As a matter of fact, Dad bloggers just brought down a Huggies campaign that made Dads look rather, well, stupid.

Did you hear about it?

Anyway this is not one of my activist posts.
This is about my Son.

So we arrive, both feeling a little nervous.
It was us and 7 Mommies with 7 sweet babies.

I noticed all the Moms checking me out as I entered,
and Ben noticed all those babies looking at him too.

Alright kid, I said, lets show them what we got!

Miss Kristin welcomed us.
I am beginning to understand that from now on, when in my Sons company, people must always be referred to by Miss or Mr. followed by a first name. 
(although the jury is still out on that one.)

So we all gather on the matt and Miss Kristen starts the class by introducing us to the class,
everybody, lets say hi to Ben and his Daddy Henry!

The room breaks out in a loud Hurrah! with 7 Mommies clapping their childrens hands together..
Benjamin looked up at me and mouthed... WTF!
(I know, he cant speak yet, but if he could he would have said just that, I swear!)

But then the magic started..

The next hour was a simple, sweet, organic flow of music and play.

Each song had a little prop that the parents were given to engage their babies.
Sometimes a puppet
or some bells
or some brightly colored balls.

There was very little adult conversation from that point on.

Ben and I didn't know the songs,
we watched and listened to all the Mommy's engaged with the little ones,
each kneeling right above their little ones happy faces
and before we knew it we were singing right along.

My Son gazed into my eyes song after song in happiness and wonderment.

He only looked away once when Miss Kristin had introduced soft bubbles into the air around us,
the bubbles caught his attention for just a few moments and then he was back looking into my eyes.

Ben only showed real dislike to the part of class when they place all the babies in the center of the matt and all the parents raise and lower a giant rainbow colored fabric high into the air and softly down towards their faces.
He screamed at the top of his lungs.

Miss Kristin said that it was probably sensory overload.
But I think he just dislikes that rainbow flag,  like his Dad!

Monday, March 12, 2012

This Fathers Agenda

Yesterday My husband and I took our son to the park.

We packed up all the things that little boy would need for a great day under the Sun.
His formula, 
his favorite toys,
lots of sunblock and his cutest hat.
we were joined by Karen and Irene and their beautiful 8 month old daughter Lucy
Karen, Lucy and Irene

There was also Chris, Jeremy and thier 18 month old twins Chloe and Jackson,

Todd and Gabriel with their sons Eli and Jayden.

Tim and Jim with their 3 beautiful kids,
and a handful of other parents..

We listened to music, 
sat under a big tree with sprawled out on blankets and ate junky fair food...heaven!

That was our agenda for the day,
and it was perfect.

There happened to be a lot of other people there although our group felt very small and intimate..

There was also a nice fellow there taking pictures and jotting down some notes, you see as regular and ordinary as our park day is sounding, it was actually at the South Florida Pride Festival.
A big yearly LGBT event.

This nice man hovering around ended up being a reporter for our newspaper the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Seems that Gay families are big news, 
and the fact that there were so many this year with strollers in tow was even bigger news.

So later that evening after this awesome day we get word that our family was featured in the article,
here is the link.,0,1791423.story

We were busy feeding and bathing the baby, who was rather wound up fom such an exciting day.
So it was later in the night before we got to read it.

by the time we sat on the sofa to check it out, 
I actually thought to myself what a perfect end to a perfect day...

The article was good..
It stated some interesting facts about our community,
and it pointed out that Ben was special, we agree.

It also mentioned our friends Karen and Irene and included a fantastic photo of their family and Lucy's unbelievable smile.

Then I had to go and ruin it..
I started reading the comments that were flooding in..
My Husband warned me and I, as usual should have listened.

There was much talk of our Gay Agenda....
although, frankly, I have to admit i dont know what it is..

So I read on because I like to be educated.

icanread wrote:
I really like Gay people, I work with them, I do business with them, I listen to them talk about "Gay Rights" issues and its all hate if you don't agree with them. It will always be, your a hater or you denying them some rights they think they don't have, they work very hard to push gays into politics, journalism (like the jack a** that wrote this story) 

to start with I corrected all her grammatical mistakes,
You don't really like Gay people, when I like people I want the best for them, you don't.
The rights we think we don't have, we actually don't have.
We are in politics because we are Americans and we vote.
And regarding Journalism, well we make a pretty good read.
Oh and how polite to not write ASS when you've already spewed out such SHIT.

JOE326 wrote:
They all demand the very rights they don't afford anyone else.

the right to marry,
to raise families,
to file taxes jointly,
to be able to visit our spouses in the hospital, or to not loose our homes if God forbid they pass,
are rights that are already afforded, to you Joe, not to me.

He continued to add:

If Gays are allowed to adopt because they are given the right to do so, do these children have any rights?
If they become old enough to recognize that they don't want to live in a household with two Gay parents and want out, do they have any say in the matter?

Where do I begin?
If my Son grows up one day and decides he hates his Dads, for the million other reasons that a teenager decides he hates his parents,
can he "want out?"
hell no he can't...
because we are his family, his heart, his home..and children don't really "want out" of that, do they?
Our children are as unlikely to leave us for being Gay as yours are for you being a Biggot.

Now lets meet Adsense, who wrote:
You are so very right. I know Gays as well; In fact I use to live the lifestyle for a few years. They say anyone that does not agree is in fact hating and that is certainly not true at all.

Adsense, you don't live the lifestyle for a few years, you are born Gay, and the dangerous concept that you can stop being Gay is why our Gay youths are killing themselves. Shame on you.

And I'll end with dear Joe who so eloquently adds:
I thought GAY stood for "Got Aids Yet?"

Boy that Joe is a peach huh?
You can read more comments if you choose, I just shared a sampling.

So anyway all this agenda talk came out of a simple day in the park.
Parents with their childen loving, laughing and living their lives.
Completely naive to what people might think.

So when it comes to this Gay agenda thing I guess I should have one right?

I'm working on it,
but for starters it will go something like this,

To be a loyal and loving Husband,
To raise a happy son,
make sure he is educated and prepared
surround him, protect him and give him all the things he will need to be a productive member of society.

And to be sure that when I put this article into his baby book,
That I omit all the comments that tried to make such a perfect day so ugly.

That's this dads agenda.

Author and Son


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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

An Unlikely Teacher..

from our yard

I was taking my usual walk around our yard this morning with my son in my arms.

I love it most just after the sunrise...

Still, quiet yet awakening, stirring and alive.

Our climate is warm and tropical so there is so much life out there, so much movement.

A rustling in the leaves from the small lizards scurrying to hide..

The trees sway from the little tree frogs hurrying to get back to their safe places.

There they will spend the day, resting and preparing for their adventures of the night.

And the amazing sounds the breeze makes when it hits the bamboo..
A very unique sound, unlike any other, almost a hum...almost a whistle, but not quite.

The bamboo always catches my attention and holds it softly.

This morning as we were looking up into it's branches something stood out as interesting to me.

I noticed (suddenly) for the first time, that each new shoot that spouts from the ground somehow, magically, yet naturally, grows taller and stronger than the ones that came before...

Each time stretching, the collective, bamboo closer to the sky.

Now this is where that thought took me.

With a broad stroke I thought generationally.

My Grandparents, immigrants to this country, wanted better for their children, they wanted them to grow stronger, taller and collectively bring their family to a better place.

My parents wanted the same for me, 
as I now do for my family.

Each generation wants the next to be bigger..taller...healthier...more vital,
as if we are giving each other a metaphorical leg up,
bringing us all closer to the sky.

And then I brought my thoughts in closer, 
more self centered (not always a bad thing, you know)
What if each day was a new shoot?

What if each new day was an opportunity to take ourselves to new heights?

What if one beautiful day, or one beautiful thought, could build upon the next and together
bring us closer to our clouds...

The bamboo taught me today what nature already knows....

And we are part of that magnificent design..

Our life..the sum if it all, is no different than the life of that tree..

When all is aligned and humming and we are listening for our soul, each day is a chance for us to grow bigger and more beautiful than yesterday...

Each breath is a new opportunity to bring us closer to the sky..

Sounds simple doesn't it?

The bamboo thinks it is.


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Monday, March 5, 2012

It's Him....our adoption story

I can still, so vividly, remember the day I received the photo..
It came via text messaging which I quickly turned around and emailed myself in order get a larger look.

I opened the image and looked with a mixture of amazement, fear and disbelief.
A few moments later I finally shared it with my Husband.
Look what she sent me, i said..
It's him..
Ben 5 months old

We both spent a few silent moments gazing at the image.
You see we had not even met the woman on the other end of the text,
I had only exchanged a few polite messages with her up until that point.

How did we come to receive this photo?
An acquaintance of ours was related to this young woman.

She knew we had been trying to grow our family, 
and she also knew her sister had not wanted to grow hers.

Rather than play the middle man she asked her sister if she could give us her number,
to which she agreed.

sat with that number for nearly a full day.
You would have thought I would have jumped on it but I didn't, I sat.

What would I say to her?

I heard you wanted to give up your baby?

What a tiny approach to such a giant thought.

Do I bring up the fact that we were two married men now?
What if that crushes our hopes?
What if that idea was unacceptable to her?

I was so consumed by all the questions that I just sat there frozen and fearful.

Two adjectives that I would have never used to describe myself before that day,
But this situation, this opportunity, had the potential of shaking all the leaves from my tree.
If it worked out, my life, our lives would never be the same.
And it was that very truth that turned me into a scared and still man..

I eventually mustered up the cowardly nerve to text her..
I introduced myself..
took a shot at a sincere attempt at understanding how incredibly difficult this decision must be for her.
And thanked her for considering us.

She responded quickly and after a few exchanges asked when we'd like to get together.

Thank God the ice was broken.
I suddenly felt safe behind my phone and asked if it could be soon.
It had dawned on me that if this was going to happen we would have to be proactive and quick.

I already knew she had tried to abort this child...she was too far along.

I also knew she had already reached out to an adoption agency.

If we were going to have a chance at convincing her that we would be the perfect family for her unborn baby we would have very little time to waste.

We agreed to meet at a coffee house the next afternoon.

Would you like to see a picture of him she texted next,
A recent sonogram photo,

I said yes.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      * 

And there we were, my Husband and I looking at this little forming stanger who suddenly entered our lives like a cold rush of air though a crack in a window.

In the privacy of our own home, 
without having yet met the woman carrying him,
we were lookin at his photo..

I asked my Husband how he felt?
he was thoughtful and rather quiet and said he wasn't sure.
I remember I actually said,
what if this is the first time were looking at our son?
What is this is the first of our one million photos of him?

Shouldn't we be excited?
Should we tell anybody?
Should we forward this picture to your mother? 
What if she's going to be a Grandmother?

But truthfully we weren't happy, we were too afraid to let happiness in.
And we didn't share the news,
as a matter of fact there were many people who knew nothing until the day that we brought that 5 pound baby boy home from the hospital.

So many variables with scenarios like this,
so many what ifs between the moment the possibility shows itself,
and the lofty, far away idea of he actually being ours.

What if we can't afford it?
What if she doesn't like us?
What if she changes her mind?
What if, God forbid, something happens to the baby?

What if.. what if.. what if..?

We were so lost in the uncertainties that we lost sight of the dream, our dream.

On that now amazing day,
we were indeed looking into our babies face for the very first time.

He soon would be ours..he is ours..

And out of all the millions of pictures we already have in his short 4 months here on Earth,
This first photo,
our first photo will always mean more than you could possibly understand.


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