Saturday, July 21, 2012

Excuse me Sir, are you his Mom?

I've been meaning to touch on this subject for some time now,
Yet when I ask friends for input,
some agree are totally into it,
and others, not so much.

The topic?
Gay Men or Gay Fathers being referred to as Wives and Mommies.

Okay, not that anyone asked but here's my take.
Lets go back in time,
think housewives, as 1950's as that sounds.

Still conjures up the image of a well made up lovely apron-wearing beauty, right?
Standing by the door at 5:30,
martini in hand,
welcoming her hard working Husband home.

When Gay couples started becoming more visible,
much of society,
in order to be able to understand that relationship,
felt the need to place us in the same scenario described above.

And I'll just go ahead and say it,
many Gay men,
for the same reasons,
needing to be understood,
willingly accepted those roles.
The butch one, the femme one.
The more flamboyant of the two.
The Man, the Woman.

Don't we still to this day get the questions?
Who cooks and cleans in your relationship?
Which one of you is more like "the wife?"

Now some men I ask simply accept those questions as normal and reply accordingly.
Others feel the need to clarify, to educate that they both share things equally.
Why would one "man"  be the more domestic and the other not?

I think we fall somewhere in between,
my Husband is a great cook,
he actually enjoys it and so he does it.

I on the other hand am a family recipe guy,
I take great pleasure in making my Mother's this or that, and so sometimes I cook.

Regarding cleaning, well we both hate it and so were lucky if that even gets done so I guess thats a check in both our columns.

Many Gay Couples we know are a lot like us,
both working and just helping each other make it through the day.

Today, with the growing numbers of Gay Men raising children we get the whole Mommy and Daddy thing too.

Which one are you more like?
The Mom or the Dad?

Who is the more Maternal one?
Paternal one?
Who is the disiplinarian?

You get where i'm going?

Now please understand I have written before about the fact that I Father the way I was Mothered,
I love my nurturing side, and if I had to pick which of us was more Motherly I'd probably say me,
and my husband would probably say him.

Proof that we are both, both.

Gender and Gender roles are a hot topic right now.
There are folks that refuse to identify with any.
There are parents raising children while trying to not assign one,
trying to avoid classify their kids.

There are many Same Gendered Parents completely blurring the lines of traditional roles, and I think that's pretty cool,
especially all those amazing stay at home Dads.

Hopefully with time,
society will stop trying to understand so much and simply accept.
Hopefully with time,
we can all break free from those societal confines, self imposed or not.

May be then some of my brothers in arms can hang up those proverbial aprons once and for all.

But for Gods sake, please keep those Martinis coming,
Daddy's thirsty!


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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Please Call your Father!

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Please call your father!
That's how my Fathers Day began, my first Fathers Day.
With my husband telling me I should call my Dad.
My Parents divorced when I was a baby, my Father was an absent figure for most of my adult life.
In his true fashion he would pop in now and then and attempt Fatherhood,
but never that well,
and never for that long.
I grew into the man I am without him,
and that's always been fine with me.

October 27th 2011 was the most important day of my life,
even more important than the day I married my Husband.
That day in itself was magical but nothing compares to the day our Son was born.
We had been introduced to a young woman who at 6 months pregnant had decided she did not want to keep her child.
At 5 months she had attempted to terminate her pregnancy,
not realizing how far along she actually was,
she was unsuccessful.
When I look at our boy and imagine her waiting in the clinic to end his life my heart aches,
I cry,
I hold him,
and I thank God.

I am not calling my Dad, I tell my Husband.
I have never called him on Fathers Day,
why should I start now?
Well because you're a Dad now,
a statement he gently breaths as he leaves the room.
I'm a Father now,
hmmm those words still stun me and yet warm me all at once.
I had rekindled a relationship with my Dad just a couple of short  years ago.
We actually took a flight to my homeland of Puerto Rico to spend some time with him.
It had been the first time I had seen him in nearly 25 years.
It was lovely and comfortable and simple.
At 74 my father is no longer the absent man I had longed for.
He was now just a sweet old man that had suffered at his own hands for far too long.
At this point in my life there are things I still can't share about that visit,
but suffice it to say, had my Father had the luxury of living his life truthfully,
I would not be here to tell this story.

Author and Dad reunited

His birth was not without concern.
His Birthmothers water had broken unbeknownst to her.
His heart rate had dropped so low that an emergency C-section was ordered or the baby could die.
We got a call that sunny afternoon,
one month before our expected due date,
that our Son was coming that day, at 1:00 pm to be exact.
Boy, what a pair we were,
canceling our day,
picking up our foster baby from daycare,
making hysterical calls to family and friends,
and running to meet our attorney at the hospital.
It's all a blur right now,
I remember the nurse asking "which one of you two Daddies wants to go into the delivery room?"
some how or another It was decided that it would be me.
Then I heard her ask  "what's the baby's name?"
Omg, his name!
We thought we had a whole month left,
sure we had a short list but we hadn't decided.
I looked at my Husband and I said since I'm going in for the birth, you pick.
Benjamin, he said,
can he be Benjamin?
I looked at him and said are you sure?
And then,
just then, as I saw his tears gently roll down his face I knew how sure he was.
I turned to the nurse and declared our sons name is Ben.

Getting ready to go in

You know Joel,
I really just don't feel the need to call my Father,
especially today, especially on Fathers day.
I wasn't being petty or resentful, I truly don't hold anything against my father,
he made decisions 40 some odd years ago that were right for him.
The truths he shared with us on that fateful visit for all intents and purposes gave him a free get out of jail card,
a victim of society,
jailed by his own fears, his own realities.
You can never blame a man for being true to himself,
and my father was, is,  nothing if not true to himself.
We got home around 7 from a full day out with our Son, it was the perfect first Fathers day and although my husband had hoped all day that I would call my Dad, I had not.
I was rocking my Son to sleep when the phone rang.
I reached for it without waking Ben when I heard my Father's voice on the other end.
Hello son he said,
It's me, your Dad,
I hope im not calling at a bad time,
I was just calling to wish you a Happy Fathers Day.
No Dad,
perfect timing I said.
I meant to call,
Happy Fathers Day to you too!

Hmmmm... Life and it's sweet sweet ironies.


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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Daddies, Oh My!

We woke up this 4th of July wondering what great adventures we could have that day.
We are nothing if not an adventurous family!

With Ben just 8 months old we knew the late night fireworks were probably not going to be in our cards.
And if his reaction to the recent pride parade's loud sounds was any indication,
we were much better off quietly at home anyway.

I thought to myself.
The Husband agreed,
and so an adventure had begun!

We lathered Ben up with Sunscreen and pulled out his newest Hat!

We packed everything up that we needed for the day and headed off to Zoo Miami.

We quickly realized that the sights and sounds of the Zoo and it's 6 million visitors,
(okay I stretch the truth slightly but we were obviously not the only ones that thought the Zoo on the 4th was the place to be!)
Was going to be a lot for Ben to take in.

He did however love the Camels,

Daddy and Ben

And he really loved the giant Lizard,

Ben and Papa

The heat and the crowds kept our pace quite slow,
luckily the Zoo's speed limit was spot on!

We had hoped that this would be one of those new big experiences for Ben.
We thought he would ooh and ah over all the marvelous creatures we were going to introduce him to,

We thought that he would recognize some of these new friends from the books and story's he is so lovingly read.

But it turned out he he only had eyes for two very familiar, hairy, sweaty and smelly mammals,

His Daddy and his Papa,
and that was just perfect with us!

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