Category Archives: family

Outside of the Celebration

The morning was about stuffing my face with my dim sum buddies.  We go a few times a year. We used to be a writing group.  Now we just eat dumplings together.

While we were stuffing our faces, many of my gay colleagues (as the gays call each other in Costa Rica) were tying the knot, legally, for the first time in my state.  It is a big day for the big gays.

I’ve never been one to rush to be the first to do anything.  And though I admittedly enjoy the limelight from time to time, I felt no rush to the altar today.  We haven’t had our wedding yet. We were waiting for it to be legal in NY.  And I’ll be damned if I’m going to plan my one and only wedding in 30 days!

But I did want to go down there and get caught up in the excitement.  One of my friends had wanted to go down and serenade people as they exited the office building.  I said I’d join her, but of course, with the kids, the timing was all wrong and I went at the one time when she couldn’t make it.  My fiancee is not interested in the limelight, ever.  So she stayed home with the kids.  And there I was.  By the time I got there, it was 3 pm.  There were more photographers than any other people.  There was one couple getting ready to go in.  A few people around the couple were dressed up, but obviously not the center of attention.  There was a man and woman passing out yellow flowers to onlookers.  I felt a little invisible.  And hot.  I felt hot.  I stood there holding my yellow flower.  Wondering what to do.  There was no hullabulloo.  Just a little fuss.  Then, a couple of women rode up on bikes.  One woman was wearing a rainbow flag as a cape.  All of the reporters ran up to them.  Are you getting married?  Where do you live?  How old are you? No, they aren’t getting married until DOMA is repealed. They are 24 and 25.  I was standing next to them thinking, I’m getting married.  I’ve been with my partner for 12 years.  I just turned 40! I have two little boys. I was just standing there with my yellow flower.

Then it happened.

The moment I had actually gone there for, the reason I left my honey alone with two cranky boys: the couple who was actually getting married stood together.  Their friends stood behind them.  In a procession. And they walked into the City Clerk’s office.  That was it.

I burst into tears.

I had no tissues.  I didn’t know the couple.

But they were walking in to get married. Married!  In New York!

I guess it didn’t feel real until I saw that.  I wiped my eyes, quietly, and walked to the subway.

[Mazel tov to my friends who are newlyweds today: the L & C and M & A!  And, of course, to any other friends who may have been hitched?! I was trolling the wedding photo sites for any familiar faces.  All I saw was a possible ex-gf.]

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Filed under family, gay marriage

Favorites

I don’t know why I did it, but I feel like I made a gay parenting mistake.

My son, Cakie was talking about when he was in my tummy.  I told him he had been in Mama’s tummy.  Now he thinks I’m the least important mom.

My honey says not to worry, that all kids play favorites.  But not all kids have two wombs from which they could have sprung.  And not all kids are a cut and dry as Cake.  When he decides something, that is the end of the story.

So now I’m Trucker’s mom and A is his mom.  We keep trying to explain it to him; he keeps rejecting our explanations.  I spend much more time with him than A does.  We walk to school together.  I pick him up and entertain and feed him until A gets home.  He misses her.  So maybe he just wants to connect with her.

It doesn’t help that Trucker is a complete cling-o-rama on me.  He won’t let A read him a story.  Only me.  So when I try to read with Cakie, Trucker slides in and tries to take over.

They are both latching on to their bio moms.  It makes me feel weird.

Sorry I’ve not been blogging much.  My life feels a little like a hamster on a wheel.  Except I’m not getting any exercise.

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Filed under family, LGBT, my second son, my son

Married? I Know About Married.

My four-year-old knows everything, by the way.  If he asks you a question and you tell him the answer, it is usually followed up with a “I KNOW that, Mommy.”

Which is why it threw me off guard when he asked me one of those questions I had been dreading:

Mommy?  If you love Mama, why aren’t you married?

All of my possible responses came flooding into my head:

I would love to marry her, but I can’t? No.

Some people don’t think we should be allowed to do that? Uh-uh.

Why don’t you ask these schmucks? Nope.

I don’t know!  I don’t know!  It isn’t fair.  I hate the world.  [Kicks and beats floor with fists. Melts into a pile of clothing like the Wicked Witch of the West.] Not a great idea.

Oh, I plan to marry her just as soon as I can, sweet boy. That’s a possibility…

I didn’t have an answer for him.  It may have been the very first time he asked me a serious question and I did not have a good answer for him.

Then he looked at me with his big brown eyes and said, “Can I watch my icey penguin movie?”

Yes.  Yes, you can.

At least I had an answer for something.

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Filed under family, gay marriage, my son

Different Donors

My sons have two different donors.  Different donors, different biological mothers.  In effect, they have no biological connection.

They are brothers, for sure.  Cakie is learning everything he needs to know about how to be a child from his willing teacher, Cake.  I don’t need to argue here at all about the fact that they are brothers.  They are being raised by the same two parents in the same way in the same house.

One of them looks a little like Obama.  The other resembles Desi Arnaz.  One is a tall skinny muscular reed.  The other is a truck.  Despite my efforts in selecting a second donor, the boys do not look alike at all.  One might argue that many biological siblings do not look alike.  True.  They do act alike in many ways.  They have the same very very high energy level.  They both love to play outside. Trucker is far more into trucks and balls than Cake ever was.  Cake likes music and cooking and superheros.

I wonder what will happen when they learn that they have different donors?  I worry that it might cheapen their bond.  It may make them angry at us.  As though we carried on some type of charade.  Or that someone else will discredit their relationship as siblings.  I worry, too, what will happen if either one tries to find their donor.  Already, Cake has two donor siblings on the registry.  Little girls.  I haven’t paid the fee, so I have not contacted the parents yet.  But I know they are there.  And if Cake wants to find his donor and he cannot, I can offer up these half-sisters.  There are no siblings on the registry for Truck.  Could I pay the fee and put up a profile?  Yes.  Maybe that might make one come out of the woodwork.  Maybe not.  What if one of them has a donor who is willing to meet them or even have a relationship once they turn 18?  While the other has a donor who has passed away, or worse, doesn’t even want to talk to him? I don’t worry about these things constantly or anything.  They just, every once in a while, pop into my head.

When Cakie was conceived, there were no open donors.  It wasn’t a thing the sperm banks had convinced anyone to do yet.  So when it was time to choose a benefactor for Trucker’s egg, I also chose a closed donor.  It did it on purpose.  I signed a paper stating that I would not look for the donor.  I did this knowing that the baby didn’t sign anything.  And if either of them want to look, they will have my blessing.  And if I happen to stumble across a photo of a man that is his race, his height, his weight, his age and has long curling eyelashes, while I’m randomly trolling California acting agency websites for no particular reason, so be it.

My biggest goal is to handle all of this with grace.  I want to teach my kids that our family is one made from love.  Love that is stronger than a spiral helix.  It is like a triple-mega spiral helix made out of steel.  Yeah.  That sounds good.

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Filed under family, my second son, sperm shopping

The Donor Mark

My son has the likes-to-watch-sports gene.  He did not get this from me.

I don’t plan to point things like this out to my kids.  There’s this unspoken fear of the moment when we will need to address the fact of the donors in our kids lives.  There is also this urge to pretend since we don’t know who the donors are, that we can make them go away.  Part of me wants my honey and I to be the only important people in the creation of our kids.

The other part of me knows that the donors are important.  Not only are they important, but I feel like even though I don’t know their names or their adult faces, I feel like we live with them.  We know them better than we know our good friends.  I’m so glad for them.  I’m so glad for whatever circumstances lead to them walking in to the cryobank, filling out all of those forms, walking uncomfortably into a little room and producing for us the ingredient that would eventually become our sons.  I am confident that wherever he is, Trucker’s donor is either thinking about throwing or actually throwing a ball.  Cakie’s donor is charming someone at this very moment.  I’m sure of it.

The discomfort comes from knowing that the donors are a question mark.  Will the boys be driven to try to identify them?  If they do find them, will these men disappoint my sons?  Since I have two different donors, will the boys have two uncomfortably different experiences surrounding their donors?  I am sure that they will want to know them, even if we down-play their role.  Once they take a biology class and see the fruit flies and their eye colors,  once they read a study on identical twins, or venture into my grandfather’s meticulously researched geneology of his side of my family, they will want to know.

I know this.  But I wish I could take that donor question mark and stretch it straight into an exclamation point.  A sure statement, showing a strong emotion.

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Filed under family, IUI, LGBT, my second son, my son, sperm shopping, Trucker

What We Wear

I often look for myself in my children.  There are some things about one’s self that one does not want to see.  Your faults seem so magnified when your children have them.

Neither my honey nor I are good at making decisions.  I always change my mind about things, then spend a good amount of energy regretting the fact that I changed my mind and wondering what would have happened had I not changed my mind.  It is annoying.

This is what my morning looked like:  I asked Cake if he’d like to choose his own clothes, or if I should pick them out for him.  He wanted to choose them.  Then he changed his mind.  I should choose them.  When I came out with a striped tank top and brown shorts, he regretted not picking out his clothes himself.  Then he went back and chose another shirt after bickering with my honey about if he was allowed to choose another shirt, since he did say that I could pick out his outfit.

When it was time to go, he went to put on his blue sneakers.  He was initially going to wear his new brown shoes that I got on sale.  I told him if he did not want them, I could return them to the store.  He wanted them.  He wanted them, but he didn’t want to wear them.  We said, that if he didn’t want to wear them that was fine, but we’d need to return them if he had no plans to ever wear them.  So he put them on.  I grabbed his visor, which he had wanted to wear yesterday.  He got his helmet and scooter.  Trucker, who had been waiting patiently while all of the shoe fuss was happening, already had his helmet and was ready to go. We left for daycare.  When we got downstairs, Cake said he didn’t want to wear his brown shoes.  Normally, I would have just said, “Oh well. Too bad, Kiddo.”  But I noticed that they looked a little big.  So I offered to go back up and switch for the blue.  Of course now, I won’t be able to return them.  The key didn’t work in the lock, so we walked over to the other door.  (Trucker scooted.)  When we got to the other door, Cake said,  “I’ll wear them.”  Ugh.  Ok, so we set off for daycare.  But first Cake stopped, got off his scooter, handed me his helmet and grabbed his visor.  “I thought you wanted to scoot.”  “No.”  So we start to walk, but by this time, I’m really annoyed.  And I don’t know why I was carrying his scooter.  I should have made him do it.

We cross the street.  We’re standing on an overpass, on the other side of which is a very busy blind turn.  Trucker bolts across the overpass.  Cake grabs the scooter, and tries to start scooting without his helmet.  In all honesty, I’m sure scooting without a helmet is fine.  But we’ve pounded the helmet need into their heads pretty well, so I didn’t want him throwing it away.  Trucker is half-way across the bridge heading for the dangerous corner.  I whisk off Cakie’s visor, plop his helmet on his head and run after Trucker.  Of course, he starts crying.  When we got to the other side of the dangerous corner, Cake said through his tears, “I was just going to walk my scooter.  I wasn’t going to ride it.”  Oh.  Well, I had to save your brother from death-by-SUV, sorry I was in a rush.

Here’s the thing, if I went over this, many of the things we fought about were created by the parents.  He didn’t need to wear those shoes.  He didn’t.  Why did we make him wear them? If we hadn’t forced him, I could be on my way to the store right now to get my money back.  I’m actually strongly in favor of not forcing kids to wear clothes they hate.  I just remember from my own childhood, how miserable the wrong clothing item could make me. If I hadn’t made him wear the shoes, the trip to school would have been a lot easier.  And I could have still returned them.  I know now, that they will probably not be worn again.

Trucker survived the trip to school, happy as a sweet baby clam.  When we arrived, Cake came to me and gave me a big kiss.  And said he loved me.

I hate bickering.  I hate feeling like mornings like this could be avoided somehow.  What is most frustrating is seeing that it is this fault that he got from his moms that is making us so annoyed.  Yeesh.

Anyway.  I hope those shoes don’t hurt his sweet little feet today.

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Filed under family, my son

Purging

One thing I like to do in the summer, like is too strong a word.  One thing I do in the summer is try to clean out the house a bit and throw things away.  I don’t like doing this because it involves making decisions about throwing things away or about where to put the things I decide not to throw away.  I do like doing it, because aside from having a much more orderly house–or at least small section of the house–I inevitably stumble across things that I only stumble across when going through my closets.

Some things were easy to decide.  Lovely pottery from an ex-friend who decided not to be my friend any more because I’m gay, even though she knew about it for ten years went straight into the trash.  That felt good.  As did endless dry cleaning bags, photos which only included my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. Lots and lots of sweaters I never wear went into bags for donation (upon approval from my honey.)  The dress I gave birth in… the dress I gave birth in?  Yeah.  That’s going back into the closet.  I know.  I probably won’t wear it again.  But nor will anyone else.

Then there are the treasures.  I found this photo of myself at 14 months old, in which I look very very much like my Trucker.  I’m even riding something with wheels.  I also found a photo of my best friend from high school.  It is his first grade portrait for which his mother dressed him in the world’s largest red bow tie and a home-made knit red and blue sweater vest. I immediately sent it off to him via facebook.  The photo was tucked into a teeny leather wallet, lined with red velvet, that also contained a four leaf clover once carried by my grandfather.  I found a card entitling my grandfather to play golf at Oxford University Golf Club until October 1, 1930.  And proof–PROOF– that I did indeed pass the American Red Cross beginner swimming course of instruction on July 23, 1982.  I found a copy of a speech sent to me by James Howe, author of Bunnicula and Pinky and Rex.  I remember seeing him speak at Teacher’s College and being very upset/inspired that I had not been writing.  He also declared to the crowd that he was gay, which seemed brave to me at the time.  I still skirt around it sometimes, especially in front of lots of teachers I don’t know.  So, I’d written him a letter thanking him for the speech, and for inspiring me to write.  He wrote me back, and took the time to print out and sign a copy of the speech.  He’s good people. If I throw these things away, how will I ever stumble across them the next time I clean out the closet?  Hmmm?

So now here I am.  The bottom of my bedroom closet is clean and empty.  My front hallway is full of stuff to throw away or donate.  Right in front of my closet door is the pile of treasures.  Where should I put them?

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Filed under family, nothing at all