A week ago, I missed Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day over at Mombian. Please take some time and see all of the amazing families that participated in the blog event. I didn’t have my act together in time to contribute, but I didn’t want to let the event go by without mention.
I decided to go back and look at my contribution to Mombian’s call for blog posts from 2007 and see what my expectations were back when our oldest was not even 4 months old.
This was my post from 6/1/2007:
Today (and every day) is about sharing, love, equality and acceptance.
We, and so many other families in our community, are choosing to raise children and build families based on something that cannot be taken away from us – Love and Faith.
Before we conceived, and even still today, I would worry about how people were going to treat us, especially our child. How would the world respond to him and how would he handle it?
There are many people in this country, in this world, who would call us selfish, immoral, and other horrific names or analogies just for being who we are, and just for bringing our beautiful child into this world. We are refusing to hear it. Our job, as parents, is to protect, love and provide for our child, but to also teach him.
We laugh when we look at him and tell him over and over again “Do you know how lucky you are? You have TWO mommies!!” He is lucky. He is damn lucky. He has these two people who love him unconditionally forever and ever, no matter what.
My son will be provided for and will be raised in a happy and healthy environment. He will be surrounded by loving family and friends, uncles and many, many aunts. He will have such a warm comfortable home with open arms and hearts always.
It is our obligation to make his journey through life as enriched as we can and the way I see it, the biggest lesson we can teach him is how to love other and to be the best human being he can be by accepting others.
My goal in being a parent is to give my child every resource I can to get him opportunity, but it would all be wasted in my mind if I don’t teach him respect and pride.
Our obligation to our child(ren) is to give them to tools and knowledge to be respectful, honorable grown-ups who are proud of their family and who treat each and every person they meet with respect and dignity.
It is our job to raise our child(ren) to be great members of our society. I will not be disappointed if my son is not a major league shortstop someday, but I think I will be disappointed in myself if we don’t teach him to respect people and bring something to the world that includes a life of love and acceptance of others.
Now, here we are, 10 years later and (maybe) 10 years wiser.
I still think my family is pretty amazing. At times, I think we are just like every other family and other times I think we are not like everyone else. No one is really like everyone else. All families are different and amazing in their own way, just like ours.
My wife and I have been together 17 years and we now have two crazy, funny, ridiculous boys in our home. Lo is bio-mom to Andrew (10) and I am bio-mom to Dylan (7). But when people ask “Who is his mom?” the answer is “BOTH OF US!” We also have helped raise two amazing young women who are celebrating their 21st birthdays today.
Through our life with the twins and the boys, and our ongoing joys and tribulations with the boys, we’ve grown and learned so much as parents. I am very proud of where we are and also acknowledge and recognize where we’ve screwed up a bit as well. We’ve shared our experiences very honestly and openly. We’ve even had our story published in Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood, a fantastic book for building families with some incredible stories.
What have I learned in the past 10 years, if anything? I’ve learned:
- My initial mission from 2007 still holds true. I want my kids to all be decent human beings. I want them to strive to move forward and always be better. I want them to be authentic and not a-holes.
- I won’t ever hesitate to embrace and respond to the questions about our family. I am overwhelmingly proud of who we are and don’t want our boys to ever think twice that their family is something to be ashamed of.
- Parenting is not about control. It’s about connection. My children are as gloriously imperfect as we are. We definitely have some work to do every day, but we are in it for the long haul. We acknowledge the effort and tears that go into this whole parenting gig.
- Lo and I are pretty balanced as parents. I am apparently “the easier one” when it comes to buying them something but the “harder one” when it comes to behavior, expectations and school.
- Things don’t always come naturally due to environment. Our 10 yr old can be a little male chauvinist when it comes to sports sometimes, despite both his moms being pretty competitive college athletes. We still need to set him right from time to time!
- Life is ridiculous and messy and mostly out of control. Our job is to handle it. We’ve been through health scares, a long period of unemployment for me, some common struggles and some higher level ones. We have been imperfect but educated during each of those times.
- I am beyond grateful for the people in our lives. The genuine, authentic, amazingly true people who are part of our larger family (yes, Aunt Laura, I mean you).
- People will judge. And you know what? It doesn’t matter. We’ve met a lot of people over the past 10 years who have been confused, surprised or just plain awkward about our family. The majority of the time, that passes quickly and life goes on without another thought about it.
In all of this, we do realize that we aren’t completely raising our children in a bubble of acceptance. Our community is very diverse and accepting, but we are fully aware of the reality that our boys (and us) still have and will encounter in our/their lives. We are hyper aware of how our boys see every person, trying to instill that their views of every person should be as a fellow human being. And we also making sure they have the courage to stand up for themselves and others, to question and to make every effort to understand everything that is different from what they know.
My boys are not wallflowers, they are not composed, quiet children. They are energetic and sometimes totally obnoxious, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time on many an occasion. But they are honest and true. They know they are deeply and wholly loved, that their home is a place of serenity and warmth, that challenges will exist every day, but that they (and we) can handle hard things and always can take on an opportunity to do better, to be better.
I know my words in 2007 were a little naïve in some ways, but totally whole-heartedly true.
I am beyond proud of this family. I am ready for the next 10 years of this amazing journey!