Coming out again…and again

Raising children in a 2-mom household may come with challenges, but we have always been up for whatever comes our way. When my wife and I decided to have kids, we knew we’d need to be 100% comfortable with addressing and handling each and every question, confused reaction, conversation and (God forbid) animosity, that came with our choice to bring children into our lives. As I’ve written before about what our goals and stances are as parents in Family Pride and other posts, we are just a married couple trying to raise our kids to be decent adults while also occasionally struggling to keep our sanity, just like so many other parents out there.

But I cannot forget that we are different.

Maybe we’ve been incredibly fortunate for the most part that our family hasn’t really been labeled as different throughout this journey so far. Since we’ve moved to a new town, we’ve realized how much we still are different to many people. We still have to “come out” all over again. I think my wife and I have become quite accustomed to the constant “outings” that we do regularly every time you meet someone new, for the most part. But in the past 8 months, we all have to come out as a family AGAIN and AGAIN.

We lived in Danbury for 12 years. When the boys started preschool, we came out to fellow parents with little or no pomp or circumstance. We fell into soccer, then T-ball (which Lo coached until she realized how painful that was) and other activities around town. I was on the city Board of Ed, Lo worked at TJ’s, we knew SO MANY PEOPLE. And everyone knew us. No one batted an eye. We lived in an extremely diverse community and our “different” family never seemed to be of particular mind to most people.

Due to the diverse nature of our area and the length of time we’d been in our prior community, our kids never had to spend time explaining our family structure. Their classmates knew since preschool. And if they didn’t know since preschool, they’d ask once, discover my boys had two moms, accept the response and move on with their lives. Everyone knew. If they didn’t know, they didn’t seem to care much once they found out because it was so normal.

But it’s different when you pick up and transplant to a new place. To these kids, it’s not normal. They haven’t known since preschool that their friends can have such diverse families. These kids are now 8, 9, 10 years old and they know more about family dynamics. They have questions. They know that you need a daddy to make a family, so where is the daddy in our family? In preschool, when my boys said they had 2 moms, kids would say “ok, that’s cool”. Now, they say “um, how is that possible?” They aren’t mean, bullying questions, they are curious questions. My third grader has been a little stunned by this (his completely inattentive 5th grader brother is wholly oblivious). D doesn’t seem bothered by having to answer – he’s proud of his family. He just doesn’t understand why everyone is so curious.

My initial reaction to these stories is to call the school and insist that the curriculum includes discussion about different families. I want to live in a world where everyone is totally accepted for who they are without raising an eyebrow or drawing intense curiosity. But this is the real world. My kids will have to “come out” over and over again just like Lo and I do, over and over and over again.

These kids (and adults) aren’t being unaccepting, they are being open and curious, which is what we want them to be.* It makes you realize there is another layer to moving to a new place – another whole transition of outing. It comes with the territory and I’m not looking at this as a negative, just another lesson. My kids are amazing. They are finding their places in the world while they are navigating life as our kids. I hope they continue to have patience, strength and understanding as they continue to come out as a family over and over again.

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*Well, for the record there is one immense jackwagon that we’ve already encountered in the little league realm here who did comment that “women don’t belong on a baseball field, and women with wives DEFINITELY don’t belong on a baseball field.” First of all, I know he doesn’t speak for this town and complete ignorant fools are a waste of my time. Secondly, both my wife and I (mostly my wife) could probably humiliate this guy on a baseball or softball field. I consider this guy an outlier and know that my wife and I will encounter (and have encountered) that crap from time to time – I just wish I could protect my kids from that kind of stuff.

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