Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's Not You, It's Us

Remember dating? And that most awkward of moments, the end of an evening when it was clear not everyone had enjoyed the experience equally?

Your date would ask the question, "What are you doing next weekend?" And, instead of saying "avoiding you," you'd stay pleasantly vague. "Ooh, sorry. I think I'm busy." For that matter, you'd be busy the weekend after that, too. Suddenly, your calendar was just packed.

Marriage is supposed to put all that behind you, right? Not if you have children. For every time your kid makes a new friend, you end up doing the getting-to-know-you-waltz all over again with a new set of parents. It's a little like having a 40-inch yenta stubbornly pushing you toward an endless series of blind dates. And if you think chemistry is hard to predict between two people, just try making it work with four...

Continue reading here at

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fathers' Day--the Plural form

On Sunday, my household will observe a holiday that is somehow universal and statistically rare all at once: Fathers' Day. Note the location of the apostrophe, indicating the plural possessive form, which is to say two dads but only one day.

We've been celebrating (and punctuating) this way for six years now, since Diva was a peanut small enough to rest comfortably in the space between my palm and elbow. In the years since, we've gotten quite an education about what society thinks a father is and is not. Based on my not-especially-scientific reading of all the relevant cultural indicators -- commercials, sitcoms, and the greeting card aisle at CVS -- we've become aware of the following definitions.

Father (noun, singular)

1. Parent who does all or most of the following: throws a ball; plays golf; farts copiously; watches sports; thinks he's a stud if he can make pancakes; uses tools to fix (or claim to fix) broken things; buys women jewelry at the last second before a birthday, anniversary or holiday; and says "ask your mother" without interrupting what he is doing.

2. Parent who cannot do any of the following: sew; dance without embarrassing all parties present; cook a meal not involving pancakes; choose a decent outfit from the current decade to save his life; please the woman he bought the jewelry for; or understand why he has not pleased that same woman.

By this definition, Diva might as well be fatherless...

Read the rest HERE at Parentdish.Com

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Meant to Be: A Letter to My Daughter on Her Birthday

Long ago, before there was you, when Daddy was not yet Daddy and I was not yet Papa, he and I promised each other that someday we would be parents. We had a wedding and bought a house, but then let more than a decade pass while we waited to be "ready" for a child. (We didn't realize there is no ready, only willing.)

In the early fall of our 11th year together, Daddy's beloved Nana passed away, one week after deciding it was her time to go. But first, she'd called her children and their children to her bedside, sharing her love one last time and commanding us all to live full, happy lives.

When Nana died, Daddy and I both felt something stirring inside, a clear impulse that it was time to move forward with our plans to adopt a baby, adding a new life to the now smaller family. Many of the people who would become your relatives, godmothers and aunties were thrilled when we announced this decision.

But my own mother didn't think God approved of two men raising a child, an opinion also shared by the governor of our home state and some of the most prominent men in the land. The doubters didn't stop us: Our course was set...

Read the rest here at AOL's, in The Family Gaytriarch's, the nation's first mainstream media same-sex parenting column.

A Piece of Unsolicited Advice: Don't Offer Any

My friend Gwen was taking a stroll, her sleeping 1-year-old daughter Lola pressed to her chest in a baby sling. It was a lovely day, the nicest so far in a too-late spring, and Gwen was thrilled to be out of the house. A Friendly Stranger rolled up alongside her on his bicycle, cooing over Lola before asking, "How old is she?"

When Gwen answered, Friendly Stranger asked if he could "say something." He was already "saying something," so the phrase was just a euphemism for his real intention. Like a preacher at a revival, he lectured Gwen.

"Your problem is that your daughter is facing the wrong way. She has to face out at this age."

Until that moment, Gwen had been unaware that she had any "problem" or that this wasn't a casual chat. But she played it cool.

"Lola likes to sleep this way."

The cyclist's voice rose. "But she's too OLD! You CAN'T let her do that any more!"

Gwen's a writer and a lawyer -- she could have verbally sliced up the Less-Friendly Stranger, but instead she tried to de-escalate the situation.

"I'm aware there are a lot of opinions on this, but I'm comfortable that she'll be fine."

"You're going to DEFORM her! Her neck will be TWISTED!"

Gwen's jaw tightened. "OK. You've shared your opinion. Move along."

The decidedly Un-Friendly Stranger did roll off, but not before shouting: "This is ABUSE! They should TAKE THAT CHILD AWAY FROM YOU." And thus ended Gwen's lovely morning.

Is there anything your average parent wants less than unsolicited advice?
And, yet, we all get it...

You can read the rest here at AOL's in The Family Gaytriarchs, the nation's first mainstream media same-sex parenting column.

The Men in the Mirror: Modern Family & Me

Question: Where can I find the following family?

Two gay dads -- one slender and uncomfortable offering public displays of affection, the other hefty and prone to flamboyant gestures. Add one adopted daughter of another race, the youngest member of an extended family whose senior patriarch is remarried to a younger woman, which makes him now the parent of a child close in age to his grandchildren. Need a hint? Their wacky adventures are broadcast on Wednesdays.

Answer: I just have to look in the mirror.

You can read the rest here at AOL's in The Family Gaytriarchs, the nation's first mainstream media same-sex parenting column.