Being an LGBT parent is like being in a sub class of a sub class. We might be making great strides for equality, but it’s still slow going for LGBT parents. When Hayden says “Mommy,” I’m wondering how I might explain to him that his daddies are passively discriminated against?
I knew early on that there would be so many things I’d have to explain to Hayden as he grew up. I just didn’t expect our light-hearted, happy two year old to start asking about mommy so soon. We always knew the mommy question would come.
A small child can’t figure out that two guys can’t make a baby, and our adoption agency (Adoptions With Love) did a really good job at preparing us for long term questions like that. We have support groups and had to go through weekend classes on it. (If only straight couples had to go through what we went through to have a child!) We laid the groundwork for him to have a relationship with his birthmother if he chooses to so so later down the road. For now I know he isn’t really asking where is HIS mommy as much as he’s still in the I-learned-a-new-word-on-TV phase. We watch Sprout TV basically an off shoot of PBS. So we are talking we watch The Wiggles, Caillou, and Sesame Street. In a world that says it’s striving for equality, the media outlets still focus on a mom-dad based family.
Sure there a fair share of “Will & Grace” shows introducing gay characters to society as if we’re “new.” But in the world of children’s TV we are still stuck on Mom+Dad=Family. Occasionally they skirt by with a single mom or single dad to represent different types of families. But all in all not too much has changed since Mr. Rogers. Hence Hayden’s new word.
Awhile back I watched the movie “The Giver” while Scott was out of town. I remember reading this in sixth grade. It was a part of a school program where everyday the teacher read a book to the class for thirty minutes. The story is about a twelve year old boy who lives in a seemingly utopian community. He is selected by the community elders to become the receiver of memory. I mean, how grande does that sound? It’s like this that he meets the Giver: the elder in the community who is entrusted with all the previous knowledge from people before their time. The Giver teaches the boy about everything: color, beauty, love, and hunger, pain, suffering.
Watching this movie all alone, I admit: I teared up. It moved me to know that part of my job as a parent is to show Hayden the amazing world we live in. To show him all the beautiful places and people in the world. To watch him in a school play, witness his discovery of how things work and see him falling in love. The realization quickly set in that I would also have to hold him when he has his first heart break, be there when he falls off his bike, to do my best and explain to him about death when he realizes our dog Louie is no longer around.
The question of mommy is just another one of the lessons daddy is going to have to teach.
Both of us, that is.