Dykes and Daycare

This morning when I was pulling into daycare for our daily drop-off I spotted another lesbian couple.

I felt a lot of different ways. I wanted to run out of the car, and say “Hey, we are lesbian Mom’s too! Can we be best friends?” Then I thought that would sound insane. I thought about casually saying hi. But I’m not an overly sociable person and walking the boys in is an adventure in and of itself. It’s like herding cats. So I just sat there in the car for a second watching them walk in with their son. Until my sons starting saying “Mama, Mama” and I was back to reality. I proceeded to put the shoes on my one son who rips them off every car trip. Got him out. Then walked him over to the other side of the car, barricaded him in with my legs while I pull out the other one who is screaming because in the five seconds we’ve been outside of the car he thinks I’ve forgotten I have two sons and will leave him in the car forever.

Then I get him out. We walk in holding hands, with the boys pointing out every bush, fake decorative animal in the bushes, and person we see. Then we push the buzzer. Then we open the door and are into daycare.

Getting to the walking in stage was kind of amazing. I used to have to call and ask some one to come help me get one out while I got the other one. Because I could not carry two carriers and the full diaper bag in by myself.

But I digress.

I got inside and forgot about the other gay couple because the boys were wandering around saying Hi and attempting to go into every classroom that was not theirs. I finally got them into their room. Handed off the diaper bag. Went through the daily “good-bye” ritual of many hugs and kisses and then when I got back outside I remembered. We are not alone.

When I was about six months pregnant we realized that we needed a daycare. We also realized that daycare costs a shit ton of money.

Thus began our daycare search.

We toured a couple in the area. We did not call and say hi we are lesbian mom’s looking for a tour. We both showed up though. So it was apparent.

I was so sick when I was pregnant so that was one the few times I really did not care about presenting as a gay family. I was focused mostly on not puking. No one said anything to us about being gay friendly or having other gay families as part of the daycare and we didn’t ask.

The boys love daycare. The daycare we chose has amazing staff and an owner who is on top of everything. Flashforward to Mother’s Day. They sent home two beautiful crafts one from each boy to each of us. Luckily we have two sons, so we each got one craft. But I think they would have done two even if we only had one kid. Then it was Father’s Day. They sort of apologized when they handed us the presents, but they said they didn’t want them to feel left out (they were four months old). The Father’s Day presents were equally wonderful and we thought it was sweet. So then the precedent was set.

Clearly the daycare had no experience with same sex couples, because it took a few weeks for the infant teacher to realize my wife was their second mom not a baby-sitter or Aunt. Someone who only worked mornings was there one afternoon and almost didn’t let her take them. The worker was used to only seeing me at drop-off and told her that in fact she was not their mom. I was. That was really the only hiccup we had, and that particular worker was quite embarrassed when the situation was explained by the owner.

We sent a Christmas Card. There were pictures on the front and back. The front had a picture of my wife and I each holding a baby, and kissing. On the back were more family photos. I came in to our photo hung on the bulletin, with the back facing out. The owner actually said something to me without me enquiring, saying she just liked the back better. But I believe it’s because she didn’t want families seeing us kissing. Whether that’s because she knows some families are more conservative leaning or for our own protection I’m not sure and I never asked. But clearly I remember.

Daycare was the first time I had to leave my children with strangers. I had to trust these strangers to not only care for them but to respect our family unit. Straight people know how hard it is leaving your kids with some one else. But you may never have thought to question that the people you are leaving them with would support your family or make disparaging remarks about your family. There is an added layer of fear for gay families. Because we aren’t just a family, we are a gay family. So when I saw the other lesbian couple pull into daycare I wanted to weep with joy. I wanted to give them a hug and say welcome to this place. They will give you Father’s Day cards but they mean well. I wanted to reassure them that our kids were fine here and no one ever made a judgement against us or made us feel different.

But I had my two sons with me and I thought they might think I was crazy. So I didn’t. I did call my wife immediately and tell her about the new lesbian family at daycare. She was also super excited. It’s so bizarre. No heterosexual couple I know has ever been excited because another heterosexual family shows up somewhere. But among the LGBT community it’s a big deal. It creates a feeling of community and safety. I never felt unsafe but I never felt totally secure. Now at the next daycare Halloween parade we won’t be the only same sex couple and there is relief and excitement from the knowledge. It’s not something I even knew was weighing on me until I saw them today.

In the coming weeks I will definitely introduce myself. But I feel like I need to calm down first so I’m not that crazy lady who was way too excited to meet the gay family.

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