“Believer” (and why I sobbed through the entire thing).

I watched “Believer” tonight. Bad move. Long week. Lots of Queer clients. Then I watch a documentary about Queer people killing themselves. I mean not technically about them killing themselves, well sort of, mostly. It’s about the lead singer of Imagine Dragons and his journey toward activism for the Mormon church to be accepting of LGBTQ members.

I actually was very aware of the Mormon stance on Queers. Because generally all churches don’t like us. They are one of them. Through the course of my career I have encountered Queer youth who are Mormons whose parents don’t know they are Queer because they know they will be excommunicated and likely disowned if they come out.

I did not know the back story to Imagine Dragon’s lead singer’s activism. It’s intense. He pushes himself in this documentary to limits. And people die. I sobbed. My wife came out of the shower and I was about forty-five minutes into it and literally sobbing. She looked at the screen and saw him singing, and I was like no, no, it’s so much more than him singing. People committed suicide. Kids are dying. You just walked in on a clip of him singing so I look totally crazy right now.

But I couldn’t actually say that because I was crying. I sort of just waved my hands around and tried to talk between sobs.

She didn’t really react because I think she’s used to my twice yearly break-downs after a tough week.

Eventually I explained and pointed out all the people who lost family members so I didn’t seem quite so dysregulated.

This documentary is different because it shows the struggle of an ally. It shows the “it’s not my problem because I’m not gay” attitude and why that is not okay. Why allies need to stand just as loud if not louder for the Queer community.

When I’m feeling like I am burned out because I can’t take the homophobia and discrimination and transphobia stories that I hear, witness, and experience daily at my job, it’s those stories. The story of the ally who stepped up and spoke out that remind me I’m not in this alone.

There are testimonies by people who leave and/or are excommunicated from the Mormon Church due to them being allies or them being Queer and out. One person who was excommunicated due to speaking out says to the lead…You must know that quote, that evil only exists when good men do nothing.

I keep seeing stories about the migrant families flooding my newsfeed. My heart aches for them, but all I can think is LGBTQ people will be next. What if they ever come for my family? LGBTQ people are persecuted all over the world and discriminated against daily in our own country.

It’s like there’s only just so much space in my head and heart for heartache and I’m spending my energies on the Queer community and there’s just no room for anything else.

We recently switched daycares and when we were looking for new ones we had to ask “Have you ever had a two mom family?” and wait with bated breath for their responses. I recently started using a new pool guy, love him, first time I mentioned my wife though I wasn’t sure he’d come back. He did. There recently was a debate in my lesbian mom’s group about donor sperm and half siblings- add it to the list of my worries. We started a farm share. I’ve gone to pick up. My wife has gone to pick it up. Not sure if/when they will put it together that we are married and if/when we will find out if they are homophobic or not. We are about 50/50 for farms in the area.

That is a small list of the last week. The last week of experiences when I worry or fear because I’m married to a woman. I’m a grown, educated, confident, intelligent, working woman. Imagine the fear and vulnerability in a sixteen year old. Ten year old. Twenty year old. They are out there. Our Queer youth.

We need allies. Step up. Speak out. The exact quote is:

“It has been profoundly said, and how true it is, that the only thing necessary for evil to exist is for good men to do nothing,” Edmund Burke

 

 

 

The Moment Your 3 Year Old Figures Out Mommy’s Family is Missing.

That moment happened. The one we’ve been dreading since I got pregnant. My sons and my wife were watching The Good Dinosaur. A horrible trippy Disney movie that for some reason made it past Disney editors. My sons are obsessed with it.

There’s a part when Arlo, the dinosaur, is explaining to a human critter what and who his family is. My sons learned awhile ago that their family is Mommy, Mama, Declan, and Jackson (and Rajah and Maddy the cats but they fight over who can have Maddy because she’s more friendly to them).

They are watching that scene, and they are holding pictures of my Aunt and Uncle and cousins, and my parents- Poppy and Ba (Gramma), because they tend to walk around with those pictures and chatter about their family.

Declan looks at his pictures, then he looks at my wife and says, “My famwe Mama, Mommy, Chackson, and Decky, Rara, and Maddy.” My wife says, “Yes, good job.” He wasn’t done though. He looked perplexed and held up his pictures and said, “Who your famwe?” That little three year old brain had put it together. All of these extended relatives were Mamas famwe. So where the heck are Mommy’s people?

My wife responded perfectly and said, “You’re my family. You and Jackson, and Mama.” Declan is too smart for his age. He looked at her, and at the pictures, like he knew that couldn’t be right. So he asked again. And again. And again. Because he’s three and he’s my son. I’ve been told I’m like a dog going after a bone. I won’t stop until I get my answer. Apple doesn’t fall far apparently.

So eventually my wife said, “Well I don’t really talk to my family baby.” He responded, “No talk to your famwe?” and she nodded. Then he became engrossed in the movie and seemed to accept this as an answer.

My wife told me as soon as I got home that night. We were both a little surprised and caught off guard. He’s too young for us to explain this. He’s too…innocent. We don’t want him to know that her family cut her off, left her homeless, has never met them because she’s a lesbian. But he’s also too damn smart and nosey. He’s going to know sooner than we would have liked.

His brother likes to live in happy oblivion. HIs brother accepts reality as it is and doesn’t question it. But he will know too, because if Declan’s talking about it Jackson’s going to be listening.

So here we are. Three years and two weeks into their little lives. That’s how long they lasted without knowing or asking.

It feels weird. Kind of a relief. Kind of terrifying. Sad. The way they will be introduced to discrimination is through the grandparents they will never meet. Not how we would have liked it or planned it. But that’s our reality.

It all feels so stupid. Such an easy fix. Yet so impossible at the same time.

There’s no guidebook for this whole parenting thing. There’s also no guidebook for the whole lesbian mom disowned by her parents thing. It’s a lot of stumbling through. Waiting for the questions to be asked and wishing we had different answers when they are.

Those Moments When You Mom Judge the Hell Out of Yourself…

This morning the boys were driving me insane. I mean that literally. I locked myself in the bathroom to take a minute, look in the mirror, remind myself I am a living breathing human being and try not to cry.

For those tuning in for the first time I have two and a half year old twin boys. It’s just my wife and I. I am home alone with them every morning, and she is home with them in the evenings. Some mornings are fine. They can be charming and sweet and loving. They lull me into this false sense of security. Then a morning like this morning happens. It reminds me there is actually a living breathing monster in both of them. These monsters’ sole purpose in life is to make me lose my mind.

I’m not being dramatic. They drove me to my limits. But I emerged from the bathroom thinking I could make it. I walked back into the kitchen and sat with my one son Jackson while he finished his cereal. I heard my other son Declan making noise in the other room, and I thought he was climbing the stairs after I had explicitly told him No, multiple times, to his request to go upstairs.

I essentially lost control and yelled, “GET OFF THE STAIRS” as I quickly rounded the corner. I mean picture crazy bloodshot eyes, claw growing out of my hands, and my hair suddenly shooting out sparks of electricity….I came into our foyer only to see my little man standing, not on the stairs, but in front of the toy chest. Being good. His bottom lip jutted out at the exact moment my hands flew to my mouth and I was horrified by my insane yelling and stomping that he didn’t deserve.

I ran over to him, plopped myself on the floor and opened my arms. He came over to me, and hugged me tight, and I rubbed my head against his, and said “I’m so sorry baby,” as he breathed heavy and held back tears. I’m holding back my own tears at this point and laying kisses all over his head. He still clung to me, and we just sat there on the floor in our entryway holding each other.

I yell sometimes. But that yell was the Mama’s pissed yell. It was the I’ve reached the end of my utterly frayed rope yell. He knew it. He knew it was a different sort of yell. He’s only two and a half, he doesn’t sit still for thirty seconds, let alone hug me and let me hug him for at least two minutes.

There are these moments as a Mom that make me hate myself. That was one of them. I could see in his face in that moment as I rounded the corner that I hurt his feelings. He could see on my face that I was angry and then horrified at my own mistake.

These are uncomfortable moments. We all want to be Facebook happy smiling mom’s with perfect kids and families. I hear it all the time from clients. Mom’s who feel guilty for yelling or losing it. I don’t lose it every day. My kids are certainly not scared of me.

I always tell them I love them. I give them hugs and kisses whenever they are within arm’s distance. And tonight, after we put them to bed, he started crying and he wanted his “Mama” that’s me, Mommy is my wife. I held him and he told me what was wrong, and I kissed him and put him back to bed.

My sons make me better. They make me stronger. They make me more sensitive and a little more crazy. They make me feel like the worst human in the world, and in the same day, they make me feel like the most worthy and best Mama alive.

I’m not a perfect Mama. But I love my kids, and they know it. Try having two two-year olds. Then try not ever yelling. Seriously. I’m learning to lighten up on myself. That all Mom’s need to lighten up on themselves. If your kids are loved then cut yourself some slack. We are allowed to lose it sometimes. Because kids are rough stuff. So is Mommy-ing.

 

 

Hot Yoga. Twins. And Freaking Kennedy.

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. As per usual.

I am trying to ignore the fact that the Supreme Court may change the course of my life permanently. I’m trying to forget the fact that democrats were major pussies when Merrick was up and didn’t play hardball like the Republicans have been doing now. Pisses me off. Now is not the time to be polite. These decisions can become life and death. Back ally abortions killed women. Hate and discrimination kills people still. Though I vote Democrat the party itself is pissing me off as much as the Republicans. Because freaking fight. At least that’s how I feel. I’m not a half ass kinda girl. I’m an all or nothing kinda woman. When I believe in something I will fight for it. Passionately and with all I’ve got.

Off and on since my teens I’ve taken yoga. It always was nice in the moment but afterward I’d be like okay I need to go work out now. As I got older and had more stuff on my plate I didn’t have time to go to yoga then go to a real workout. So yoga fell off to the wayside. Also all the laying on the ground at the end for 20 minutes or whatever just irritated me. I’m not good at meditation nor do I really feel the need to be.

After I had the boys my body was a hot mess. Still kind of is. But less so. Then after a year of breastfeeding. Wow. Even more of a hot mess. I worked with a trainer, hit the gym, but I just wasn’t feeling it. One day in January my wife and I did a date to a hot yoga class. It was amazing. Totally crazy workout that makes me still want to die/puke/pass out on the regular and so intense that I can’t think of anything else because my brain is occupied with the fight to survive the next hour. And we only lay on the floor for 5 minutes at the end tops, and cool music is playing. Not weird meditative crap. And I’m so spent from 55 minutes of craziness I can actually lay there and just zone out.

After that first class I was like. Wow. I found my home. It’s not Bikram. It’s Baptiste style. In a basement type studio with heat set at 94 degrees and humidity to 45%. It’s often hotter and more humid by the end of the class.

I’ve dropped pounds and inches. I even dropped a cup size. Amazing. I bought my first C cup bra ever. I’m just freaking amazed. I gradually increased from once a week to twice a week to three times a week, to sometimes four if I’m not dead.

That hour I take for myself has been life changing. Not only am I feeling better about my body in general but my brain can shut off. I can actually not think about the Supreme Court fuck up and now totally fucked up future of SCOTUS. It’s like it brings me back to the basics. Survive. Survive this hour. That’s pretty powerful.

I leave covered in sweat. I mean my clothes are soaked. The hot yoga towel I put over my mat is soaked. I realized I was making progress when I could make it the first fifteen minutes without sweating yet. I can also do Crow pose which is cool. I can sort of do inversions. But I’m not safe enough to do it in that tiny little room as I would probably kick my neighbor or something.

No one at hot yoga knows my story. The teachers I go to the most frequently know my name. One of them now knows I have twins. I told her last week. But I had been going since January and could just go in and not be me. I could just be a person doing her thing in hot yoga and leave. Not a Mama, not a nurse, not a lesbian, not a business owner. Some one actually thought I was a local college student. I didn’t correct them. Because I’m like wow. I’m freaking old. If you think I’m 22 I’m down with that.

It’s been my own personal journey and is ongoing. I continue to see improvement in my flexibility, my poses, and overall my weight and body. I have muscles in my arms I didn’t know existed. Most importantly I have hope. Hope that I will be myself again somehow. I leave feeling lifted, feeling that no matter how dark things may get, no matter how fucked up SCOTUS will become, that we all have this innate drive to survive. I found mine. Connected with it. Powerful shit.

The world has withstood worse tyrants and worse times than this asshole and every other asshole who supports him. We will survive too. We just have to connect with our drive to do so. It’s there. Promise. Go to hot yoga. You’ll find it. Just don’t talk to me if you find my studio. That’s my zen time. And I generally can’t breathe and I may puke on you. Ha. Yeah.

Fear and Vulnerability

Vulnerability: (I had to dictionary.com this shit to fact check) So per Dictionary.com…

1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt; as by a weapon.

2. open to moral attack, criticism;

3. open to assault; difficult to defend.

Fear: Again per dictionary.com

  1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
  2. a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.
  3. concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.
  4. reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God.
  5. something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of: Cancer is a common fear.
  6. anticipation of the possibility that something unpleasant will occur

I’ve wanted to write a post about this for awhile. But haven’t figured out how. Also sort of hate being vulnerable so the idea of writing a blog post about it made me feel uneasy. But it’s important and I don’t like being scared of something. So here goes.

I think we all know instinctively what being vulnerable feels like but we may not be able to put it into words. Hence the dictionary.com situation. I knew that it feels scary/raw/open/fearful. I know how it feels because every single time I tell someone I’m married to a woman I feel it. Which is almost on a daily basis. Think about how many times you reference your significant other and/or children. On a daily basis right? Think about how safe and secure and without hesitation you feel every time you mention your husband or wife if you are in a heterosexual relationship. Think about mentioning your children a hundred times a day to anyone. That you don’t think twice about it, and then maybe you share this heterosexual moment of kinship about their Dad’s or their Mom’s or whatever.

I don’t have that.

I tell people I have twins and they ask if my husband helps out a lot. I say I have a wife. Then I wait. I wait for acceptance or not. I make that statement and I am vulnerable to attack on my person and on my marriage and on my business. Because I do own a business. It is woman owned and yes Lesbian owned. So take that:)

But for real. That maybe 5 second moment that I experience on the regular is the most fucked up/vulnerable/fear inspiring/awe inspiring moment. And no offense but hetero’s you just can’t comprehend.

Every single time I talk about my family I put my safety at risk. I put myself at risk.

EVERY LGBTQ individual who comes out to any one at any time makes themselves vulnerable in that moment in a way that only a minority who knows hate and discrimination and murder can know. It can literally be life ending. Sit with that for a second. Freaking deep right.

So honor that moment when someone has the courage to come out to you. Because they may look cool and calm but inside they are waiting. Waiting to see which way you will swing. They are vulnerable in that moment. Vulnerable to fear, hate, and love.

I won’t stop putting myself out there. I won’t stop writing a blog post that outs myself and my family. Because ultimately though the word vulnerable makes me a little squeamish I know the big picture is more important. The big picture being that there are LGBTQ individuals who have died after coming out. There are LGBTQ individuals who have been horribly beaten. Yet they still walk the walk. They still talk the talk. They have embraced the vulnerability and the fear and given it the middle finger. I am happily and fearfully and lovingly joining them.

Rest in peace. All those who have died to be LGBTQ freely. PRIDE month in the USA for me means being proud of all those individuals who have stood up for our rights and died for them. We will carry on.

 

Mornings with two 2 year old’s.

Every week day morning I am home with the boys. Just as every evening my wife is home with them. I like to complain that mornings are worse because we are on a time crunch to get out the door. But really any time with twin two year olds is a total shit show.

So just snippets from this morning. From the hours of 7 AM when they wake up through 9 AM when we walk out the door.

Me- holding 4 shirts- Jackson needs options. Declan is already dressed standing next to me. Jackson is about five feet away having a meltdown because I took off his pajama shirt and he doesn’t want to put on a new shirt. Me- “This one?” holding up each shirt individually, Jackson with tears, “No!” “No!” Declan- grabs a shirt “Jacky dis one, Jacky dis one,” Proceeds to run after Jackson with a shirt in his hand. Jackson cries and screams and runs away from Declan. I’m still holding up the other three shirts telling Declan to stop chasing Jackson. “Declan, baby, thank-you, Mama’s got this,” I might as well be talking to air, because they are still screaming running in circles with Declan holding up the damn shirt. Then they stop running and screaming both end up in my lap. Then Jackson is pulling at Declan’s shirt, and Declan babbles at him, and they somehow communicate to me that Jackson needs Declan’s shirt and Declan needs the shirt in his hand. I don’t know how honestly, because they don’t speak in sentences. It’s like some weird twin language that I understand sometimes. So I unbutton and take off Declan’s shirt. Put it on Jackson. Put the other shirt on Declan.

This is all after we have established that “Mommy work” (I’m Mama) “Mommy work.” Instead of “Hi Mama,” Every morning it’s “Good morning babies,” “Mommy work?” “Yes Mommy’s at work.” Then one of them might cry or we might be okay and move onto getting dressed.

At the table for breakfast- “Wa wa Mama” “You want water?” “yes.” “please?” “pwees”. I get their two little cups, fill them up, give them each a cup, the look at the cups (they are exactly the same), then they have this whole conversation between each other, sounds like “Jacky,” “Decy, wa wa,” “Jacky, wa wa, No, Mama, pwees.” Then they hand each other their cups to switch them. Then they sit back and sip them. Apparently I gave them the wrong cups. But like seriously. Exactly the same.

Still at the table- “Ca” “Ca” “Rara Rara No!” “Ca Ca”. “Damnit, Rajha get down, guys the black one is Maddy the white one is Raja, not Cat and Rajha.” They scream “Ca” at Maddy, and “Rara” at Rajha every time one of the cats jumps on the table where they aren’t supposed to be. Every morning. Damn cats.

While we eat breakfast I always turn on some music. I have a playlist mixed of my music and kids music. Finally a Mama song comes on. “Mama no, Moana, Moana,” “Yeah but guys this is Pink, Pink is like one of the best artists…” “Mama Moana, Moana, pwees.” Me muttering under my breath that I can’t even listen to one damn Pink song with my coffee as I fast forward to a Moana song.

Inevitably at some point…Jackson screams, “PEE PEE” “PEE PEE” “PEE PEE” and wherever he is has a total shit fit and runs into the family room and lays on the ground to change his diaper. Yes. He knows when he pees, he holds his pee, and no he won’t get on the damn toilet. We are trying. So he goes and lays down, and he waits for me to come change him. And I gotta be honest. Sometimes I forget. So I’m cleaning up the kitchen, packing their diaper bag, brushing my teeth (I literally have toothbrushes, toothpaste, and deodorant in the bathrooms upstairs and downstairs and the kitchen), then I realize I haven’t seen the blonde one for awhile…”Jack-man?” “Mama pee pee.” Fuck. Right. Then I’m like how long has he been laying there? And feeling like the worst mother ever run over to change him and I find him patiently laying on the floor playing with some toy or something with a full diaper.

Getting out the door.

Herding cats. Well herding the boys and yelling at the cats as they try and sneak out the door. Then the boys start yelling at the cats and we have the same discussion. The black cat is Maddy not Cat.

Yesterday I was putting Declan’s coat on, we had already done his shoes and socks, and Jackson who always runs away, actually got within grabbing distance of me. So I grabbed him, pinned him under my legs, finished zipping up Declan’s coat with a writhing screaming Jackson trying to escape. Then I had to lay on him to get his socks and shoes on, while I’m laying on him Declan’s bring Jackson’s coat over and laying it on Jackson’s face saying “Coooooat Jack-y, coooooooat Jack-y”. I get the shoes on. I grab the coat off the even more pissed Jackson, thank Declan, and then while wrestling Jackson into his coat the car alarm goes off. I look up and Declan’s holding my keys looking guilty, clearly having pushed the panic alarm. I pin Jackson down again, Declan comes and gives me the keys, and when I finally get the coat on the car alarm off and stand up, those two cups of coffee hit me, and I’m like if I pee I lose all momentum and we never get out the door, if I don’t pee….well it may come out anyway thank you twin pregnancy.

I rush them out the door, into the garage, one in each car seat. Each with their own car toys. God forbid it’s the wrong car toy. Each with a snack. And then I thank God for remote control car starters as I open the garage, start the car, lock it, run back inside and pee before we head out for the day.

So yeah. To all my co-workers. This is why I’m freaking beat before work even starts.

Yes I love them and thank God they are cute and they give me amazing hugs. And tonight Jackson banged heads with me accidentally, and he rubbed my head with his little hand and said “I sorry Mama, boo boo,” and he kissed my head. It’s those moments that make me forget just this morning I had him pinned between my legs to get his socks on…to bed now only to wake for another adventure…

Why People Shouldn’t Ask if a Woman Will Get Pregnant Again.

There are many layers to this blog post as I write it. I write it not only as a woman who has struggled with fertility but as a lesbian mom. I also write it as my two darling boys are screaming outside because they don’t want to come inside from playing in the snow. They would honestly let their fingers freeze and fall off. The screaming ambiance makes it easier to write this.

For those of you who haven’t read my previous posts you can look here and here for posts regarding my struggles with fertility, pregnancy, and birthing of twin boys. Suffice it to say it was a long hard journey initially more challenging because we are lesbians made more challenging by underlying endometriosis. Once I got pregnant I puked every day for 36 weeks and two days. That’s right. There was not one day I didn’t puke. I puked at work, I puked at 2 A.M., I’d literally open my eyes in the middle of the night puking already. I puked on almost every single doctor in my OB-GYN practice. I also had horrible insomnia and didn’t sleep for more than 2 hours at a time for the second and third trimester. Pregnancy sucked. I never felt good until three days after they came out. I had pre-eclampsia the day I delivered and spent the first 24 hours on a magnesium drip, still puking with a fresh incision. In the midst of my puke laden pre-eclampsia nightmare I lost vision in my eyes (which I got back), and I had people sticking two newborns on my boobs. So there was that.

It was ultimately successful and worth it in so many ways but when I tell you I was traumatized by my pregnancy I am not lying. The thought of being pregnant again could bring me to tears if I thought about it.

I remember returning to work after an 18 week maternity leave. At that point I had not been at work for four months since having the boys and not at work without being pregnant or undergoing fertility treatments for over a year. I felt like I was returning as a different, calmer, more sleep deprived, happier individual. I was still breastfeeding and had to adjust to pumping multiple times a day and picking up and dropping off at daycare. I remember the first week back one of my co-workers asked me when I’d have “the next one.” My sleep addled brain could not quite comprehend what she was asking. When I politely responded, “Funny,” and tried to move the conversation onto another topic she didn’t let it go. I had to get somewhat defensive and say, “I’m not having another one.” Then I was told how wrong I was and that in a year or two I’d change my mind and have more. As if I couldn’t possibly make judgements about my body and my future in that moment.

It felt very wrong to me for many reasons. First off, I am very private, and I did not feel that was any one’s business. Second, that particular person knew the horrible journey through infertility and pregnancy I endured. To casually suggest I go through that all over again made me want to vomit. Third, once I said a very overt No, I should not have been pushed or pressured or shamed to feel that was the incorrect response.

Since that day multiple people have asked me if I will have another child. Friends, family, strangers, clients, and co-workers have all asked me. When I have emphatically said No I have been told on multiple occasions that I am wrong and will change my mind. I’ve been told by straight women who do not know I’m married to a woman, “That’s what I said after the first, and whoops!” I haven’t quite had the heart to say “Actually I’m a lesbian so I’d need a lot of whoops’ including a man shooting sperm that somehow accidentally lands in my vagina. Then that sperm would need to make it through my endometriosis filled tubes to my potential eggs which by the way required IVF previously to bypass the tubes. That would be one of hell of a whoops.” But I think it. Every time.

If I was married to a man and all it required was a “whoops” then who knows maybe I would get pregnant again? Most likely not intentionally as twins did a number on my body and I hated having a C-section and would not care to repeat the entire experience. But I’m married to a woman. So being pigeonholed by heterosexual women into a female who can’t possibly feel fulfilled with one pregnancy (which by the way yielded two kids) kind of pisses me off.

It makes me feel mad because perhaps I would have more perhaps I wouldn’t but don’t presume to know my past and my future just because you had multiple pregnancies. Underneath my initial defensive response is pain and uncertainty. I feel like I’m being scraped a little raw during these exchanges.

I also feel for every other woman who struggled to have one pregnancy because I’ve been there. To poke and prod at those wounds by telling them they should have a second pregnancy, when perhaps they do want more than anything to have that, but they can’t, I find that just plain mean.

There are women who have emergency hysterectomies during their first delivery due to complications with bleeding and so while they may want more than anything to have a second pregnancy they physically can’t. They could be lesbians. Finding sperm can be challenging and expensive and then simple at home inseminations don’t always work, turning into expensive fertility treatments.

Then there are people who are completely fulfilled with one pregnancy, one child (or two), and simply don’t want more kids. Yes we exist. Stop telling me we don’t. It’s annoying.

I’ve never had much of a filter. But I was raised to be polite. I would never ask a woman if she’s wanting anymore children unless it’s professionally related as a health care provider and need to know if she’s planning a pregnancy because that would change the medication choice I make if prescribing for her. I would never pass judgement on someone for wanting or not wanting another pregnancy. It may seem like a casual friendly inquiry, but for many women it’s anything but casual and can bring up many painful emotions.

My advice is to operate on a need to know basis. Do you really need to know if this woman is planning a second pregnancy? If the answer is No, then don’t ask. If the answer is Yes then ask but then stop talking. Let them answer, respect their answer, and move on. And straight people…not everyone is straight. Some women sleep with other women. They can’t get pregnant by accident.

Bigotry down the street buying a Christmas Tree. 2017.

This holiday season brought a lot of decisions for us. We always celebrate Christmas. We were both raised Christian though our religious experiences left us with different tastes in our mouths for sure. We agreed on Santa Claus from the start. We sort of agreed on Advent breakfasts. That’s just a thing my family does every Sunday in Advent we have a nice breakfast at the dining room table and light an additional candle each week until we have five on Christmas day. I grew up reading certain passages from the Christmas story in the bible, so we do that too. However we also have the “Yule” book at the table, written by a Wiccan, and flip through that to find blessings and legends outside the Christian tradition.

Our advent breakfast sounds so austere when I read what I wrote above, but in reality it was me flipping pancakes, the boys screaming because they don’t do well without eating first thing upon opening their eyes. Waiting the ten minutes for pancakes is torture. But they do love pancakes. Then we served them their pancakes in their highchairs at the dining room table, we brought out the coffee, placemats, then by the time my wife and I sat down the boys were basically done. I read the passage from Luke and the boys babbled the entire way through with my wife “shh-ing” them, and telling them to be quiet, and me telling my wife to be quiet. Then they got down and wanted to help us eat our pancakes and one of my son’s knocked over my water bottle…the chaos just goes on. So in reality our peaceful advent breakfast was a clusterfuck but we don’t regret it. Traditions start out as clusterfucks I’ve decided, or maybe that’s just in my family.

The one tradition my wife and I never disagree about is the Christmas tree. We get one every year. We cut it down fresh, drag it to the parking lot, watch them wrap it in twine, struggle and swear at each other as we lift it onto the car, tie it down. Then the ENTIRE way home I ride the breaks and make my wife practically hang out the window to make sure it’s not going to fall off (it never has. I’m just a freak). My wife meanwhile bitches about hanging out the window and tells me to drive faster and the tree is fine.

This year is the first year the boys had any clue what was going on. All four of us went out into the field, the boys frequently falling and tripping over all the stumps and holes. We finally found “the tree” thinking it wasn’t too big, when in fact it was the biggest freaking tree we’ve ever gotten and literally would not have fit in our living room if there was furniture in there. Which there isn’t because we just moved in, thank God, so it’s still unfurnished. Well except the big ass tree.

So we are out in the field, I’m chasing the boys around, we are all getting trapped in prickers, my wife is sawing down the tree yelling at me to push it, I’m yelling at her that I have to watch the two boys. It finally comes down. We try and get it onto the cart. We fail miserably. It’s not going on the cart. Then she’s yelling at me that we picked a tree that’s too freaking big, and I’m like I wanted the little one back near the car. And we are losing the boys.

So I take the empty cart, and yell to the boys who follow me like little ducklings, still tripping over every hole in the freaking field. My wife drags the tree that’s literally five times her size, and then a very nice gentleman sees our struggle, and probably hears me scream at her “I hate doing this with you every year!” And she screamed back “I hate doing this with you too!” then we both are cracking up, and one of the boys is stuck in a hole.

Anyway the nice man helps my wife carry the tree to the twine thing. The boys and I and the empty cart make it out alive. Covered in scratches from the prickers. The lady by the twine says the tree is too big for their twine machine and has to be brought to the “main farm” for their “industrial twiner”. I’m like Motherfucker. At least they transported it there in a pick-up.

We put the boys in the car, we drive up to the main farm, and see the ginormous twiner. Now back at the tiny twiner we put a tag on the tree with our last name. Pretend our last name is Smith. We are hanging out at the big twiner. The boys are drinking “cider” (it was warm apple juice, gross, but it was free), and sucking on candy canes, watching the trucks and dogs and everything. The four of us are standing together watching our tree go through the big twiner, it’s kind of a kodak moment. It’s bitter cold and we are all snuggled together loving life.

There were three middle-aged white guys working the twiner. And one woman supervising the “cider”. They put the Smith tree through then looked around and only saw the four of us. The guy in charge looked at us, and said “Are you the…uh…” and he looked back and forth between my wife and I, pointed at me directly, “Are you Smith?” he says. Kodak moment broken. Stupid bigot alert. It wasn’t what he said, it was the hesitation, the understanding that flickered in his eyes as he was putting it together, and the downturn in his expression when he did.

I gestured toward my whole family, and smiled and said, “Yes, we are the Smith’s” (in my head it continued with some profanities). He took us all in. The boys had on fleece hats. I mean come on. Cutest thing ever. And one had a cut on his cheek from the prickers. Battle wound. We just survived a family bonding outing from hell. And we wanted our damn tree twined up and put on our car. It was an awkward moment, and the other men ┬áthere were clearly sizing us up and deciding whether they would help us or not. I think because we were the only people there and they had literally no escape and my eyes did not leave them for a second, they gave in.

They helped us put it on the car. But they weren’t nice. They didn’t interact with our sons and barely with us. They essentially acted like we had lesbian germs and they wanted to throw the tree at us and run. Which of course made me want to slobber all over them, but now that I have kids I can’t be that annoying lesbian calling every person out on discrimination.

Takes family bonding to a whole new level. Because all of the sudden we were not safe, and we were only a mile from our home. Suddenly I didn’t give a shit about the tree. I wanted to protect my sons. Because those guys could have spit on us, could have thrown the tree at us, could have destroyed our car. They could have followed us home and realized we were practically neighbors.

Some day the boys will be old enough to notice. Some day they might have a mouth like mine. Some day I hope middle aged white guys who live on farms will be nice to us.

And some day I’d like to actually estimate the size of the tree correctly.

“You mean the sperm donor?” “Yes the biological dad.”

I am going to preface this blog post with the statement that I love my pediatrician group. They are very smart and very professional and I’ve met all of the doctors in the large group practice over the past two years. Twin boys in daycare catch just about everything and then we also have the physicals. We spend a lot of time at our pediatrician’s office. A lot.

At their two year physical we were asked for health history (and not for the first time) we were asked for information about their “biological dad” also stated as “bio father” throughout the dialogue. The first time it was asked my wife and I both kind of stopped and stared and then the dialogue went something like this….

I said, “You mean the sperm donor?”

“Yes, the bio father.”

“You mean the sperm donor?”

“Yes their biological dad.”

“You mean the sperm donor?”

“Yes, do you know any of the history of their biological father?”

“You mean the sperm donor?”

This all was said in less than thirty seconds. Then I said we don’t know much and we all moved on. I think by now you can see where I’m going with this.

Something about the term Dad or Father being placed into my children’s vocabulary when it really has no place there at all pissed me off. It also made me feel vulnerable and protective. Was this person messing with me? Were they being deliberately obtuse or worse deliberately hurtful? Or were they, as I suspect and my wife concurs, just not educated on caring for a two mom family?

My sons are two. They don’t know yet what a dad is. But at some point they will. I don’t want the anonymous sperm donor placed as a father figure in their lives. Because he’s not. We don’t know anything about him except his height, eye color, and age at the time that he donated the sperm. The boys have the option of contacting him when they turn eighteen. And that will be their choice. But I hope at that time it is not out of some longing for a father they never had.

When caring for a two-mom or two-dad or whatever kind of family is presenting in a healthcare provider’s office it would be polite if you ask how they refer to one another. Because there are some two-mom families who do know their sperm donor and do refer to him as the “biological Dad” or whatever. But that’s not my family.

Wherever we take the boys for healthcare we are going to face these vocabulary issues. We are going to have to answer potentially rude (intentionally or unintentionally) questions and we are going to have to do this all in front of our sons. We have to model behavior and vocabulary for them. Because I can’t freak out on every health care provider or secretary who makes assumptions. But I don’t want to sit back and not address the issue.

After that exchange in the pediatrician’s office I thought about my response. I was caught off guard, even though it’s happened there before, so I needed to think of my response next time. I need to overtly say, “We don’t refer to him as the dad or father, the sperm donor is our preferred term. Thanks.” Set the boundary in the moment instead of engaging in this back and forth with some one who thinks sperm donor is synonymous with biological dad. It’s not.

I also contacted their office and gave the feedback that perhaps with diverse families they could ask about preferred names and terms.

Entering a healthcare provider’s office is scary and vulnerable for any one. Add in that we are a minority with our young sons with our own narrative and it makes me instantly defensive mostly because I want my son’s protected and I want the people caring for them not to care for them differently because they have two mom’s.

Dad is a protected term to me. It depicts an individual who has a vested interest in a child’s development. I have a Dad. I know what it’s like. He was and is a good Dad. The boy’s don’t have a dad. They have a sperm donor. They also have two Mom’s. If I donated my eggs and never met the resulting child I would not expect to be referred to as the Mom. I would be the egg donor. The child would hopefully have either a Mom or Dad or two of each. But I would not have a vested interest in that egg’s development into a child, therefore would not presume to be named a parent.

The moral here is if you work in healthcare and care for diverse families, just ask how they want their roles to be referred to or defined as. It makes life for us much easier.

“I have two mom’s too.”

Today is Halloween. We do celebrate. Though this year has been a little sparse because we moved and I started a business. But we did dress the boys as little lumberjacks and brought them to their daycare parade. My three year old niece joined us for the day with my parents. My sons are obsessed with their cousin. They want to know what she’s doing and they want to be doing it to. They also start referring to my wife by her first name after spending time with her because she calls my wife by her first name. She calls me by my first name too but the boys still call me Mama. Weird.

Anyway, today my niece and the boys in their lumberjack costumes were playing and laughing in this big hall before the daycare Halloween parade. My wife arrived and my niece and boys said Hi then resumed playing together. My niece kept looking at my wife and I, and then yelled, “I have two mom’s too!” She said it to the boys but of course the entire room heard.

I think it was the first time she put together that she is connected to my boys in more than just a “cousin” way. They actually all have two mom’s. She was beaming when she said it.

My wife and I just smiled and said yup, you do. Then they all kept playing.

There are a lot of factors at work here. My niece recently started a preschool and maybe she’s been seeing a lot of mom/dad families. She loves Disney Princesses and all those movies are super heterosexual. She’s at an age where she’s realizing she doesn’t have a dad, but instead has two kick ass Moms. To be able to be connected by blood to two boys who will have a shared experience with her in terms of having two Moms.

That moment stuck out for me so much because she literally yelled her proclamation and was smiling ear to ear. She is young and innocent and while she’s figuring out that having two mom’s is not necessarily the “norm” she’s still naive to discrimination. So she yells it. I loved it. But it also made me want to cry. Because will all three of them yell it in five years? In ten years? When they are twelve and facing peer pressure and in the digital age pressure on social media will they be so forthcoming about their Two Mom status? Will they be taught subconsciously or consciously to hide it? Or at least not advertise it?

My heart aches when I think of how much I love those three kids.

Would I have it any other way if I could? Probably not. I’m a firm believer in fate and karma. These kids are going to be stronger for knowing adversity. They will be more open minded and more tolerant because unfortunately they will witness discrimination. Having two mom’s will shape them in ways I can only imagine.

There are moments in life I wish could be freeze-framed. Every time one of my sons spontaneously gives me a hug. The first time I saw my niece in a NICU incubator, fighting to breathe, fighting to live. The ultrasound tech shoving the monitor toward me when I didn’t believe her when she told me there were two fetal sacs both with heartbeats, and seeing those two beautiful circles with a little flutter in the middle. The night I knew I would marry my wife even before gay marriage was legal because I tried imagining living without her and physically couldn’t. The day my sister had a major surgery and we were reassured that all the cancer was gone. Every time my son’s reach for my Mom or Dad. These are pit in my stomach moments that I remember viscerally. Add to the list that time my niece shouted out proudly that she has two moms too.

These are moments that made me feel something. That made me connect with the world around me and see the past and future aligned perfectly. That may sound silly or whimsical but it’s true. Some moments are meant to be enjoyed because pure joy and pure wonder can be instantly knocked out with the next hand life has to deal.