When my daughter tells me that she is more American than I am because she was born here and I wasn't, I respond that I actually think the opposite is true - that because I made the choice to become American, I am more American then she is. I made the choice to leave my past behind and asked to become a U.S. citizen, while she was given citizenship at birth. I never planned to leave my past behind and I didn't have a childhood dream to become American, but yet, I did end up doing this, so, how did I get here?
I remember the late '90s. I was fresh out of the closet, a teenage, single, gay guy who was going out clubbing every weekend. 90% of my friends were single, gay guys and I was frequently on the dating market. That's how I saw most young gays living their lives back in those days. It was not yet legal for two men to get married, and usually same-sex families were out of public sight. Fast-forward 10 years later. I was married to my husband, Ido, we were pregnant with our first daughter, and 90% of our friends were married, straight couples. Our date nights involved staying at home, watching a movie on a 40-inch television screen in our own living room. How did we end up there?? I always wondered when this transition to the good ol' typical American family started.
Over the course of the weekend, I start feeling - not great. I'll just put it out there. I get constipated. I'm feeling weird, like you know how your stomach gets tight, you're walking around full because all that food is on your lungs? Then I decide l can't take it anymore and what does my dumb 22-year-old self do? I give myself an enema.
There is a saying: It takes a village. Well, for our family it is literally a true statement. My husband, Eli, and I have two beautiful daughters. Milo is five years old and Demi is 19 months old. To have them, we needed to go through two surrogacy journeys with the help and support of a wonderful egg donor, two amazing gestational carriers, doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, attorneys and our close family, of course. Both Milo and Demi share the same egg donor and have a different biological dad; one girl is biologically Eli's and one is biologically mine.
We all have different ways we need to be loved. A note on your lover's car before they go to work can go a long way. In the book "The 5 Love Languages," the author tell us about how to show your partner love by speaking their love language. There are five: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, touch, and acts of service.
Although demanding and time consuming, the school selection process has been a remarkably enjoyable and inspiring experience for our family. We became familiar with truly wonderful schools. We were impressed by their admirable programs and by their inspiring educators and leaders. Nonetheless, with every school visit, it became clearer and clearer which school is our first choice school -- our perfect match.
If a person goes into their backyard and sees a huge bear three feet away from them, a few things may happen. Either they will be frozen in fear or run back into the house, or they will attempt to fight off the ferocious animal. This traumatizing event now becomes a part of the person's life and stays with them for years to come.
It has been said that living through construction can break a relationship apart. Why my husband Stefano and I thought it to be a great idea to start a gut renovation, move in with his family and plan a baby shower while six months pregnant just shows the type of go getters we are. We are never afraid of a challenge therefore we always find ourselves in challenging situations.
As most couples do, my husband Eli and I have come up with our own way of sharing responsibilities and defining roles. Part of it was naturally developed throughout the years, whereas for the rest of it, well, we simply sat down and split the load based on preferences, strengths, and for the undesired chores such as laundry... we just flipped a coin.
Recently, when my relationship ended (and not before, as it may appear) I embarked on an expedition, of sorts, to discover what a tailor fitted romance might look like on me. Deconstructing a traditional relationship by eliminating rules felt like a good place to start. I've never had established rules of conduct with any of my friends or family, just trust that we would behave and interact respectfully, which should be a prerequisite for any relationship.
When we opened the real-life memory box sent by the hospital team who took care of Isli during the last days of her short life, Ido and I finally had the chance to grieve together. Even though we knew what would be in there, and the box lived in a closet that we opened daily, we still couldn't go through with opening it for more than a year.