Mother's Day has largely been a non-event in our house. It isn't particularly happy or sad. It just is. Our children may not have their mothers in their lives the way many of their friends do or the way they would wish, but they do have two loving, involved and committed parents.
My teenage son came to me and said, "Mom, can we go out to dinner, just the two of us? I have something I need to talk to you about." I agreed, and didn't think much of it. With four kids, when one asks for my undivided attention, I hear it, and really try to honor it.
As a dad, there are moments I'm filled with doubt because my hope is that I'm doing everything I can to give my daughter the best life possible. To me at least, part of giving her the best life means giving her space to grow and be independent, even as a toddler.
First, my children (or anyone's children) should never hear they're lucky someone loves them and cares for them. That should be a given for every child. The fact that it's not a reasonable expectation isn't a matter of luck. It's the failure of adults, pure and simple.
You might think a gay stay-at-home Dad in San Francisco would be surrounded by others in similar situations - I did. But more often that not I was reminded of how rare a species I was - oftentimes I was the only gay dad anywhere.
Whether it's being busted by my son for being on my BlackBerry, or having to run out of the house early in the morning to get to the office, missing my good-morning hugs from the kids, there are always going to be times I feel guilty for not being present.
If I have gay children, I'll love them. I don't mean some token, distant, tolerant love that stays at a safe arm's length. It will be an extravagant, open-hearted, unapologetic, lavish, embarrassing-them-in-the-school cafeteria, kind of love.
'You don't tell your friends at daycare you have two dads?' 'No!' I had no idea how to respond. Ever since our kids were born, we've tried to help them understand and be proud of the fact that their family looks a bit different than others.
My husband and I are ready to be dads. I've done some writing in the past that talked about our aching "brovaries," as one fellow Gays With Kids writer called them. And in the nine months of gestation that my brain has done since releasing that piece, we have decided to take the plunge.
We figured that as Episcopalians, while we may not be Catholic, we were close enough: same pomp, no pope, less guilt. It surprises some to learn that Kelly and I actually met at church. We still attend regularly. Not regularly enough, as we were soon to find out.
However we respond to these types of questions, from children or adults, whether innocent or malicious, the one thing we need to keep in mind is this: our children are within earshot and this is how they learn to answer the same questions when they are posed to them.