I invited my dad to Sweden for his 60th birthday. I figured 60 was as good a time as any to start living a fabulously gay life. I wanted to show him the world that existed beyond his everyday Montana and I wanted to make peace with my past.
I always figured there were certain hateful statements that my sons would make, especially ones that say I am inadequate. One of the statements I feared was finally delivered, though it did not come as part of a calculated gotcha exchange. It came at the worst possible moment.
While matters of gender and biology may be relevant to making a child, it is parenting that makes a parent. The ability and the desire to love a child unconditionally has nothing to do with one's gender.
A little more than 24 hours after a young man in Newtown, Conn., gunned down 20 children, their caretakers and his own mother, hearing my kids equate death with "boy stuff" takes the breath out of my lungs.
Both my sons came into my family from foster care. For that alone I owe the system a debt that I will never, ever be able to repay. But I do not wish to imply that the road through foster care is a cakewalk. It is daunting at times, but doable.
On regular days phrases like "a little chaos is a good thing" and "at least it's happy noise" have the desired calming effect, but on this PMS-migraine, one-two-punch day I call out the big guns: "It might have been otherwise." You see, for Tracie and me, parenthood was hard-won.