This past weekend I went to a Father's Day Brunch in New York City, hosted by The Handsome Father to celebrate Father's Day weekend.
If you are not familiar with The Handsome Father, it's an amazing non-profit organization committed to supporting, networking, and celebrating gay fathers. I've recently joined the group with the launch of my new book.
To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect from the brunch. I've never really been around a large group of gay fathers...there weren't very many of us when I was raising my two children in the 1990's and early 2000's. Most fathers weren't that active back then and most gay fathers were pretty quiet about it. We kind of had to be quiet.
There were certainly no support groups like this.
So I was a bit amazed to see all of these gay fathers so out and about, literally! But what was even more amazing was witnessing the ages and stages of fatherhood, all in one room.
We heard from a "dad in waiting" as he was going through the process of becoming a dad. Sitting at our table was a single dad with his newborn, along with a one-year old boy with his two dads. The table next to us had three children in elementary school, and the table across from us had kids in middle school.
I'm betting all the teens opted out! Ha! Those teen years weren't so easy, if memory serves me well.
Me? I'm on the other end of the spectrum with two kids in their early '20s. My son came to brunch with us...he's in the city for a summer internship. I guess in some ways I was there to prove that you do make it through it all!
I can't even image how different life would have been if we had support groups to join. I felt so inspired.
Now as inspiring as it all was, it didn't make we want to have another baby! Been there, done that.
But it did make me realize just how far we've all come.
The fact that there are communities out there, like The Handsome Father, City Dads Group, Gays With Kids, that are all for supporting gay fathers and fathers of any flavor is just awesome. When I was going through it, I had nothing, absolutely nothing at all.
It was amazing to hear everyone's story, and to feel the common bond we all share: loving our children and working hard to raise them as best we can.
When I got home I took to Facebook, and was overwhelmed by the parade of tributes to my friends' fathers...again, I participated via social media in the ages and stages of fatherhood. New fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, experienced fathers, uncles, brothers, and yes sadly all the fathers who have left us.
The sea of pictures, stories, and love was spellbinding.
We all have a story to tell when it comes to fatherhood, and that story evolves as we pass through our own ages and stages. I personally loved every stage as I was raising my children, despite the backbreaking work! Yes, we all share that too!
Which is why I wrote my new book, Out and About Dad, so that I could share my story from a time when support for fathers and even more so gay fathers was non-existent. We were alone in our journey back then, but that doesn't have to be the case anymore.
It's clearly NOT the case anymore.
Now that is something to celebrate.