Monthly Archives: June 2013

Exhausted

I am exhausted.  Yesterday, I was too exhausted to write.  My kid wakes up a lot at night, I work out early in the morning, and then there was yesterday.  The end of the Defense of Marriage Act.  Yesterday was utterly exhausting.  Beyond exhaustion, it was an emotionally mixed day.  While the historic ruling was a great big step towards full marriage equality in this country, there is so much further to go.

Many straight people I am Facebook friends with posted about how excited they are for our family or how yesterday was a day to celebrate.  Really, I just felt angry.  Angry at everyone.  The end of DOMA takes my marriage from being completely invisible to being partially visible.  That is not a great victory for my family.  I still don’t know what it will mean for us and that makes me angry.  I feel angry that I have to choose between being close to our families or living in one of the 13 states where our legal Massachusetts wedding would be recognized.  Either or. 

So now, we could move back to Massachusetts, away from our parents and siblings and nieces and nephews.  If we chose to do that, we would have a fully recognized marriage.  Or, we can stay here in North Carolina, become eligible for some federal benefits of marriage and be invisible to the state.  That is our choice.  I feel angry.

I know yesterday was momentous.  I am happy for all the couples in this country who will now be able to be fully recognized.  But as the sun sets today, I still feel angry.  That’s just where I am.

-Betsy

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Transitional Object

Photo on 2013-06-25 at 20.27 #3

We have tried very hard since my son was born to get him to attach to a transitional object.  We hoped it would be Babo’s Bird, an Ugly Doll.  We bought five knowing that we were so smart to have extra’s on hand for the eventuality of one being lost.  We would have 4 more!  So smart!

Well, M has never had any interest in Babo’s Bird.  Now, we have four sitting on the shelf and one at the bottom of the stuffed animal bag.  We tried a tiny stuffed cat, an enormous sock monkey, a squishy pillow.  Nothing.  Then, last year, he decided he loved Gerald the giraffe.  Gerald became his nighttime buddy.  He would snuggle with that long neck tucked under his little arm and they would sleep face-to-face.  All of a sudden a few weeks ago, Gerald got kicked to the curb.  M didn’t want Gerald anywhere near him.  He was flying solo at bedtime.  “M doesn’t want any friends in his bed,” he would proclaim.

Ok.  No problem.  Then, he started sleeping with his metal kazoo at nap time.  I thought that it was kind of cute, albeit a little odd.  But TONIGHT takes the cake.  Tonight, he fell asleep holding his travel toothbrush cover (see photo above).  Not sure how this came about, but there it was tucked firmly in his hand until he fell asleep and it fell to the floor.

The whole point of this post, you might be right to assume, is to point out that children are strange little creatures with funny habits and odd proclivities.  I think that is why we love them.  They experience a freedom to be who they are that most of us can’t quite remember.  If we could only figure out a way to help them hold onto that…

-Betsy

SCOTUS: Watching and Waiting

imgresThe Supreme Court of the United States.  That is what is on my mind tonight.  I spent an hour from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. with a rapid heartbeat and sweaty palms as I and millions of other Americans awaited two Supreme Court decisions that could have a huge impact on the lives of LGBTQ folks all across this country.  Waited and waited and waited and…nothing.  They are poised to make rulings about the constitutionality of marriage equality in the state of California and the denying of federal benefits to couples who are legally married in one of the 12 states and the District of Columbia.  (For you legal folks, I know I WAY oversimplified what the rulings are about.  But that is the best I can do.)

I have spent today reflecting on what it means for me to be married and what the possible outcomes could mean for my family.  For the past 9+ years, S and I have navigated marriage well.  There are ups and downs, as with any relationship, but we are strong together.  We negotiate the minutiae of daily living and spend many hours together laughing and enjoying the company of each other and our amazing boy. (Right now, in fact, he is playing his kazoo along to Some Nights by Fun.)

As we think about adding another child to the family, I am constantly reminded of the fact that, regardless of how much my family is like that of my straight friends’, we are unequal.  If we are able to have another child, we will have to spend thousands of dollars to ensure that I have health care power of attorney over the child in case something happens to S in childbirth.  Otherwise, I would have no recourse to make any medical decisions for MY child.  In the state where we live, I will have to sue S for joint custody which is the closest I can come to having a legal relationship to MY child.

I know that many of you know all these things.  That is just what is on my mind tonight.  Watching, waiting, wondering and looking forward to the day when people stop fucking debating about my rights.

-Betsy

PS.  Now M is naked and dancing to Frank Sinatra, Old New York.  There is a little can-can thing going on.  S is dancing with a giant sock monkey.  Really, what is there to debate?

Release

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Tonight, M was sobbing for very little reason.  Full body, endless tears sobbing. We asked him what was wrong and he couldn’t tell us. He just sobbed.

After a few minutes of trying to figure out what was wrong, I realized that sometimes we all just need a good cry.  I told M that we just need to cry sometimes and that we feel better afterwards.

That sort of release is cathartic.  Cleansing.  As a parent, I find myself rushing to try to fix what is wrong.  To make it all better.  Tonight, I have been reminded that I can’t fix everything and that, sometimes, there is nothing that needs to be fixed.  Sometimes, we just need a good cry.

-Betsy

Big Brother

M is going to be a big brother…just not around January 10th like we thought.  This has been a very long few days.  We found out on Wednesday that there was no longer a baby growing in S’s womb, just tissue and sadness.

I chose to not write about our conception process or the fact that S was pregnant.  Blogging sometimes makes me feel wide-open and I just wanted to keep a little for me, for us.

She was 10 weeks when she had to have surgery last Friday for the second time. The first time we lost a pregnancy was devastating.  We were both so emotionally fragile and spent.  This time, we knew exactly what we were getting into.  We know the sweet smell of a tiny person who only has eyes for you.  We know the joy that we each feel when he laughs or gives us hugs or wants us to read him bedtime stories.  So this time, the loss feels more tangible than visceral, if that makes any sense.

It has been fascinating to watch M this last week.  He has been particularly clingy to S, wanting her and not me.  He wants to nurse or snuggle on her more frequently.  He wants to just be touching her.

We haven’t hidden any of this from him.  We worked with a fertility specialist so we had early ultrasound monitoring.  They released us to a midwife’s care and explained that the chances of miscarriage were around 5%.  So we told M.  We talked all about the baby.  He even had a nickname for it.  It was quite painful to explain to him that the baby chose to go live somewhere else.

He has seen both of us crying and we have been honest with him about why we are sad.  The other night, when S was crying, he snuggled up on her shoulder, arms around her neck and said, “It’s ok, Ima.”  Then he put his hand on her face and just held it there.  One of the sweetest moments I have ever witnessed.

His affection for me is not the same.  He wants very little to do with me including not wanting to hug me most days, even if I am upset.  That has been really hard.  I am hoping he will grow into a boy who loves to love on his mama.  We’ll see.

I did waiver about whether or not to write about this.  These last few weeks have been a challenge to find something authentic to write about when I couldn’t write about the most exciting thing.  Today, I am choosing to write because I remember how alone we felt when we lost the first pregnancy.  I am writing because this is just a part of life.  A shitty, heartbreaking part of life.

We have escaped to the beach for a week with some friends.  I am sitting on the 3rd floor balcony listening to the rain and watching the clouds roll over the marsh.  I feel hopeful in this moment.  I feel hopeful that S and I will be able to create the family that we crave.  Hopeful that these losses will just be blips on the radar or our lives.  Hopeful that one day, it will all make sense.

-Betsy

Reflecting on Father’s Day in a Fatherless Household

— First, dear readers, hello again. Sorry I have been gone so long (this is Charlotte).  I continue to be dealing with some challenging health issues which has been forcing me to go to bed early, which usually is my writing time with working full-time and parenting.  I will share when I can.  I like sharing and hearing from you in this space.–

Ok, so where was I?  Yes, Father’s Day.  That was yesterday.  A “holiday” I kept on forgetting about on and off throughout the day.  My omission was not because my dad is not meaningful to me, we’re actually really close, but more because he doesn’t live near me and there isn’t a father in our household with us two mamas at the helm.  Yesterday was also a social day for us.  We saw several friends, all of whom have kids, and some of whom were celebrating their own queer version of Father’s Day.  I appreciated hearing their stories about the day and what it meant for them and their families.

Towards the end of the day I reflected on what Father’s Day might be like for my daughter, as she gets older, with not having a dad to honor.  She has three, sort of even four, grandfathers who perhaps she will laud with cards and affection.  She has uncles (both blood-related and friends who play an especially meaningful role in her life) who maybe will get some fanfare on this day as our way of reclaiming the day and imbuing our own meaning into it.  Maybe that will be enough.  She has my butchy spouse, who as it turns out, is so much of a MAMA she makes me look more like the daddy in the house.  It’s a bit of a circus of curiosity and possibility. 

I have friends who don’t have fathers or who have have/had troublesome relationships with theirs and I know this day can be painful for them.  I’d like to think it won’t be hard for her. That we’ll provide enough love and support and hold up non-heterosexual models of families as just as viable an option that it will just roll off her back as something she doesn’t celebrate with her family (at least not in the traditional sense), but that isn’t a big deal.  I suppose only time will tell.

– Charlotte

Happy Anniversary!

Thanks you so much for following along with us on this journey!  Today is our first anniversary.  In one year, we have had 16,173 hits on the blog.  Just so you get a sense of who is reaching us, I have pasted a list of the countries you live in.  Kind of amazing!  Thanks again for your support and for being a part of our lives.

-Betsy and Charlotte

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