Monthly Archives: August 2013

Guest Bloggers Wanted

So really, I mean it this time.  We sent a call out for guest bloggers a few months ago and were disappointed that no one responded.  Turns out, people did respond!  The problem was that I didn’t set up the forward on our email account correctly, so we only saw the messages from people who were interested a couple of weeks ago…MONTHS after they were sent.  OOPS!

Now, problem solved and we are ready for you.  We are looking for queer-identified, non-gestational (meaning the child didn’t come from your belly) parents who might have a unique perspective on this crazy journey.  Is your child a different race from you?  Did you adopt?  Did your child sleep through the night from day one?  We want to hear from you.

If you are interested, please send an email ( outlining what you would like to write about, a little about you, and a sample of your writing.  The sample can be brief.  You don’t have to be a novelist.  We just want to get a sense of how your writing might fit with TBBW.

Hope to hear from you soon!



Talking to Toddlers about Death

two women smiling, one holding sign "Welcom Rock N Roller Betsy Archer"

Me and Nance in 2008 when I ran the Rock N Roll Marathon in San Diego.

My mom’s best friend of fifty years died Saturday morning. She was an amazing woman; generous beyond generous, kind, hilarious, completely loving, fiercely loyal, tough, and so much more. She died after a long fight with an auto-immune disorder that left her lungs battered and bruised and so, so tired.

I have felt so sad since I got the news of her death. Lots of tears. S and I made the decision to be upfront with M, so often, tears are in front of him. He is a sweet and sensitive boy. Usually when we cry (especially S), he wants to hug us and be close and tell us that everything is going to be ok. When he saw how upset I was and asked me why, I told him.

We have been trying to explain what ‘dead’ means without overloading him. I tell him that it means that someone’s or something’s body quit working. I can see his brain trying to process what that actually means.

At the local nature center today, M noticed the taxidermy owl and squirrels on the huge fake tree in the lobby. He asked if they were real. I explained that they are real, but their bodies don’t work anymore. I could tell he was processing, but not quite there, which is ok because he is still a baby.

In the next few days, we will head to San Diego to remember Nancy. M will come with me and will see his grandparents and everyone who loved her grieving. But he will also see us all laughing because that is what Nancy would have wanted. I hope that M will internalize that just because someone’s body quits working, it doesn’t mean they leave us. I hope he feels that Nancy is still all around.


On Turning 36

tattoo of spiral of potential energyOne week ago today, I turned 36.  I used to LOVE my birthday.  It was the one day I didn’t have to do the dishes or take out the trash and I got to eat all my favorite foods.  As of last week, however, birthdays are losing their luster.

Now, birthdays are about the quick passage of time.  This is something I have always struggled with, especially since becoming a parent.  There is magic in the day-to-day.  Amazing growth and learning happens constantly.  Yet, when I look back over the last 2.75 years, I can only remember snippets.  I have to look back at this blog or look in the journal I keep for my boy to remember more.

I want to remember it all, to soak in the sweetness of this little person (especially before adolescence makes an appearance).  Tonight, we were in a car with three college students.  M had picked out some silly bands to give to them and spent the better part of our twenty-minute car ride doling them out.  He made sure everyone had several in different colors and shapes.  When we dropped them off at their dorms and the car was empty except for us, he said with big eyes, “Where did they go?  I have more presents for they.”

Besides being so cute I could eat him, I learn from these moments and from my son.  I learn about selfless giving.  I learn about finding joy around every corner.  I learn about connection and communion.  I learn about myself and who I want to be through him.

Now that my birthday has passed and I have spent a few days settling into this downhill slide to 40, I am trying to be wide open to all of the possibilities.  I have a tattoo on my left forearm that is a reminder of this.  It is called the spiral of potential energy.  To me, it is a reminder that within each moment lies an opportunity for transformation if I am just open to it.  Tonight, I am open.


Post on It’s Conceiveable

Thanks for reading:



“Mama. Take This. It’s a boogie.”

Be Here Now on SidewalkThe road to parenthood is often long.  No matter who you are or who you are married to (or whether or not you are married/partnered with anyone), getting pregnant is not a guarantee.

We live on a college campus.  The other day, a student who is probably 21 or 22, walked by with her big pregnant belly.  I took a deep breath as she passed, trying to stuff the envy deeper down.  But I am envious.  I hate it, but I am.

I have always had visions of Thanksgivings when I am 60.  Our myriad of children and their significant others around the table.  When I was 25, it seemed like a fact; there was no question.  But life just isn’t that easy sometimes. Miscarriage happens. Negative pregnancy tests happen…and happen and happen.  Adoptions fall through.  Shit happens.

I try really hard not to get stuck in that place of being too aware of these challenges.  I try to focus on our one amazing boy and remind myself that he is enough, regardless.  It isn’t always easy, but inevitably, my boy does something that brings me back around.  When he says to me, “Mama.  Take this.  It’s a boogie,”  I do so without hesitation, because he really is the love of my life (other than S, of course) and he makes everything better.  So, with or without another positive pregnancy test, I will take his boogie willingly because sometimes, that is enough.


Grand Theft Avocado


It was bound to happen.  Anyone who takes a small child into a store knows the risk involved. We talk about paying for things and what honesty means, but deep down, I kind of knew my 2.5 year old just wasn’t there yet.

I remember the first time I stole something.  I must have been about four.  My mother and I were in some sort of fabric store and there was this really awesome patch that I had to have for my tiny jeans.  I don’t remember asking for it and I don’t remember taking it.  I do remember my mother marching me back in the store to return the contraband and to make sure the ladies behind the counter knew she was taking care of the situation.

When I saw the avocado my son had stealthily removed from the checker’s shelf, I had immediate flashbacks to my own brush with the law.  I pictured blue lights surrounding our Honda Fit in the parking lot, “Put down the avocado and no one gets hurt!”  I imagined my son’s face as they cuffed him and put him in the back of the paddy wagon with the other wayward toddlers.

To save him from what would obviously be a very slippery slope towards a life of crime, I simply went back in and paid for the avocado.  We talked about what it means to steal and I told him I was sad he had done that.  He seemed to be processing as he looked up at the ever-cloudy sky, the pensive look of a man who knows what he has done.  He turned to me as I awaited the lightbulb moment, “Mama?  Can I have gum now?”

And that, my friends, is what I continue to learn every day about having a toddler.


Titles Speaking Volumes

Hello dear readers, it has been so long.  Betsy, my tireless, phenomenal literary co-pilot has been holding the blog torch for all these weeks.  I have been dealing with some personal things and I am going to try to slowly start re-posting about my journey as a queer, non-gestational parent.

So much and also so little has gone on in these past six weeks.  During that time, I found myself thinking up blog post topics in title form, almost the way my brain sometimes (frighteningly; embarassingly) thinks in Facebook status update mode, summing up my daily or moment-by-moment  experience as a human to a series of one-liners:  “Why is it so hard to hang a picture by yourself?” or “The house is in shambles and all I want to do is go to bed. Anyone?”

Some of the past six weeks’ potential blog post titles? Here’s a few that I remember chewing on:

“Forgive me for I knew not the trials and tribulations of raising a 3-year old.  An apology to all those I judged before becoming a parent (and other confessions).”

Or, “Small, but profound, moments of love returned: My 3-year old tells me she ‘loves me too’ while wrapped around my legs, pretending to be my ‘baby bat’ under a blanket wrapped around my body (I’m Mummy Bat of course).”

Or, “Like a fool I learn yet again: one-on-one connection helps my daughter trust me and lessens me being rejected by her.”

You see, there are countless things I could have written about and maybe in just sharing glimpses of them you get a sense of my experience as a parent and even nod in recognition.  Each day is somehow more of the same and also brand new. Each rounding of the corner of parenthood following this pattern.  Parenting is one of the most humbling things I have ever done.  Often I feel like I’m no good at it, that I’m impatient, maybe even slightly bored.  But there are also these moments of the purest joy, love and beauty that are unlike anything I have experienced since, well, childhood. But isn’t life like that?  A mixture of the mundane and the awesome?

– Charlotte