Tag Archives: dad

Two Mamas

images-4Yesterday at the playground I could tell M was working something out.  He would look at the family next to us, three kids and their dad, then smile a little.  I didn’t think much of it.  He was more than content on the tire swing, so we just kept swinging.  After a few minutes went by, he looked at me, smiled and said, “Their daddy is pushing them.  That’s funny.”
“Why is that funny?”
“Just funny.  M doesn’t have a daddy.  M has two mamas.  A Mama and an Ima,” as he threw back his head and laughed a big open mouth laugh as he continued to spin around while he flew back and forth.

The other day, my mom told me that a friend of hers asked what we are going to tell M about not having a father.  She apparently said it like “that poor thing”.  We have always been honest with M about having two moms and not having a dad.  Of course we will explain what a donor is one day, but M is being raised to know that there are all kinds of families.  His Ima has one dad and no mom.  I have a mom and a dad.  He has friends with one mom, a mom and a dad, two moms, two dads.  We surround ourselves with loving people from a variety of contexts.  So, to my mother’s friend, we tell him he has two moms who love him more than anything.  Seems to me, he’s gotten the message.

-Betsy

Awkward

Remember how the other day I said that no one has ever asked me about physical attributes of M’s “dad”?  Two days ago some one did.

M and I went on a tour of a pre-school (YIKES!). The room was tiny, like a walk-in freezer with windows and small people milling about and toys all over the floor.  After about fifteen minutes of awkward play, M was ready to go.  On the way out the door, one of the teachers asked how old he is.

“He turned two in December,” I told her.

“He’s really tall.  Is his dad tall?”

“He doesn’t have a dad,” I replied.

Before I could explain,

“Oh. How tall are you?”  She didn’t stop to breathe.

“I didn’t give birth to him.  His other mother gave birth to him and she is also 5’6.”

“Oh.  He’s tall,” she said like a closing paragraph summing up the thesis.

The topic of conversation did not feel awkward, but this woman sure was!  I think she must be used to talking to adults in really short spurts throughout the day, never being able to have an entire conversation at one time.  Her speech was rushed, quick like a bunny.  Before I could even formulate a thought in response, she was wiping a nose with one hand and holding a book she was reading aloud in the other while I was breathing deep for her.

-Betsy

It Finally Happened

I have been waiting for it to happen.  Thought a lot about what I would say and how I might react.  Maybe I have even rehearsed a little in the shower when no one else was listening.  Today, someone made a comment about M’s ‘mom and dad’ in front of him.

The funny thing was, the person who made the comment (though her memory is faulty) has met me at least five times over the last months and knew me by name and face about 15 years ago.  While she might not remember all things about me, she should remember my very queerness.  She works in a local bookstore that I frequent (where I am also known for winning a contest there not too long ago).  Small, independent bookstore with a cafe.  Got it?

So, I am there with M.  She walks over and I say, “Hi, Veronica*.”  She smiles at me and says hello to M, not even a glimmer of recognition.

“You are so cute!  What is your name?”
“M,” he replies.
“That is such a nice name,” she follows-up.  “Your mom and dad named you well!”

Without missing a beat, I say with a smile, “He doesn’t have a dad.”

“Oh.  I mean your mom, then.”
“He has two moms.”
“Oh.  I guess I should start saying ‘parents’.”

And that was the end of it.  We have trained M to know that he has “two mamas” and that he does not have a dad.  I look forward to him being a little older and being able to quickly verbalize this reality.  I think it will be fun to watch people’s reactions.  Is that so wrong?

I am pretty sure that this won’t be the last time someone makes a comment about his ‘dad’.  I often wait for it when people remark about how tall he is or his beautiful blue-gray eyes.  “Does he get that from his father?” I expect, though it has never happened.

When I think about what I want to give my son, I think about resiliency.  I want to raise a resilient child who is able to deal with a multitude of situations and people.  I guess this is just the beginning.

-Betsy

Papa

My son called his friend’s father ‘Papa’ and I freaked out.  You see, my boy loves other boys and men and is obsessed with facial hair and ‘boy parts’.  I don’t have facial hair or boy parts.  My boy called a man ‘Papa’ and I was suddenly picturing being rejected by my son in 11 years, when he is 13 and wanting to do boy things with other males.  Will he still love me, the mother who did not give birth to him but who is also not a boy?

When M was first starting to explore the world around him, he took a shine to remote controls.  We used to joke that he was a stereotypical male: remote controls, facial hair and breast milk were his favorites.  But now, that isn’t so funny because sometimes I worry that my femaleness will not be enough for him.   I am an athlete and hope that will give me some credit, but I have never mastered peeing standing up (plus his friends will tease him mercilessly if he has two mothers, one of whom pees standing up) and I don’t even own a T.V.  Yes, I know I am being overly dramatic and stereotyping, but these are the things I worry about.

When M called his friend’s dad ‘Papa’, I corrected him, “You call him Will.”*  Internally, I was screaming, “ YOU DON’T HAVE A DAD!” and “I AM SORRY I CAN’T BE THAT FOR YOU!” when all M was doing was repeating what his friend had said.  The reality of life is we can never be all things to all people.  That would be exhausting.  As a parent, I need to remember that, even if I had a penis, I couldn’t be everything to my son.  He will need other people to fill special places in his heart and in his life.  He will sometimes need other people more than he needs us, but he will always need us.  We are each other’s home.  I will try to keep remembering that when he is four and makes a fort for boys only or when he wants to go camping with his friends and their dads.  Home, female parts and all.

-Betsy

*Names have been to changed to protect the innocent.