Thursday, February 23, 2006

Duct Tape - Advice to a parent-to-be in New Hampshire

I found as a lesbian in this world that I was forever trying to duct tape myself
to my partner
to keep some semblance of legal stability
in this republican, back-woods, repressed legal world
One strip – health care proxy
One strip – will
One strip – intentions
One strip – home ownership, bank accounts, car...

Out of fear we started purchasing the tape –
What if one of us is ill and the law will not recognize her words, her thoughts or actions on my behalf
When my partner birthed our daughter Torin, we were living in NJ
If I were a man, even an unmarried man
And she birthed my child
My name would be written with power on that birth certificate,
almost by demand

Torin’s was half empty

I had no legal rights to this child
Sure we picked the sperm together, paid for it
I got to push the tube and let the little swimmers start their journey
We cried together when the little purple line became two
I held her for 9 months of puking, sciatica, sleepiness, grumpiness, nesting and worry
I drove to the hospital and walked with her through the contractions
Doing everything I could do to make her happy
Almost fainted once – but held it together
And held our daughter when she arrived –
She peed on me right away and I knew it was love
Love – but not law

Mama-to-be from New Hampshire wrote for advice
What can I tell you, sister? It’s so hard.
Her partner is about to deliver, she cannot be on the birth certificate
The have love, they chose this together. how many straight families, or single women
find themselves pregnant without planning or choosing – and not wanting?
Just know that gay and lesbian people NEVER have a child by accident.

No lawyer will take her case
Gay activist organizations are passing her around
The most beautiful moment of her life – her son’s birth
She feels it is marred
She is angry
She feels alone in this fight

I will tell you first to breathe – nothing can spoil the beauty of this moment
Nor diminish the bravery and love that brought you to his birth
Then look at history
Slavery, apartheid, suffrage, the holocaust – they are very close in time
And then I will also just tell you to be angry – you have every right to be

So how do you fix this?
Sometimes activism just sucks.
Sometimes you don’t ask to be an activist
The reality is that your presence in this fight changes the world.
By the definition of your family – you are not silent
If you can handle more – call those lawyers
If you need a referral, I have a great one for you
Change does happen
Change will occur
By living this life, you show your son how proud of this family you are
Was it yesterday that interracial marriage was illegal,
gay bars raided,
“domestic partner” unheard of?

Today – be in bliss with your family
Tomorrow, rage against the powers that be
Unfortunately, fortunately
You are not alone
We are all feeling this and are here for you

You are already buying your duct tape
I can hear the pieces being ripped off
holding you all together
keep you as safe and as bound as you can be in such times

I’m sorry I can’t do more
But if the law in Massachusetts makes you feel safer and feels right to you
Do it!
It's better than tape
and lasts infinitely longer!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dreaming of Summer...

Two days ago it was 6o degrees in Boston.
today it was 31.
now I am lost dreaming and pining for summer.

At our house
as soon as the temperature begins to rise
the anticipation begins - even in fickle Boston where you never know, even when summer arrives - if winter is truly gone for good.

I have never been a fancy vacationer
no four-star hotels, no room-service, rarely reservations are made...

When we met 13 years ago we spent 6 weeks driving cross-country in August, camping out in all of the national parks and anywhere else we could find. Romance at it's best! Occasional B&B's over the years. With kids we have stayed at small hotels and beached the sunlight hours away or camped in the mountains of New Hampshire.

Even our annual Family-Week in P-town each year has been pretty low-key. Small place and lots of sun. Cooking our own meals and being together. Tons of ice cream and drag-shows and friends. Annual tattoos for the moms and henna ones for the kiddos. Torin always demands a Winnie the Pooh one! Zion a unicorn or Celtic design. "No needles ones for us, mama! "

I never knew something was lacking on these trips
It was not the being spoiled
It was not the room-service
It was not the chocolate on the pillow
or the sheets being turned down
It was not the location
and clearly not the company

Three years ago we ventured onto the R Family Vacations cruise. Kelli and Rosie O'Donnell's vacation company - really not something in our nature - but it just called out to us,
pulling us in.

What attracted me so much to this -
enough to pull me out of my Taurean sameness - ok stubborness - track,
was the mission
Kelli and Gregg - the founders - wanted this cruise to be....
for gay families and all those who love and support them.
Not a cruise for lesbian moms, or a single dads' event, or even a floating political rally - as many gay events can become.
and definitely not a cruisy cruise (if you know what I mean)
nothing separatist here.
A vacation full of love and fun for all who love "our families"
what a relief!

Words could never be enough...
1200 rooms
straight grandparents, multiracial families, so many daddies and their adopted, surrogated, birthed and fostered children. Siblings embracing. Straight and gay teenagers. Friends and family. Together. Straight women who came because they knew they would be accepted. Performers from all walks of life - gay, straight, white, black, funny, serious, even a professional football-playing opera singer!

It was like meeting the family you always wish you had, you know? and all of these people became our family.
and everywhere we looked were tears - mostly from the relief of finally finding such a place!

For us we also found home. A floating world without bias. Zion could wear a kilt if he wished, sing karaoke, watch Broadway singers and dream his dreams. We could dance all night long without care, spend our time with hundreds of families who worked as hard as we did just to create their families - never taking their little ones for ganted - ever, and as the days went by the power seemed to grow and grow and grow until it filled us all completely.

And the defensiveness, protectiveness, and worries of difference that we all carry on our shoulders every day - consciously or not - just began to break off and float away.

I truly think we all left that ship carrying a bit less tolerance for those who "tolerate us" in the world. We all left with a bit more adamance at what the world should be for ourselves and our children.

They succeeded in creating a world where all people, straight, gay, married, old, single, young, in transition, exploring, adopted, birthed, tattooed, straight-laced, suburban, rural, city, jewish, pagan, christian, and atheist - all lived, danced in silly costumes, sang at the top of our lungs in pseudo-harmony, loved, and ate way too much food - together!

They proved it can be done! I notice now we all seem to demand it a bit more of our "land-based" world.

32 degrees projected for tomorrow
four months to go
four months
can't wait

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Your Day - Advice to a Worried Texan

This situation kills me first – then just pisses me off!

“Wanting Understanding” wrote to us from Texas.
They are ready to get married but her father not only refuses to walk her down the aisle – but even to attend. “How do I get him to realize how important this is to us?” she writes.

When people discuss wanting a child, I often tell them this:
This child of someday
Is a person
And before you dream your dream
Before you buy the crib or booties or toys or mini-Harley
Remember this
Someday this little person
may choose another path than yours
another religion, or educational path or career
maybe they will marry someone of a different race, or choose to not have a children
maybe they will be single forever, or gay or a T or unsure for their lives
maybe even a republican or, dare I say, an NRA card-holder
or maybe they will choose to be nothing, offer nothing and drift though life
but your job as their parent
is to love them
and to love them fiercely
to assist in guiding their choices and support the ones they make – forever, and without strings
I am sure one of mine will be "Alex P. Keaton” for a time – Zion already would prefer ties to jeans, and Torin, no matter how hard I refuse to make the purchase, just wants to be a princess and have a Barbie
But, luckily, Zion does, too!
As long as neither gets Barbie's anorexia or horrid self-image or dainty un-sports-able ankles
I’ll be fine

Your wedding day
the happiest day of your life
is yours forever
Having someone there who truly does not bless it in his heart
may just really taint your day
your day
your day
say it
“My Day”
This is your dream, your life
your love to share
And all those who witness are blessed to do so
and all those who miss out
have missed witnessing a blessing and a miracle
and that is punishment enough

I urge you to be open and love fiercely
To shout out to the world through all of your guests that you accept no less than this perfect love and in fact
You demand the world take note
Your day is real
Your day
is yours
Being invited was a true gift on your part to someone
who has failed in his job
Maybe someday he will come around
many do
and maybe it will be awesome on that day
But this day is yours

Jessie and I wore no shoes
Eleven months after we met we were married
before the law recognized
A Pagan, Unitarian, Native-American ceremony
That was what we wanted
on our day
Many came and blessed us
some did not
Many blessed later – much later
some have not
But our day was truly unmarred
because we made it
Our day

Blessings for your day!

Friday, February 17, 2006


as my wife was saying goodbye and heading out to work
during a very loving, sensual - bordering on getting very interesting
kiss goodbye
right as my world began to melt away
into her
our son ran up to us
smashing into us with a hearty, fond morning hug
wanting to also give love
"I've been PBS'ed," I say to her
good feeling gone
sweet boy - bad timing
ahh parenting

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Zion for President – Have Faith

The New Jersey Supreme Court met today to decide the fate of our friends’ marital status. Now the true wait begins, after years and years of courts and lawyers – this is their moment. How do you wait for something like that? Wait to see if you are legally whole? Counted, validated, seen by this country’s laws. Our friends are solid people – nothing will break them, but surely this process has to cost you some sanity? Just the bare essence of the question – will we be treated the same? It’s insane just to utter the words, really.

Feels like the adoption process to me. I remember that knot-in-the-stomach rollercoaster ride. Like somehow this blessing that so easily comes to others is put entirely in the hands of strangers. Strangers who can decide or not decide to make you a family, and judge you on their terms.

We got an email yesterday asking for advice – from someone like us many years ago. Terrified of the adoption process. How will we be judged? How can we wait? Which road to choose? She asked us about our path with trans-racial adoption and openness.

After two years of fertility drugs
Needles in my ass
Singing Suzanne Vega to focus as the oil based drugs slowly stung their way in
My brilliant soulmate and (then not legal) wife said
We always knew we wanted a birth baby and an adopted baby – one option went first
And failed.
Stuck in the crazy Clomid cycle, I could not get out and she rescued me.
Why risk your body and our sanity when so many little ones right here need a home?
That was it. We just let it all go and moved forward.
We found a queer-friendly agency, signed up and were told to wait.
Nine months they said – kinda funny.
Like the New Jersey plaintiffs wait – on eggshells - not knowing - questioning wardrobe and language and history
Four months later the phone rang – “a woman is in labor who picked you – get on a plane right now”
Eleven hours later – we had a son.
A miracle
Smushy crying and amazing.
But what of the fear?
I feared the birth family
I feared the state laws
I feared judgments of multi-racial critics
I feared homophobia
I feared losing him
I feared everything
And then we walked into that hospital room
Two little short white girls in the south of this country
In the bayou
And I met my hero
and she took all of my fear away
My son’s birth-mom – was thanking me – was loving us – was teaching us mothering tips and traditions
When she was giving the most important thing in her life to me, to make me a family
She was thanking us
And my fear was gone
We all needed each other
We all became kindred sisters on that day
She asked if I would ever bring him to see her
would he know her?
And the truth was so easy – whatever he wants is what we will do
And peace settled in for all three of us women
Sometimes you have to have faith in the stranger
The ones with the power
The ones who we fear most
The ones who are different
Most often will do the right things

My son’s birth family is African-American Southern Baptist
Knowing we were lesbians they chose us
How is this possible, you ask?
So did we
Her answer floored me
Our religion told us not to judge
We prayed and found you were good people

That was all they needed
Sometimes you just have to have faith

Zion was in the backseat of the car today reading a kids’ book about the Constitution – He told me that at his old school all of the kids wrote and signed a school constitution.
Did everyone abide by it?
“Not really – almost never,” he said.
Sometimes it’s the same with grown-ups buddy, I told him. I hope you change the world. I look at him with his chipped pink nail polish, snowy boots and mussed hair grinning ear to ear.
“I am going to be the first black president. And I will never sit in the back of the bus, I will vote for Kerry and I will not be narrow-minded! And mama, I will change the world!

While we all wait for the court to decide, let’s have faith too. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Evolved Moms Blog Begins!

So our Blog begins - on the first full day of the Olympics, how very lesbian, I think! Our aim is to create a space for lesbian and gay fellow parents, fellow want-to-be parents, fellow like-minded folks, to be, to comment, to share, to seek advice when lost, and definitely to laugh.

I am sitting on the couch with Zion - my oldest - five "and-three-quarters" he lets me know. Time flies. We are watching the women's USA Ice Hockey team take the ice. Brutal chick strength. Lesbian parenting at its best. Watching this power team crash and speed around, it amazes me that there are no professional women baseball players. How can that be? How long have women even been "allowed" to play ice hockey in the Olympics? When will the first pair of ice-dancing men take the ice?

We just scored again! Zion is screaming "Go USA!" Do you think many heterosexual dads watch women's ice hockey with their sons? I dunno.

This week the highest court in New Jersey is deciding if our good friends - and several other gay and lesbian couples - have the "right to marry". I sit here in Massachusetts, married and watching ice hockey as our friends Marcye and Karen wait - nail-biting, hearts pounding, holding their two children - exactly the same age as mine - to see if they can have the same rights as I do as a lesbian in Massachusetts - as all other heterosexuals in the entire country do. And some panel of judges just gets to decide if our love is equal and valid.

How do I explain this to Z? How do I give him faith in a world when I flinch every time the news tickers by: Iraq, kidnapped, bomb, another troop lost, levees unmended. Separate but unequal still reigns in our world.

I urge you not to fall silent.

USA women won six to nothing! Women playing ice hockey at the Olympics...

Then again...look how far we have come. All in time... Posted by Picasa