Friday, March 5, 2010

"Mommy...Where Did I Come From?"

It isn't a news flash that my family didn't end up looking the way I thought it would when I dreamt of having kids. I had peacefully come to terms with the Two Mom household and was even proud to be able to call myself someone who could fit within those limits.

It seems I am having a bit of trouble defining my situation now that I am no longer part of a "two mom household." You might remember when I did a short post with bullet points talking about all the things I wished I had the time to post about. I still don't have the time (it is almost 11:00 at night and I should definitely be in bed) but I am also sick of having a blog where all I post is cute little tid-bits about my kids with the occasional picture. It isn't an accurate picture of my life.

Truth is I struggle on a daily basis on how life is defined for me now. Am I single mother? Yes. Am I a single mother by choice? Well yes. For my second child. For the first one I had no desire whatsoever to be single and have a baby. Am I a lesbian? Absolutely. Lesbian mom? No doubt. Two Moms raising a child? Well we have two moms but... But when you see me? None of those things necessarily come through. I know that I most definitely do NOT fit into the category that I dreamed of for years and years when I was trying to get pregnant with my son. I wanted the perfect picture. Don't we all? I wanted a two mom household with a house the we owned and a yard and the two kids and the love... Well I wanted the love in my household to ooze out of its very pores. And I wanted my kids to know that. I wanted them to feel that. From the day they came home from the hospital until the day they went away to college. And while I have no doubt at all that my children feel an immense amount of love on a daily basis, this isn't what I meant.

I never thought I would have to have a conversation with my children about how their Mommy isn't like the other Mommy's they hear about in school. Mommy doesn't like "Daddy's" like the other ones. Mommy wants another woman. I never thought I would have to "come out" to my kids. I figured it would be part of who they were. It would be all they ever knew. But it isn't. And they don't. Recently I watched "A Family Is A Family Is A Family" on HBO. It is a documentary about all the different types of families there are out there. I sat and watched those children being interviewed and those children absolutely knew where they were from. They knew that they had two Mommies or two Daddies. They knew they were adopted. And they knew it meant absolutely nothing in terms of how much they were loved. I was so in awe of those children. They were so...proud of who they were and where they came from. It was the way I had dreamt that my son would be. And if I'm honest, he isn't. If you asked my son to define his family I can guarantee that he would not tell you he is part of a two mom household.

He knows he has a Mommy and he has a Mom. He also knows he has a Gigi (who is more like a Mom to him than even I am sometimes) and he knows he is surrounded by all sorts of people who love him to death. But he doesn't know how he came into this world. He doesn't know that his mother and I once loved each other dearly and worked for years to bring him into our lives. Sure, he sees his birth video where we are both present and he knows the logistics of the day he was born. And maybe that's all his little 4 year old brain can handle, I don't know. But the reason he doesn't know about his definitions is because, quite simply, I haven't told him.

That's right, I haven't told him.

I am still so eaten up by guilt and by shame that I have ended up in this situation; a product of divorce, that I don't even talk to my child about his origins. And I am so angry about my own situation that I don't know how to tell him the simple truth without adding on "but she LEFT US when you were six months old. She WALKED out on us and on my dreams for a whole family." And I know enough to know that it isn't fair that he hear any of that. Like I said, I am a product of divorce and I know better than anyone how shitty it can feel when your two parents talk badly about the other one and for that reason my son has, quite literally, NEVER heard me say an unkind thing about his mother. And he never will.

There is also the societal picture that goes along with this. I live in California and while we are definitely one of the more "gay friendly" places to live, there is still a small stigma attached with having kids. Want to be gay? No problem. But want to bring kids into that household? Well...more people seem to have issues with that. So for me, I am cool with looking into anyone's eyes and telling them that yes, I am gay and that yes we will be having children. But for some reason, admitting that my gay relationship with children didn't work out, well it just feels like all those naysayers out there are chanting, "See? See? We told you you shouldn't be allowed to have kids..." So I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed to admit both parts of the story. Embarrassed to admit that I am gay? Not at all. Embarrassed to admit that my marriage didn't work out? Not at all. But put both of those things together and somehow my shame level goes up about a thousand notches. And how does this affect my kids? Well sometimes it means that my shame translated to conversations that never take place between my children and myself. And that leads to my son not having a clear picture of who he is and where he came from. And guess what? More guilt.

And what my son does need to hear me say is that he came from a place of love. And that he does have two moms and that he should absolutely be proud of that. Because we both love him dearly. And even though we aren't together now, we once were and he was a product of when we "once were." And even though I am still angry and hurt and betrayed, he was the best thing that has ever happened in my life. And his sister follows in that vain. And that the three of us are the best family anyone could ever hope for.

And I guess I just hope that the definitions don't make the family. And I guess I hope that my son knows the love even though I haven't taught him the origins. And I guess it is also my hope that I can get to a place where I can leave my own guilt and anger in the background and have many a conversation with a child who SO deserves to know where he comes from.


K said...

So... You know how sometimes you learn something you totally didn't know you didn't know? I never thought about how much more deliberate one would have to be in teaching their children they have same sex parents (and all that goes with that) when the kids don't see it in action every day. It really is a different undertaking, and I can understand having some unease about it when it's not how you originally planned to do things.

Anyone who reads this blog and sees pics of your family can tell there is no shortage of joy or love in your kids'
lives, and I know they feel that. Having that in place surely buys you some time to figure out the rest.

Calliope said...

wow. what a powerful post. Every family is different and maybe the more times we remind our children of this the more they will realize that different IS normal.