Who's Your Daddy

Silver linings

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A few weeks ago I received an idea for the column from a PR person in Los Angeles. She wanted me to write about DressForTheDate.com, a website that helps people decide what to wear on a first date. Honestly, I don’t remember what Kelly or I wore on our first date all those years ago, but it must have been cute. On July 31, we celebrate our 25th anniversary.

We’ve seen a lot since that hot summer day when we jumped over a broom. The Berlin Wall came crashing down. An African American was elected president. Gay people started marrying legally as more and more states started embracing marriage equality. And the Internet, a little known means for researchers to share raw data, was rescued from obscurity through porn.

Closer to home we’ve been through a lot together. There’s been five major moves, several job changes, deaths of family members and friends. Oh yeah, and the little hooligans joining the mix. They certainly turned a good thing on its head!

We like to joke that unlike other couples, we don’t stay together for the children, we stay together in spite of them.

Actually, the boys help put their parents’ relationship with one another in crystal-clear perspective. Whether it’s guiding our two rambunctious little dudes to hopefully become upstanding  men, or trying to figure out what  to make for dinner, we’re in this together.

Are we in it together forever? I can’t peer into the future, so I can’t say. I hope so. But stranger things have happened. I am, after all, the only one of my parents’ kids still married to a “first spouse.” It’s ironic for these six people whose parents recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary.

I know there are plenty of people who don’t understand what I see in Kelly, nor what he sees in me. I’m outgoing to his reserved, opinionated to his neutral, talkative to his silence, moody to his calm, diplomatic to his straightforward.  I suppose it’s good for the boys to be raised by such different people. Maybe as adults they’ll embody only our good traits while abandoning our less desirable qualities.

That’s a nice thought, but the truth is that Gus’s personality is very much like Kelly’s, while Niko is mini-me. Well, except that Gus is outgoing and Niko can be terribly shy.

So, I guess I love Kelly because he lets me be me. But I also love him because he sees in me attributes I never dreamed I could have.

He’s the one after all who made me a father. He was the one who could see past my sometimes volcanic and self-centered personality, recognizing all I had to offer to a child. It was he who made me believe I’d be a good dad. He’s the one who constantly tells me I am a good dad – even when I’m not.

Now that I think about it, he and I have always been able to see  something in each other – something in us as individuals and together as a couple. After all, as two gay men starting out in 1988, the deck was pretty much stacked against us.  Remember, back then neither society nor the law was on our side.

On more than one occasion it would have been easier to shake hands and go our separate ways. But we didn’t. We continued to see something that made us want to persevere. We kept seeing the silver lining in our relationship and in each other.

Having the boys in our lives has simply made that silver lining a lot shinier.

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