I need to admit that lately the boys and I haven’t been getting along very well. Niko and I are so similar that we butt heads regularly. And Gus is on the brink of being a teenager, making me totally understand why boarding schools exist. But do you know what? My kids are amazing. Let me tell you, they’re the fabulous in my life.
So rather than dwell on why they drive me crazy, I’ve decided to celebrate why they’re fabulous.
Gus reminds me so much of my dad that it’s crazy. Somehow he even likes like his grandfather. He’s never met a stranger and makes friends easier than anyone I’ve ever known. He has absolutely no tolerance for racism or bigotry, and will call you out on it – even if “black Labradors” are what they’re called. He took his undefeated hockey season with grace and humility … and appropriate bravado. He likes scary shows, and the humor of Seth MacFarlane.
Niko makes me laugh like no one else in the world. He has a fashion style entirely his own. Who says electric purple shorts and a blood red button-up shirt with an embroidered dragon don’t work together? Certainly the one green and one yellow sock pull it all together! I love that he digs jewelry – and doesn’t give a shit that his big brother says boys don’t wear pearls.
He asked to go an opera for his birthday, and suggested we both wear bow ties. He conducted himself with maturity beyond his years. And I love the fact that he got in trouble at school last year for flipping off a kid, who wouldn’t accept his apology after Niko accidentally crashed into him.
I love the fact that Gus and I can have an entire conversation with just a glance at each other.
I love the fact that Niko squeezes me too tightly when he says goodnight.
The boys are so fabulous they even make me a better gay man. Not that I was ever a bad one! They force me to come out all of the time to people, who wouldn’t otherwise need to know. Emails to teachers or calls to coaches don’t come from Gus’s or Niko’s dad, they come from “one of their dads.” Hockey games, soccer practices, Scouts, parent-teacher conferences and the myriad of other kid-required activities make us have to be out. And I think that’s a good thing in general, but it’s imperative for the boys. They have to explain about their family situation enough without us shirking our responsibilities.
Granted, there have been a few awkward times, like the time a first grade teacher quizzed me about our living situation and then felt it appropriate to tell me how difficult a divorcing lesbian couple had been the previous year.
I’m not a perfect dad. In fact, I think I’m doing a pretty terrible job most days. But then again, the boys are turning out to be great guys. They’re well mannered, respectful and fun to be around. Other people tell me all the time what great kids they are, and how we’re doing a wonderful job raising them. Some days I let myself believe that. Other days I think we’re frauds. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
I suppose that doubt, that questioning I struggle with every day is an expected part of parenthood. I also suspect that those feelings are intensified because I’m a gay dad. Whether justified or not, gay and lesbian parents still have to prove themselves. And so far, we’re raising a couple of amazing boys. And that’s fabulous.