You know how there’s always that one house in the neighborhood where all the kids congregate?
Yeah, so we’re that house. At first it drove me nuts. I’d come home from work to find the kid from across the street with his head shoved into my fridge looking for a snack. Then I had an epiphany (spurred on by the helpful insights of my friend Nancy, a mom herself): I want all these guys at my place because then I know what my own kids are doing and with whom they’re hanging out.
Now, on any given weeknight, there can be half a dozen kids not on my insurance plan hanging out somewhere in my house. And since most of these kids are teenagers, eating their own body weight in food every few hours, they’re frequently in my kitchen.
With some new kid devouring my food seemingly every day, I was curious what they thought of the boys having two dads. And apparently kids hearing their buddy has gay parents fall into two categories: those who are curious what it must be like; and those who think it’s totally the coolest life ever.
Obviously, I totally understand the group that is curious. I mean even with the growing visibility of openly gay people in society, gay parents are still a minority within a minority. I can only imagine what they think it must be like to have two dads. Would we be like the two dads on Modern Family? Was one of us going to be wearing a dress and pearls? Better yet, would we be wearing leather?
When I asked one of Gus’ best friends what he had thought when he first heard about our family dynamic, he admitted that he had actually been really curious about life at our house simply because it was certainly going to be very different from what he experienced in his very traditional LDS family. He said that after he got to know us and spent time around us, he realized it wasn’t really all that different from his own house.
Then there is the group who thinks it’s cool. I’m not sure I understand their logic. Maybe the mom is the disciplinarian in their house and they figure with two dads it’s pretty much a free-for-all. I guess they think having two dads is tantamount to living in a frat house.
I think we probably disappointed both groups.
The novelty of interacting with two dads wears off pretty quickly when these friends realize we’re rather boring, average parents. Sure, maybe there’s sports on the TV more often and maybe we laugh a bit more easily at goofball behavior, but that’s about it.
Having these kids over is a little like one of those student exchange programs, the kind that introduced you and your buddies to the German kid in your math class. You know, the one who wore the weird shoes and never seemed to grasp the punchline of a joke? Well, that kid went back home and told his family and friends what life in America was really like – warts and all. These teenage hordes invading my kitchen every afternoon are basically doing the same thing: going home to their families and sharing what life in a two-dad family is really like – warts and all.
And I think that bodes well for LGBTQ rights in the long run. After all, familiarity breeds acceptance. With each consecutive generation it becomes more difficult for politicians and conservative groups to try to roll back equal rights.
I guess the least I can do is keep the fridge well stocked.