This Moment – June

My calendar tells me that today is Fathers Day, so in the kind of translation that becomes second nature to queer families of any/every stripe, it’s Mama’s Day at my house. Although I’m getting extra love and attention all weekend, our official celebration was last night. The four of us struck out on our bikes (bike trailer for the boys) and made our leisurely turtle-spotting, fish-watching, bunny-finding way to our favorite family restaurant. Much guacamole and green salsa and black beans were consumed before our ice cream nightcap. We rode home with smiles and full bellies. The boys even managed to handle the close confines of the bike trailer peacefully, which may have been the very best part.

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When they see the camera they either make goofy faces or look the other direction. I prefer the latter.

Although it’s been more than a month now, I have yet to fully grasp that somehow….. this happened.

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Our baby is two. He’s forward-facing and sentence making and clearing his own place at the table. It’s lovely and crushing all at once.

Last Friday night was a first that my wife and I have been anticipating since before we were even pregnant. We had our first family movie night!!! A movie and popcorn on the couch night. After a startling (or maybe not) amount of consideration on our part, we finally decided to go out with Toy Story. It seemed like such a sweet movie. During the 91 minutes that I spent holding a trembling (I do not exaggerate) Yogi and assuring him that Woody would find his way back to Andy, I learned that suspense is an acquired taste. I also learned that Monkey will cut you for some popcorn and that Yogi believes that he would rather watch Charlie Brown and have chocolate-covered strawberries for snack next time. We’re learning as we go around here, that’s for sure.

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This picture was taken before the heart-stopping action really ratcheted up.

The boys and I have a new summer obsession. Watermelon smoothies. There is NOTHING better.

IMG_2529Yum!!!

If you’d like to make one, it’s super easy. The most labor intensive part is dealing with the watermelon, but it’s so very worth it. I buy a watermelon every weekend and cut it up in the backyard. Just me, a huge knife and a few freezer bags. If you initially cut your watermelon into fourths, you can do the rest of your cutting any way you like. Big pieces, little pieces, totally messy – the blender cares not at all. Cram all of it into a few freezer bags and pop it in your freezer. Done.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 banana (frozen)
  • Lots of watermelon (frozen)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add the milk, ice and banana to your blender and mix until smooth.
  2. While blending, begin dropping in your watermelon.
  3. Add watermelon until it looks yummy to you. I would guess I use almost 2 cups.

Our other summer favorite is the garden. Thanks to Yogi and my wife we have so many delicious things growing just outside our door. There is tons of basil (pesto!!!!!), mint (smoothies and infused water), cilantro (all sorts of things, we’re loving it on salad), cucumbers (straight up – yum!), carrots, and beets (smoothies and our beloved beet burgers).

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The boys basking in the glow of a very satisfying beet pulling.

We’re making our way into summer and finding it quite sweet, in spite of the bug spray and sunscreen.

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Gay Adoption or If We Could Just Get Married I Wouldn’t Have this Problem!

Warning – If you’re in a “quit your bitchin’” kind of mood, I would suggest skipping this post. Lots of whining ahead.

 

It is a beautiful spring day*, my wife is off work and when the boys wake from nap, we’re going…………….

……….to get fingerprinted.

Lovely.

I haven’t had a lot to say about the 2nd parent adoption process here. We are lucky enough both to live in a place where such legal protections are available and to be in the financial position to take advantage of them. Those facts alone were enough to occupy me during our first adoption. I was grateful for our social worker and attorney and even the judge who conducted the hearing. The only anger or sadness I felt was on behalf of all of the families for which this was not possible.

Unfortunately, that was last time.

Yogi’s adoption was conducted as swiftly as possible and I was recognized as one of his legal parents well before his first birthday. Monkey turned one last week and only now are my wife and I forcing ourselves to begin jumping through all of the hoops that will get us a piece of paper that makes official the fact of my status as parent to this child.

While it’s true that our lives are busier now that we have two children, it is not true that this is the reason for all the feet dragging. At least not my feet. If all of this were up to my wife, we would have had this box checked quite some time ago. Unfortunately, it’s not all up to my wife. As the “oh, so you didn’t actually have the baby” part of this duo, I’m an essential part of the process. I’m the adopter. She’s the birth Mother.

So, why the change of heart? I wish I knew. All I can tell you is that when we had our first meeting with the social worker (months and months and months ago) to discuss Monkey’s adoption, I felt none of the “isn’t this lovely?” gratitude that I had felt (with the very same social worker) during the same meeting for Yogi. The pile of papers that we waded through (again) felt less like a path to somewhere I wanted to be than a stack of busy work you might have gotten from a substitute teacher in grade school.

In case you’re not familiar with these hoops, here’s a few highlights.

Unfortunately,

  • A clean criminal background check (at the federal, state AND local levels),
  • Proof of health and life insurance,
  • Letters attesting to my fitness as a parent from five separate people (three of whom must not be related to me),
  • A clean bill of health and thumbs up from my family physician,
  • Two letters attesting to the health of each of my boys from their pediatrician,
  • A copy of every official government document I have,
  • My wife’s latest tax return,
  • Three lengthy sessions with the social worker,
  • Ridiculous outlays of cash, and
  • A court date

do not a Mama make. Of that, I am quite sure.

What I’m saying is that this time, the whole thing feels less like a blessing than an insult. Somewhere along the way I’ve gotten tired of being grateful for crumbs. It might have been all the recent conversations around gay marriage. As glad as I am that such conversations are happening, the tone and content of the debate has gotten to me. Worn me out frankly. I’m tired of everyone else getting to pontificate on the reality of my family. Bone tired.

As if getting all angsty about marriage and adoption and all the rest weren’t enough, now I’m just pissed that I’m pissed. I mean, I am a loving person, dammit!

Perhaps the example that best captures the off-ness of this situation is my wife (hoping to find some good in the bad and not exactly known for her party enthusiasm) lauding the celebration/ritual potential of Monkey’s adoption:

My Wife: ” Well, you know we could make a day of it, really make things special. A Monkey and Mama day”!

Me: “This is NOT a day I want to celebrate! This is not OUR day and it is certainly not the day that I became his Mother. No, bad idea.”

My Wife: “Yeah,  I see that.”

If you have any extra patience, perhaps you could send some her way. I’m a real delight to live with at the moment.

 

 

* It WAS a beautiful Spring day when I started writing this post. 😉