Sunday, June 17, 2007

Too busy to be gay?

How is it possible that someone who works full-time for the LGBT cause can forget her sexual orientation, and more importantly the significant implications of being gay, a gay parent, a gay activist, etc.

I realized today in my place of worship that I have been so busy focused on getting my daughter into the "right" school, getting her potty trained, and trying to grow the MEGA Family Project I have forgotten about some important issues facing us as LGBT people. Not exactly what you want to hear in your gay leadership folks.

But, I insist on being honest if I am to do this work.

Just a few minutes ago I was glancing at one of my gay news sources, only looking at the headlines, and I realized they were all about violent and awful things happening to LGBT people. A gay person beat up by a police officer. A murder charge in a Brooklyn gay killing, and on and on.

It's so easy to forget the scary bad stuff when you have the privilege of living in a neighborhood that appears on the surface to be very supportive of our family (despite our differences in the voting booth).

Today, our place of worship focused on both Pride Sunday and Father's Day. A lot to get into one service, which is partially to explain the length of the service (which I actually thoroughly enjoyed because it was such a wonderful service).

Our guest minister today, a lay minister by the name of Duncan Teague, just has a way to bring people to the right place, a place of integrity, a place of hope. Though he shared many of his difficulties growing up gay in an African American household, he also shared many of his triumphs along his journey. It was nice to hear.

When he started his service reflecting on the murder of Harvey Milk, it became crystal clear it is easy to forget those heroes that have gone before us and the tragedies we have faced as a community. They say we Americans have short memories...

Personally, I have become so involved in helping people create families, and working with all the beautiful children and parents in our community, I have forgotten about the hostility, danger, and pain we experience. I have been blessed with the beauty within our community.

I almost didn't make it to my place of worship today because I had planned to spend the next 3 days completely at home with my daughter to work on the dreaded potty training (you try controlling someone else's bodily functions if you want a real challenge!). I am so glad I made it to hear our Pride service, to here the beautiful and funny sermon Mr. Teague so generously shared. There are so many days when it feels as though I am just exactly where I need to be...

The wake up call was heard, and I am glad to be awaken.

On a happier note: Happy Father's Day to All Our Wonderful Dads!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Planning for School

My daughter was finally accepted into the school of our choice (yeah!). Boy, no one prepares you for the stress of figuring out the best school for your child, and then how to get your child into that school. At a time when most parents are just trying to survive sleepless nights, the reality is they should be looking at the various school and child care options available at least a year in advance.

And then we have the added diversity issues: how does the school handle gay families, holidays, and children of color (our daughter is hispanic/native american)? One supposedly great private school in our area of town fell all over itself being proud of all the gay families it had. They didn't have much to say when we asked about how many children of color they had (the pictures in the classrooms were almost all white kids). Our daughter already has 2 white moms, we know we have a responsibility to expose her to a lot of diversity--starting with where she goes to school.

Our family missed out on the first go-round of getting little Maggie into a Montessori program, so we ended up waiting almost a year later until we got her in. Of course, I believe we were supposed to miss out on that first opportunity so she can end up where we now want her in school.

In that year where we missed getting Maggie into a Montessori program, I went around to a couple of the nicer-looking childcare facilities to see what they were like. 3 facilities later, I was horrified by what I saw. Kids terrified of the "teachers." One place was feeding 5-6 kids in a circle with the same spoon and bowl for all the children. Nope, I wasn't ready for that, so another year of nanny help was in order (whether we could afford it or not).

What started as a plan for let's keep Maggie home for one year and then find some type of childcare program, quickly turned into 2 1/2 years (not in the budget).

It's scary as a parent to turn your child over to others for care. You don't hear many people talk about it.

So, off to School Round 2:
I have to say, going through the interviews, school tours, the pressure to make decisions about various schools, and what feels like a major life decision, has added gray hair to my already graying head. This was definitely much harder and more stressful than my own college admission process.

I know many of you probably think I just need to lighten up. I can't. It's our only child, and we want the best for her, and I hope somehow we deliver her the best we can provide. This parenting stuff is hard, folks.

The message here: if you are new with a baby, or thinking of baby, also start slowly thinking out your childcare and school plan.