Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Parenting: The Most Awesome Experience

No one can adequately explain what it means to become a parent. If you've seen Marley & Me (which I don't recommend for pet lovers), there is one scene where Jennifer Anniston's character is losing her mind trying to juggle the needs of her children with her own, and her husband doesn't know what to do to make things better and gets the brunt of her frustration. I remember feeling like Anniston's character when my daughter was a baby.

I always thought I had an easy baby compared to other babies, but my daughter had her uniqueness that made my life a lot harder. From the beginning, Maggie didn't like to sleep in a crib, so we created a makeshift bed for her in the bottom of her pack-and-play (of course, we had purchased a $500 crib since it was our first child—read, money down the drain). Only someone who has tried to get babies down can tell you how hard it is to get a baby from your arms asleep to the bottom of a pack-and-play without waking her up (it's a physics problem). She woke up more times than not, and we would start the process all over again on many, many blurry nights.

Did I mention my daughter wouldn't let me sit down when I held her? Yeah, we bought the top of the line glider chair before she was born, and it too, just collected dust. I had thought we would have so many special moments of me rocking her to sleep in that chair, but the reality is she would scream every time I went to sit down with her. She had to be held standing up which makes for one very tired momma.

My favorite phase was when she would not allow me to put her down for even a second for the entire day. I mean this child would scream if I put her on a blanket so I could pee, or try to make myself something to eat. So, I learned to do things like pee with a baby on my lap, which is a little awkward, but all part of the joy of my parenting experience. During that phase, I remember staring out at my driveway around 6pm for my wife to pull up from work. It always seemed like it took forever for her to get home, but as soon as she walked in the door, I would hold out the baby with pain in my muscles and tears in my eyes saying "please, just take her.'

I love my little girl more than life itself, but it was really hard taking care of her every need and ignoring most of mine. On top of it all, I was supposed to be working from home the entire time. So, I would do the conference calls on mute, type one-handed e-mails, work late into the night, stress about what I wasn't getting done, and start all over again the next day.

The first 18 months of my daughter's life are a blur. I look back at photos of her when she was that small and long to have just one day with her again when she was so tiny and precious. I can barely remember her as the cute little baby she was. I am ashamed to remember how when she was so dependent on me, I just wanted her to get bigger and less dependent. I wanted her to walk so I didn't always have to carry her. I wanted her to talk so I could know what the hell she wanted some of the time instead of always guessing. I wanted her to start school so I could have some time to focus more on my work.

Maggie is four now, and I can't get that little adorable baby back. Though she is even more adorable now, she weighs 40 pounds, has lots of opinions, and doesn't need me nearly as much. Just the other day she begged to go over to her friend's house to play instead of spending family time with her moms. My wife and I were a little hurt, but the reality was we both had work to do, so it was okay. We know she is a very social child, and this is probably just a sprinkle of what's to come.

Parenting is an awesome experience, and one that goes by quickly. As one friend stated, you go through some very long days and quick years. It is tough, but most of us survive wearing an invisible badge of honor that only other parents can see. I wouldn't change having my daughter for anything, and I wholeheartedly recommend parenting to anyone who enjoys sharing your life with a real live little angel.

Join us at the May 16th Creating a Family: Choices for Prospective LGBT Parents workshop to learn more about becoming a parent. Go to http://www.megafamilyproject.org to learn more

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Help spread the word: free coming out group this Thursday!


The MEGA Family Project Presents Our Monthly Coming Out Support Group:

Coming Home Support Group! April 16th, 7pm

Finally the Metro Atlanta area has a free coming out group for adults 18+. Coming Home will meet the 3rd Thursday of each month from 7-8:30pm. It will meet at the Florence McDonnell Center which is at 2215 Cheshire Bridge Road, NE Atlanta, 30324. This group is open to anyone at any stage of their coming out process.

Whether you want to discuss being out at work, with your family, church, synagogue, friends, or whether you have been out for a number of years, please join us this Thursday for our open, drop in support group.

Questions, please contact Melissa Thompson at 404-658-1222 Ext 5, Dee Desnoyer at 404-816-7171 Ext 24, or Jen Bertasi at 404-377-3010. This is such a valuable and much needed resource for our community, so please pass this information along to anyone you think will be interested. You do not need to rsvp to attend.

We hope to see you this Thursday at this great resource for the community.

Kathy Kelly
Executive Director
MEGA Family Project

Support, Education, and Advocacy for Georgia's LGBT Families and Our Children.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Small Victory for Mom(s)

As Morghan has nearly made it through her first year of middle school, I'd have to say, for now at least, I still have my sweet girl. What I have noticed a tad more of, though, is the self-comparison and the avoidance of standing out...this is all typical of her age group and it doesn't worry me in the least. However...as a lesbian mom (who looks gay, too...LOL), I have found myself struggling to maintain that balance of being true to myself while allowing her to have some say in what she chooses to share with her peers and what she keeps private.

Farther from the perimeter than I'd like to be is our community...one which, has many transplants and diversity in population...yet, still has a strong, traditional, old South, Republican base. So...it isn't the same as walking around Decatur where there's lesbian-headed households on every block.

So, back to the part about not sticking out...Morghan knows a lot of other gays...through me. She hasn't actually made a friend who goes home to LGBT parents (that we know of). Well...add the part that...for a few months, we didn't see much of Kristin. So, much of the time, her friends would only see me. Now, though, they are seeing both of us at home many weekends. Morghan has shared with me that her friends "ask questions" and she doesn't often like to answer them. I've told her that she could decide what to tell her friends, but that (in keeping with a value I am trying to instill in the kids) I am still going to be me. In other words, I wouldn't show affection in front of her peers, but I also wasn't going to grow my hair back out, start wearing more feminine clothes, or even have a fake boyfriend as a cover. She was understanding of it, but didn't seem completely comfortable having a different household from everyone else.

Well, last week she was at a friend's house. She called me to ask if her friend could come home with her and spend the night. I said, "but Kristin is here...Don't you think she'll ask about her?"

Morghan replied, "I think she knows anyway."

"Really?" I asked. "What has been her reaction?" I didn't realize Morghan was on speakerphone. At that point, her friend chimed in.

"I already know. It doesn't matter to me," the friend said. Morghan proceeded to explain she was okay with it, because she knows a girl couple in 7th grade. Haha.

So....that was really cool. It's a milestone to me...that she was able to say it in front of her friend, and not wonder what reaction she'll get at the sight of me and Kristin.