Often I find myself writing about the negative and more challenging interactions that happen as an LGBTQ father and family. The challenges of solo shopping with twins, the challenges of being a dad in a world where dad’s aren’t yet accepted as primary care takers and then there’s the challenges of being an out and open LGBTQ family; but not today. Today I have nothing to share that is negative. Today I walk with a bit more oomph in my step. Today I smile a little bit bigger. For today’s piece is about interactions that give me hope for tomorrow and restore some faith in humanity.
I remember writing in an earlier piece there is yet hope for a time when people won’t need to “come out.” A time when people can just be whomever they’re meant to be without any judgment, stereotypes or assumptions that compare them to some antiquated system defined in binaries or “norms. “Although that time exists in some future, this weekend my family experienced it first hand – and it was superbly glorious. So glorious that it’s inspired me to write about each of those interactions.
Saturday we decided to take the children to the park and play. It was early – around 8am. After breakfast we got ready and headed to the car; Bubba with me, and Pickle with Brian. We head over to the playground, park and unload. Turns out one other family had the same great idea for an early morning play session at the park – a young heterosexual couple and their nearly 3-year old son. While at the swings the dad noticed my deathly hollows tattoo and sparked up a conversation. When it came time for the “a-ha!” moment where they realized we were married and that they were our children – there wasn’t a single moment of awkward silence. Normally there is a production to explain our situation – a “coming out,” so-to-speak – but not that day. That day we were just another family at the park and it was refreshing. So refreshing that it left such a smile on our hearts.
Sunday the plan was the go to Old Navy and scope out some start of summer deals…I won’t share how much we spent, that fact is irrelevant (lol), but after that adventure we went to the mall. Our first plan was to get Brian a new pair of sunglasses (the clerk at the store LOVED the kids!), and then to grab lunch. We got to the restaurant and were seated in an uncomfortably close section of the restaurant…and both kids had to be opposite us, which made it a bit more challenging. I want to talk about each of the couples that flanked us while we were there, with the last of them the one that touched me the most:
First Family: was a family of three. The father at the table was using his napkin to engage phoebe in a game of peek-a-boo! Totally and utterly adorable. And the daughter at the table put it together that the kids were twins, and was constantly smiling and engaging them while they were there. Again, adorable. When they were done and the table cleaned up a mom of three kids arrived to take over the table.
Second Family: was a mom (married, had a ring on) with her three boys: 5, almost 3 and almost 12 month old. She got her kids settle, drinks ordered (including a beer for herself) and she was rocking it. We both bowed to her awesomeness, and sparked up conversation. Just parents talking ‘bout their craziness – and nobody bat an eyelash. Again: glorious.
Third Table: This table of two friends, both female, was next to us nearly the whole time we were there. Throughout the meal they engaged our children at various times (totally appropriate) and were super generous in helping pick up a random object that Xander felt needed a home on the floor. It wasn’t until they left that such an impact was made. One of the women, a preschool teacher, said, “It just warms my heart to see the two of you parent. Truly, it just warms my heart.” She smiled and carried on with her day.
The last interaction is what inspired me to write, although all of these interactions were just brilliant to be able to live. This woman, without batting an eyelash chose such perfect language; language that was inclusive, language that expressed acceptance and language that made us feel normal. Normal. A word that in and of itself is unusual to type. Perhaps a better word would be accepted. And it felt good. So good.
I wait patiently for the day when more and more people think and operate like all of these people. When people can be with the ones they love, raise a family and just be great members of society. Although these people will likely never come across this piece of writing I thank them. I thank them all for making us feel accepted, making us feel “normal” and lastly not treating us like the circus many think we are. Thank you for giving me a glimmer of hope. It feels so nice, most especially during Pride month!