Gay Dad Life

10 Things Pulling Me Through My Thanksgiving Funk

Sometimes life sucks. And not in the way Kellyanne Conway sucks. Even worse. I'm talking the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm-level suckiness. When everyone and everything disappoints you. When you can't pick up your phone without seeing another heartbreaking CNN alert. When the people you love are in pain or struggling. And when the people you're supposed to look up to are the ones letting you down the most. When no amount of Ben & Jerry's can turn your frown upside down (though their new Chubby Hubby flavor comes close). The last few months have been that way for me, and it's gotten to the point that pretending everything's okay is more exhausting than just dealing with things head on.


Through all this suckiness, I've learned one thing: when life seems this grim, the best thing you can do is stop feeling sorry for yourself and start appreciating all the things in your life that don't suck. Because no matter how badly you may feel, there are countless others who would gladly switch places with you in a heartbeat. As the story goes, if we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back. And with that said, I'm using this article as my catalyst to officially force myself out of this funk.

What better way to do this than by reminding myself of all the things I am thankful for. I'll start with the obvious and the most meaningful.

10. My boys

You know that guilty pleasure movie (Grease 2) or song (2 Become 1 by the Spice Girls) you turn to when you're desperate for an escape? The funny scene that makes you forgot all about your troubles or the song lyric that instantly transports you to your happy place. My husband Alex is that movie and my son Maxwell is that song. They're what makes my heart sing. They're what makes me smile when I don't feel like smiling. When life brings me down, they bring me up. Max with his "me me me" silliness and Alex with his calm, consistent, mature energy that has a way of stabilizing me when I'm on shaky ground. No one's perfect… but these two come pretty damn close. I am thankful for their unconditional love, support and kindness… AND for allowing me to go on a solo hike every Saturday morning to clear my head (by watching the great-looking models and actors hiking Runyon Canyon).

9. My Brother Larry

My mom's been having a tough go of it the past few months. While caring for her husband of more than 25 years — who was struggling with an aggressive form of Cancer — she took a bad fall and had to be hospitalized herself. Weeks later her husband passed away. Shortly thereafter she was diagnosed with having mid-stage Dementia. My family is in Philadelphia and I live in LA, which makes all of this extra challenging. I've been flying back and forth to do everything I possibly can to make this time less awful for Mom, who now needs constant attention. But realistically I can't be there all the time. Enter Larry. He's my older brother — seven years my senior — and while I've been managing to do a lot for my mom from LA — he's the one who's physically been there for her. He's the one who leaves work to take her to doctor appointments and manages her prescriptions and makes sure she gets the best round-the-clock care that she needs. He's the one who always shows up… all while juggling his other respective roles of business-owner, father and husband. My mom's rapid health decline has been really hard for me to process, but having Larry help manage things back home certainly releases some of the pressure. Thank God for my big brother! He's almost forgiven for putting me in the dryer when I was two.

8. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Every year my husband Alex attends the Cabo International Film Festival for work. Since they put him up in fantastic ocean front hotels, I usually sneak away with him for a few days. We just arrived back home from this year's trip and IT. WAS. HEAVEN. It's become our annual tradition. Just the two of us for a long weekend away. No kid. No 5 a.m. wake-up-calls. No Paw Patrol. No deadlines. No microwaved dinners. Just quiet. Beach walks. Massages. And lots and lots of eating. Cabo has become our favorite go-to getaway because the people are lovely, the scenery is picture-perfect and the plane ride is less than two hours from LA. So for all you parents out there desperate for a kid-free respite, I strongly recommended a weekend trip to Cabo. Just don't drink the water. Brightside? I lost two pounds!

7. 100 Grand Bars

Seriously you guys, have you tried these things? They're as good as Whitney's 90s voice and just as rich, creamy and textured. They're made with chewy caramel, milk chocolate, crispy rice crunchies and other crack-like ingredients that make your problems magically disappear… at least for the moment. While they're high in sugar (obvs), they're surprisingly low in cholesterol and sodium. These little chunks of heaven are my go-to fix when I'm stressed out. And I think America has caught on, because ever since November 8th of last year, stores have had trouble keeping them in stock. I wonder why.

6. The new Sam Smith record

Thank God Adele and Sam release their albums on different cycles. Because when one of them goes quiet, the other is ready to debut a brand spanking new album. And this month I'm happy to report it's Sam's turn. The Thrill Of It All is a return to the type of music that shaped my childhood. I'm taken back to the emotions I felt listening to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill or George Michael's Listen Without Prejudice. Deep, personal and timely lyrics, paired with genius vocals against gorgeous piano-driven melodies. Aside from having a few too many cigarette smoking references, this is a classy, self-assured record that expertly infuses blue-eyed soul with gospel flourishes to exquisite effect. (Standout tracks: Him, You Make Me Crazy & Nothing Left For You). Side note: I don't think I've ever seen Sam and Adele in the same room at the same time. Think about that for a minute.

5. Max learning to read

I'm thankful for the recent look on Max's face when he first realized he can read. So much drama went into getting to this milestone. Tutors. Frantic chats with other parents. Concerned discussions with teachers. Frustrated Dada-to-Papa talks where we'd question our parenting prowess. And somewhere along the aforementioned chaos, our little nugget learned to read. It didn't come fast, but it came furiously. And there's no stopping him now. When he picks out our nightly story time books, snuggles under my arm, and starts sounding out each word, slow and steady, I am in my happiest place. Thank God trigonometry isn't until High School.

4. Forever Stamps

How great are Forever Stamps? They're the one thing you know will never change. The one constant that'll never disappoint you. They'll reliable. They're a good investment. And they even come with a built-in sticky adhesive so you can save up your licks for something tastier. I'm thankful for these happy-joy-stickers, especially when I find a few leftover from years past. Nothing makes me prouder than slapping a 2009 stamp on a piece of snail mail like I've one-upped the man and beaten the system. I know what you're thinking. Really, Dave, "stamps?" Yes, really. Now stop judging me and move on to number three.

3. The Book: Spoiler Alert, The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello.

I'm about to make a very bold statement here. Brace yourself. THIS IS WITHOUT QUESTION THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ. Take that, Waiting To Exhale. No other true story will make you appreciate everything good in your life more than this incredibly affecting memoir about a charming TV columnist chronicling his beautifully raw love and loss story about meeting, marrying and losing the man of his dreams. (Relax, I didn't reveal too much — the title alone gives more away). The Hero Dies accomplishes the rare feat of effortlessly infusing awkward, laugh-out-loud humor with tenderness and heartbreaking honestly. Every time I turned another page, I teared up. And it wasn't because of the somber subject matter; it was because I seriously did not want this unforgettable book to end.

2. Our Good Health

It's no coincidence this one comes after #3's book review. It's important to appreciate the things many of us take for granted — like our good health. Knock on wood; me, my husband and our son are in relatively good health. It took this very brave and soulful story about someone I don't know to remind me just how lucky I am to be alive with the people I love. A stark reminder that others aren't always as fortunate.

1. The future.

I recently came across a great Lily Tomlin quote: "tragedy plus time equals comedy." There's something to that. It makes me thankful for the idea of time. Because in the future anything — and everything — is possible. Time may not be able to heal all wounds, but it does allow us to reflect on our experiences from a distance so we can see them more clearly. So the next time you go through a rough patch, simply give your emotions some space. Because with every passing day, things will get better. And right now, I embrace "better" with open arms.

As I go back through this list, I start to feel selfish for allowing myself to linger so long under a cloud of somber. Yes, life is stressful sometimes. Yes, some days are really bad. But despite — or in spite of all this, I've got a helluva lot to be thankful for. I mean, come on, Whitney has a new album out of unreleased Bodyguard tracks! So I am ready to hereby proclaim — no more gray clouds.

Sometimes, you've got no other choice than to just say to yourself no more sadness. And then you just have to force yourself to think positively until you no longer have to force it. That time will come. And in the meantime, I've got these ten wonderful things to keep me on track (eleven if you count the new Whitney album).

It's not right, but it's all going to be okay.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

Show Comments ()
Foster/Foster-Adopt

This Gay Couple Was Inspired to Become Foster Dads Thanks to the Show "The Fosters"

Matthew and Brian say they used to feel like "unicorns" as gay foster dads. They're happy to see more LGBTQ couples take the plunge into the foster system.

Matthew Hamparian and his husband Brian Lawrence have been together for over 18 years and live in Columbus, Ohio. "We had talked about children for a long time," shared Matthew. They were inspired by the show "The Fosters," and watched it regularly as one of the staffers of the show was a friend of Brian's. In one of the episodes, Matthew remembers a conversation between a foster child and the biological child of his foster parents. The foster child asks if he was okay with the fact that he had to share his home with foster siblings. He responds that he is okay with it, because he and his family have enough of everything.

"It was very meaningful to us as we were both raised that when you got up the ladder, you threw the ladder back," explained Matthew.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Gay Single Dads Defend Andy Cohen's Right to Be on Grindr

After the Internet rushed to judge Andy Cohen for signing onto Grindr a couple of weeks after welcoming his newborn son home, fellow single gay dads rushed to his defense.

Last week, we wrote a post about reports that "What What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen had been "spotted" on gay dating app Grindr several weeks after welcoming a newborn into his home. This has some of his followers on social media all worked up"

"Get off Grindr and start being a dad," said one follower who appeared to think single parents must take a vow of celibacy the minute they start changing diapers. "You're sad, that kid has no chance," said another.

Well, suffice it to say that this judgment from people who are presumably not single gay dads of Andy Cohen certainly struck a nerve with our gay dad audience! We received well over 100 comments on this post on Facebook, the vast majority of them coming to Cohen's defense. We caught up with two fellow single gay dads to find out why the story struck a nerve.

"We don't have to live like monks!"

One of the most liked comments on our piece came from Owen Lonzar, who wrote the following:

"I have always been a good single father to my biological son who came to live with me when he was 7 years old. He is now 25 years old and we are very close. I used Grindr and dated while he lived with me. I never had anyone sleep over and he certainly never saw some man he didn't know hanging around my home. Single parents have to date responsibly and with sensitivity to their child but that doesn't mean they have to live like monks!"

We asked Cohen to elaborate a bit more on why the backlash against Cohen bothered him. He had the sense, he said, that much of the criticism against LGBTQ parents comes from gay men without children. "Gay men without kids have a lot to say," he said. "And all of it is ignorant, because they have no idea what it means to actually be a father." He said he was particularly disappointed in gay critics, given our shared history of discrimination. "You would think with all the prejudice we have faced that gay men would be less judgmental themselves," he said.

"Are we supposed to be celibate?"

Another commenter, Josue Sebastian Dones-Figueroa, who is a divorced father of five, questioned what Cohen's critics would prefer him do. "So what, parents are supposed to become celibate because they have kids?" he asked.

We followed up with Josue to ask him to elaborate a bit more: "The idea that just because he is a dad that he would need to stop being a man," he said, questioning why Cohen should have to put his life hold and stop dating, or having sex, just because he's now a father. "If the child is cared for loved and not neglected what is the problem? Life goes on right?"


Gay Dad Life

Internet Conflicted About Advice Given to Closeted Gay Dad in the Guardian

Ok fellow gay dads: if you were the advice columnist at the Guardian, what would you have said?

Recently, in a post titled "I met my girlfriend's parents – and realized I once slept with her father," a man wrote into the advice column at the Guardian with the following predicament:

"Five years ago, I went through a bi phase and used to sleep around with pretty much everyone that came along, including other men. This changed when I fell in love with my new partner, who is everything to me. I recently met her parents and halfway through lunch realised that I had slept with her father. I was going to propose, but when my partner and her mother were away, he told me to end it with his daughter. I'm obviously in love – shall I just ignore him, or tell my partner?"

Pamela Stephenson, the Guardian's columnist, responded as follows:

"I am not sure you could ever have a comfortable future with your new partner. To tell the truth would be to court disaster: a probable break-up, plus the risk of a permanent rift between father and daughter and father and wife. Hiding the truth would lead to toxic secret-keeping that could be equally destructive in the long run. If this whole family was as open-minded and sexually open as you, it might be possible for you to become part of it. However, the father – your former lover – has made it clear that you will not be welcome. Walk away now, and avoid the massive pain that would otherwise be inflicted on your partner, her family and yourself."

Not all commenters agreed with Stephenson's advice.

"Assuming your girlfriend knows that you were bi until falling in love with her and that you slept with everybody in your path [which she deserved to know up front anyway] then you can give HER the option what to do with this bond, rather than leaving the choice to her dad," said one commenter.

Another said, "Walking away without explaining why would be callous and also allow the father to escape the possible consequences of his actions."

It's worth noting that none of these commenters, nor the columnist, are or will ever be gay dads, whose perspective on this bizarre situation may be uniquely valuable. Many gay dads have become fathers while still in the closet. And even those who became dads after coming out can still sympathize with the detrimental impacts of the closet on our lives and those of our families.

So what say you, gay dads, about this man's predicament?

Terrell and Jarius need your help. Earlier this week they were made aware of an act of discrimination against a male transgender student at Johnson High School in Gainesville, Georgia

"Dex Frier was elected by the student body to run for prom king but is now facing backlash from the school's administration," shared the dads via their Instagram. "The school's Superintendent is forcing Dex to either run as prom queen or not run at all. This is very unjust and does NOT reflect the opinion of the parents nor the students."

Watch their video below:

Dex, 17, who came out identifying as male in his sophomore year, spoke with Gainsville Times about being nominated by the student body. "Frier said he kept his emotions in check while at school, but 'the moment I got home, I immediately started crying. I've never been shown so much support before,' Frier added."

He was later informed by school officials that his name had been withdrawn and he could only run in the prom queen ballot.

Sadly, there have been rival petitions started in support of Dex's nomination being withdrawn, and he's received backlash from those who believe he shouldn't be able to run.

Although Terrell and Jarius do not know Dex personally, they were made aware of what was happening through Jarius co-worker who is a parent at the school. "He's such a brave kid and is standing firm in his beliefs, and we should support him," said Jarius.

These dads are asking all of us to take a minute and sign this petition and share with friends and family, or anyone you think could help.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Learn How These Dads Used Social Media to Find Their Surrogate

In the latest "Broadway Husbands" vlog, Bret and Stephen discuss the rather unconventional way in which they found their surrogate: through a Facebook group.

In this, the Broadway Husbands' sixth video, Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna discuss the rather unprecedented process they went through to find their surrogate. The lucky couple also chat about winning an "Intended Parents" competition, which granted them the free services of a surrogacy agency who is now helping guide them (and their new surrogate!) on their journey.

In the first video below, get caught up to speed with the dads-to-be. Plus: there's bonus footage! Ever wondered about the financial side of their journey? In the second video, Bret and Stephen talk candidly about how they're managing to afford their dream of fatherhood.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

This Women's History Month, Gay Men Honor the Gals Who Help Make Them Dads

Each and every man becomes a dad with the help of a woman. We asked gay dads to honor one who helped them along in their path to parenthood to help us celebrate women's history month.

Each and every one of us became (or will become) a dad with the help of a woman--more often than not, with the help of multiple women. So this Women's History Month, we choose to celebrate these women by asking you to tell us a bit about them. Enjoy these inspiring stories below. Want to honor a woman in your life who has helped you become a dad? Tell us about her at dads@gayswithkids.com

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

These Gay Dads Know How to Make Holidays Extra Super Special

Adam and Josh got engaged on Good Morning America on Valentines Day, and welcomed their Christmas miracle baby into their lives on December 26th

Picture this: Valentine's Day 2015, Adam and Josh Klocke were among 24 other couples ice skating in Bryant Park as part of a Good Morning America segment. Lara Spencer was hosting while Christina Perri sang "A Thousand Years" on top of a piano. Midway through, she stopped and Lara reported technical difficulties. This was the cue that the knowing members of each couple had been waiting for. They each dropped to one knee and asked for their partner's hand in marriage. Adam recalls, "It was such an amazing experience that we will never forget." 18 months later, they were married.

While their engagement was a life-changing experience, another for the husbands was welcoming their Christmas miracle, Baby K, via adoption on December 26, 2018. She was just two days old. Here's their story.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

FOLLOW OUR FAMILIES

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse