Gay Dad Life

Saying Good-Bye to the Baby Years

“Daddy, hold hand.”

“Daddy, read book.”

“Daddy, sit here.”

“Daddy, I two – I a big girl!”


These are the words of my daughter. Words that melt my heart.

My daughter is an early talker. I’m not sure if it’s because she wants to keep up with her brother and two dads who all love to talk, or if she just inherently has a lot of stories to tell. Either way, my daughter has undeniably found her voice – and her confidence – and I couldn’t be prouder.

But her words also mean she’s no longer a baby. She’s recently turned 2, and that means we are officially done with the baby phase in our house. With two wonderful kids, our family is now complete.

It’s a strange feeling saying good-bye to the baby phase. We’ve been in this phase since returning from our honeymoon in 2007. We didn’t come back from Hawaii pregnant like most couples; we returned knowing it was the right time to pursue our dreams of becoming dads. And while it took a couple years to happen, for the past seven years our life has revolved around babies, including:

  • Prepping for and eagerly awaiting their births
  • Decorating the nurseries, and dealing with pressures of choosing the right accoutrements, such as bottles, formulas, cribs, diapers. (I honestly had no idea there were so many strollers to choose from.)
  • Holding and swaddling their tiny newborn bodies, simultaneously feeling the immense responsibilities and experiencing the most intense love
  • Sleepless nights, some filled with never-ending crying, while so many more, filled with endless cuddles and sweet coos
  • Countless diapers: filled with … well, you know
  • So many firsts: first smiles, first teeth, first words, first foods, first giggles, first steps …
  • But am I really ready to say good-bye to baby?

    Just last week, my incredible husband, knowing that I couldn’t bring myself to do it, spent the day packing away many of the baby toys that hadn’t been played with for a very long time. The baby bottles, once so important for both the sustenance of life, and the soothing of cries, are starting to gather dust. And I know there will be a few tears – mine, not my daughter's – when we pack the crib away in a few weeks and move her to her toddler bed.

    But deep down, I know I’m ready. Watching both our children continue to grow into the smart, kind, and courageous kids they are today has made me the proudest Daddy.

    So, my dear daughter, as you turn 2, and we say good-bye to baby, please always remember:

    You’re a girl who loves to move. Maybe you’ll be a soccer player, a dancer, or a sprinter. Or given how you and your brother play, maybe a rugby player. Either way, I hope you always remember how fun it is to play. Always keep moving and stay active.

    You’re a girl who loves shoes. I’m pretty sure you get that from your Poppa. Continue to wear those shoes confidently and walk down the street with your head held high. Already at two, you command a presence when you enter a room. Never lose that confidence.

    You’re a girl who loves books. And while you can’t yet read, you can spend countless minutes and hours combing through books, either on your own, or with your Daddy and Poppa. Keep learning and exploring the world of imagination through literature. Words are magic and can take you to so many wonderful places.

    You’re a girl who is determined. Whether it’s learning how to master walking up and down stairs, or sitting on the bottom of the stairs refusing to leave the house because you want to wear the purple boots, not the pink boots, you never give up. When you set your mind to something, you do everything you can to make it happen. Don’t give up that resolve and determination. It will take you far in life.

    You’re a girl who has the best laugh. Your smiles and giggles fill our hearts. As you grow, there will be times in life when it’s hard to smile. But remember that Daddy, Poppa and your brother will always be here for you. Keep that spirited joy in your heart and never stop laughing.

    Finally, my dear daughter, as we say good-bye to baby, always remember the famous words attributed to Dr. Seuss, “Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.”

    You and your brother have brought me and your Poppa countless smiles. Thanks to you both, I understand that my heart is no longer mine alone. Instead, it grows outside my body, in the form of you and your brother, the two kindest, most beautiful beings I have ever laid eyes on.


    Show Comments ()
    Personal Essays by Gay Dads

    Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

    Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

    Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

    Keep reading... Show less
    Gay Dad Life

    10 of Our Most Popular Posts Featuring Single Gay Dads

    Happy Single Parent's Day! To celebrate, we rounded up some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads.

    Did you know March 21st is Single Parents Day? Well now you do, and you should mark the occasion by checking out our round up of some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads!

    Keep reading... Show less
    Gay Dad Life

    What's Life Like as a Single Gay Dad? These Guys Sound Off

    We checked in with some of the single gay dads in our community to see what life is like while parenting solo

    March 21st is Single Parents Day! To celebrate, we checked in with some single gay men in our community to sound off on what life is like while parenting solo — the good, the challening and everything in between.

    Keep reading... Show less

    Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

    The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

    Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

    The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

    "Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

    Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

    The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

    "My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

    "This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."

    Expert Advice

    4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

    Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

    There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

    Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

    Keep reading... Show less
    Change the World

    After Suffering a Violent Homophobic Attack, This Gay Dad Turned to Advocacy

    After Rene suffered a brutal homophobic attack that left him hospitalized, he and his family have turned to advocacy to heal

    Guest post written by Rene and Nejc

    We are Rene (35) and Nejc (29) and we come from Slovenia, Europe. I was an avid athlete, a Judoist, but now I am an LGBT activist and Nejc is a writer, who published a gay autobiography called Prepovedano. He was also a participant in a reality show in Slovenia (Bar) and he is an LGBT activist too. Nejc and I met by a mere coincidence on Facebook, and already after the first phone call we realized that we are made for each other. Nejc and I have been together as couple almost one year. We think we have been joined by some energy, as we have both experienced a lot of bad things with previous relationships and now we wish to create and shape our common path.

    Keep reading... Show less
    Personal Essays by Gay Dads

    How to Survive a Midlife Crisis (A Guide for Gay Dads)

    Turns out David Blacker is, in fact, experiencing a midlife crisis — according to the very official results of a Buzzfeed quiz

    Today I took one of those Buzzfeed-like quizzes to determine whether or not I am having a midlife crisis. I know what you're thinking. How can 29 be considered mid-life? God bless you, but I'm actually 35. Fine, 41. The Buzzfeed results — granted, we're not talking a true clinical assessment here — implied that I am, in fact, showing symptoms of a midlife crisis. But instead of shopping for a new sports car, I'm looking around for something else.

    Problem is, I don't quite know what that is yet.

    Keep reading... Show less

    Fatherhood, the gay way

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

    Follow Gays With Kids

    Powered by RebelMouse