Gay Dad Life

Happy Thanksgiving to the Extended Family

“Oh, George, it’s a Thanksgiving miracle.”

The Pilgrims got Thanksgiving started way back in 1621, but actually in October, not November. No one wrote it down in their calendar, so the exact date is unknown. They didn’t have a second Thanksgiving until many years later, when some bright colonist said, “Hey, remember that great party we had with the Indians? Why don’t we do that again? After all, these guys didn’t build a wall to keep us out.” In the course of things, Thanksgiving migrated to the last Thursday of November.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been president for eight years, he contemplated running for an unprecedented third term. He tested the mood of the American public by moving Thanksgiving to the third Thursday in November. Everyone hated it because it meant that they had to spend a longer time shopping for Christmas presents, but they reelected FDR anyway, and, in gratitude, he moved Thanksgiving backward (forward?) to the fourth Thursday, when we now celebrate it.

Thanksgiving is a day to remember the past, when I get out those little penny postcards that my mother wrote recipes on, and prepare her sausage stuffing, and bake her apple pie (but not her meringue).

The family story was that Nurse Vivian was a lousy cook. When she worked in the kitchen of Kings County Hospital, every single patient sent back the dessert she made. The director asked what the problem was, and she said, “I made the Jell-O exactly as it said on the box. And I remembered to butter every mold before I poured it in.”

After Nurse Vivian married Pop, Grandma Sadie told him that he should have married Helen instead because she was a much better cook. So Aunt Mildred and Nurse Vivian sneaked into Grandma Sadie’s kitchen late one night and copied over her recipe book on penny postcards. This was my inheritance from Nurse Vivian, these yellowed cards with inscrutable clues: “Add four ts of sugar.” Teaspoons? Tablespoons? Tubs? “Brown onions until nice.” How nice is nice, and can an onion really be nice? “Do not touch with your hands.” Ever?

Fisher-Paulson family Thanksgiving

I intend on leaving the same mysteries for Zane, so that when I pass on, he too will not be able to duplicate my mother’s meringue. He too will wonder what “coco- n” means. I’ve added my own recipes, such as the “DEFCON Four Chili” and, like her, I’ve “forgotten” an ingredient or two.

Thanksgiving is also a day to embrace the present. We don’t forget Nurse Vivian or Uncle Tim or the triplets, but we celebrate those with us: Maureen and Maya, and the SASBs, and Aunt JJ. The other gay parents in the outer, outer, outer Excelsior, the lesbian ones, have come with a bottle of Baileys in hand for half a dozen years now. Two Thankgivings in the blue bungalow make you family.

This Thanksgiving we celebrate Papa, who has gotten up at 5 in the morning for 31 years to bake bread, on the one day that he’s not rehearsing the “Nutcracker Sweets.” He then spends an hour dragging out tables and rocking chairs and arranges the Currier & Ives plates with the not-matching Batman Pepsi glasses.

We celebrate Uncle Jon, who will, no doubt, spend Wednesday night assembling the seven Ikea chairs we bought because even though the serving dishes might not match, Papa cannot abide anyone sitting on a folding chair.

We celebrate Zane and Aidan, who walk down to Cordova Market when I cannot find the turkey baster that I only use once a year. We celebrate Krypto, Buddyboy and Bandit, who will navigate between 18 pairs of legs in our crowded dining room, ready to pounce on any dropped turkey.

Fisher-Paulson family

This year we also celebrate you, the best readers in the world. Last week’s column was all about the Snacky Dinner, and since then Aidan has failed two tests, Zane has ridden the edge of a suspension and the guy who we just elected vice president has been looking to invalidate my marriage, so instead of snacky, I was ready for a snarky dinner.

But I’ve been blessed to get many emails from you, and once even a box of crayons, and it gladdens my heart to know that you who are bearing witness to our journey have found some hope and some joy in that pilgrimage.

Some days the only way I can understand this road is to tell its story. I’m grateful that you let me tell it.

Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

'NolaPapa' Launches YouTube Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

Check out Erik Alexander's new YouTune Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

When we first found out that our second daughter was African American I froze. Not because of her race, but because I knew NOTHING about African American hair. So I frantically tried to learn as much as I could while she was a newborn so I was ready to style it when she was a little older.

I decided to launch our YouTube channel Nolapapa: Story of a Gay Dad to focus on this very topic! Episodes 1-5 will solely be dedicated to learning how to wash, care for and styling African American hair. Afterwards, the content will shift towards personal & family situations, adoption, gay parenting questions and other great content! I'd love your support and become part of our little village as we launch this new project!

Sending Nola love to each of ya!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Encouraged by His Son, Single Dad Richard Started Dating Again — and Just Got Married!

After his 14 year relationship ended, Richard got a gentle push into the dating pool from an unexpected source — his son!

In 2014, Richard Rothman's relationship of 15 years ended, leaving him understandably reluctant to jump back into the world of dating as a single gay dad. But after spending one too many Friday nights at home, he got a gentle nudge from somebody unexpected —his teenaged son, Jonathan.

"Dad," Jonathan said. "Would you just get out of the house and go on a date already?" (You may remember wise-beyond-his-years Jonathan from this post that went viral of a tattoo he got commemorating his adoption day.)

On his son's encouragement, Richard started dipping a tentative toe back into the dating pool. In 2015, he met Kevin thanks to mutual friends that introduced them via social media. It took four months before Richard introduced Kevin to his son, who was a Sophomore in high school at the time.

On New Year's Eve in 2017, Kevin proposed while the couple was vacationing in Palm Springs. The city has an outdoor festival every year, he explained, which the couple attended. The band Plain White T's happened to be performing their hit "Hey There Delilah" as Kevin got down on one knee and proposed. "Now whenever I hear that song it brings back memories of that night," Richard said.

Richard and Kevin married on March 30, 2019 back at the scene of the crime — in Palm Springs, at the Frederick Loewe Estate. Jonathan was Richard's best man, and also walked him down the aisle (awwww.....). Kevin's brother Bobby served as his best man.

"As so many wonderful moments continue to happen for us in Palm Springs, we now own a home there in addition to our primary residence in Bentonville, Arkansas," said Richard.

Check out video from the couple's special day below!

And Jonathan is now an E4 Master-at-Arms in the US Navy.

Coming Out

My Gay Shame Is Officially Cancelled

After years of feeling ashamed of being gay, David Blacker has finally overcome it. And his son had a lot to do with it.

Scrolling through my social media feeds, reading all the posts about National Coming Out Day reminds me just how valuable it is for us to share our stories and be as open, vulnerable and authentic as possible. Warning: this article is about to get real AF, so now might be a good time to switch back to the Face-Aging app that gives Russia all your personal data.

Oh good, you stayed. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Keep reading... Show less

Today is National Coming Out Day, and as we celebrate, we're sharing six coming out stories from dads in our community. Their personal stories are heartwarming, relatable, and empowering. Happy Coming Out Day, and remember, live your truth!

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

Growing a Thicker Skin

Experiencing hateful and hurtful comments, Erik Alexander had to learn an important lesson: how to ignore the trolls.

Photo credit: BSA Photography

Twenty years ago when I came out, it was unbearably hard. As I have written before, I am from the Deep South. Anyone who dared to deviate from social norms was sure to be ostracized. It's not that these people were born hateful or mean; rather, it probably had more to do with them not being subjected to other lifestyles. Anything different from their own experiences sparked fear and confusion. Homosexuality, interracial relationships, religious differences – these were all unfamiliar territories to the average person I grew up around. Thus, growing up was particularly difficult.

I remember lying in bed at night when I was a little boy. I would pray and beg God to not let me be gay. Every single night I would end my prayers with "... and God, please don't let me have nightmares and please don't let me be gay." I remember crying myself to sleep many nights. I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I wanted God to cure me.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

10 Inspiring Coming Out Stories From Gay Dads

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our recent stories about gay men with kids coming out to live their most authentic lives.

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our best articles of gay dads coming out to live their authentic lives.

#1. Former NFL Player Jeff Rohrer, and Father of Two, Comes Out as Gay and Marries Longterm Partner

Jeff Rohrer, a father of two teenage boys via a previous relationship with a woman, is the first NFL player to marry another man. Read the article here.

#2. Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said. Read the article here.

#3. Gay Dads Share Their Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day

We asked several gay dads to share their coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day, whose stories are heartwarming, instructive, and everything in between. Read the article here.

#4. Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News. Read the article here.

#5. One Gay Dad's Path Towards Realizing Being Gay and Christian are Not Mutually Exclusive

Gay dads Matt and David Clark-Sally talk about coming out, parenting as gay men, and reconciling faith and sexuality. Read the article here.

#6. Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay. Read the article here.

#7. How Coming Out Helped This Gay Man Find the Strength to Be a Dad

Steven Kerr shares the moment he came out to his ex-girlfriend. "From that moment on," he writes, "my strength and purpose have grown." Read the article here.

#8. Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. Read the article here.

#9. The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter

"I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out. Read the article here.

#10. These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

Vincent and Richard both had children in previous marriages with women; together, with their ex-wives, they are helping raise seven beautiful kids. Read the article here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse