Gay Dad Life

Holiday Side Effects

Let’s Be Frank: The Diary of a Divorced Gay Dad

OLDER BROTHER: “Look, you're gonna get two of everything, right? Two birthdays, two Thanksgivings, two ... ”

YOUNGER BROTHER: (holding back tears) “I don’t want two of everything.”

OLDER BROTHER: “Yeah, well, it's not up to you. There's a point you have to grow up.”

The preceding is three lines of dialogue from the recent film “Jurassic World,” between an older teen boy and his adolescent brother, regarding their parent’s divorce. When I saw that scene in the theater, I quietly broke down inside. It actually pissed me off. I thought to myself, “This isn’t accurate at all, and this is one of the selling points I’ve been using with my son.” However, with time, I have come to understand that it’s a very realistic sentiment about divorce – from the child’s perspective. With that in mind, I feel that it is my duty to protect Briggs from these side-effects of having to alternate holidays between me and his other dad.

The following is a conversation between me and my son, a couple of weeks ago:

“Hey buddy, let’s go sit down and decide who you want to be for Halloween this year!”

“OK Daddy, can I be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle again?”

“Nooooo, because that’s what you were last year, so maybe we can look at the costumes online and find one you like.”

“Can I be anything I want?”

“Yes sweetheart, you can choose to be whoever you want … except a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.”

This interaction probably sounds very familiar to a lot of you – and it has always been one of my favorites, year after year. But this time it is different, for a few reasons:

  • He realized he would only be trick-or-treating with one of us – me, in a brand new neighborhood.
  • I feel sympathy for his other dad for not being able to experience the holiday with him.
  • The entirety of the holiday falls on me, which means I feel a new pressure to make it perfect.
  • I know I’m just talking about a cheap costume and some diabetes-inducing candy, but let’s face it, these are major memories we make with our children. I want to protect those memories for my son, and also try to include my ex-husband in those as much as possible. We decided to alternate each holiday, meaning Briggs will spend Thanksgiving this year with him, Christmas Eve with me, and Christmas Day with him (yeah – Christmas Day with him – be sure to catch my follow-up post about that day, if I can pull myself out of egg-nog-soaked despair). Next year it will switch, and so on and so forth. Some of the holidays can be doubled up, like birthdays, and even Easter. I invented “Preaster” this year and did a miniature egg hunt with a basket on Good Friday, since I didn’t have him on Sunday. Other holidays are clearly about the day itself, like Father’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, despite what “Jurassic World” said.

    I thought a nice approach would be to list the pros and cons of this bizarre scenario – let’s face it, it’s weird any way you spin it – from every perspective:

    PRO:

    - the whole “two birthdays, two Easters, two …..”

    CON:

    - that really doesn’t apply to every holiday

    PRO:

    - our son will pretty much be guaranteed an amazing holiday

    CON:

    - the solo parent could possibly have a shitty holiday

    PRO:

    - I have full control over the holidays in my house

    CON:

    - I don’t make nearly as much money as my ex-husband, so I’m going to have to get damn creative

    CON:

    - our son will miss one of us

    CON:

    - one of us will always miss our son

    CON:

    - our son will have to tell different holiday stories at school than most of his friends

    CON:

    - we will most likely feel like we have to over-compensate, and therefore probably spoil him too much

    ... You are catching my drift. However, remember that I am very positive-minded, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let some divorce Grinch come and rain on my festive parade. I made this list to refer to and reflect back on. I’m hoping that with time, I can remedy some of these and turn the ‘cons’ into ‘pros.’ I’m going to keep a very open line of communication with my son and ex-husband about this to ensure that everyone is appeased. I’m going to strive to make a conscious effort to better things at all points in time. And tomorrow, I’m going to take Briggs around my brand-new block, holding his little Iron Man-costumed hand. Later that evening, just like every year, I’ll devour his candy when he goes to sleep.

    You can see more of Frank Lowe at:

    YouTube: www.youtube.com/gayathomedad

    Twitter: @GayAtHomeDad

    Instagram: gayathomedad

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/gayathomedad

    Show Comments ()
    Gay Dad Photo Essays

    How Single Dads Are Celebrating Valentine's Day This Year

    Valentine's Day is not just for lovers! We caught up with 8 single gay dads to see how they plan to celebrate Valentine's Day with this year.

    Valentine's Day is not just for lovers; it's also a day to celebrate our loved ones. And that's exactly what these single dads are doing.

    Within our community, GWK has a large group of admirable, active, and awesome (!) single dads and we want to honor them! On Valentine's Day, they and their kids celebrate their family unit in the sweetest possible ways. We asked the dads to share these moments with us, and, where possible, one of the most heartwarming things they've experienced with their kids on Valentine's Day to date.

    Hear their stories below.

    Keep reading...
    Gay Dad Photo Essays

    11 Gay Couples Share Secrets to Their Long-Term Relationships This Valentine's Day

    This Valentine's Day, we spoke with 11 gay dad couples who've been together for almost a decade or longer to learn what's made their relationships last

    You're the peanut butter to my jelly, the gin to my tonic, the strawberries to my cream, the Mr. to my Mr.!

    Happy Valentine's Day folks! We're excited to celebrate this day of lurrrrvvve by featuring a few dads in our community who've been together for almost a decade or more! And they're ready to share their secrets to a successful relationship and parenting partnership.

    Keep reading...
    Gay Dad Life

    "Worth Every Blood, Sweat, and Tear": Congrats to Gay Dads on Recent Births and Adoptions!

    Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

    Gay men go through a lot of ups and downs on the path to parenthood. It can be one of the most emotionally draining times in our lives. But as each of these families who are celebrating births and adoptions this month agree: it's worth every hardship.

    Congrats to the dads whose families grew this month!

    Keep reading...
    News

    What's it Like to Be a Child of the 'Gayby Boom'?

    Tosca Langbert, who grew up with two dads, writes a piece for the Harvard Business Review about what it's like being among the first children of the "Gayby Boom" to come of age.

    We've previously written about the pressure on LGBTQ parents to appear perfect, given that so many in the United States still feel out families shouldn't exist in the first place. And we know this pressure trickles down to our kids. But In an article for the Harvard Business Review titled 'The Gayby Boom Is Here to Stay," author Tosca Langbert eloquently writes, from her perspective, about the experience of beingone of the first children to come of age during an era when LGBTQ parenthood is far more commonplace. She and her two siblings, she notes, "were raised in a family that was an impossibility only decades ago."

    In the article, Langbert said she knew from a young age that her family was different from those of most of her peers, who had one a father and a mother. But otherwise, she writes, she didn't feel like her family differed much. "Like any other parents, Dad sat in the carpool lane after school and taught us how to ride our bikes," she writes, "while Papa took us to the movies on the weekends and separated the whites from the colors."

    Despite this mundanity, her family remained something to marvel at for much of her youth. When the family moved into a new neighborhood in 2006, it made the local newspaper, with a headline titled, "Gay Father Tests Tolerance in the Park Cities."

    She and her siblings have spent much of their lives, she explained further, having to respond to the question: what's it like having two gay dads? For Langbert, there is only one correct response, which is: Amazing! "Any other response, even if simply accounting for a family's nuanced experience, might as well be an outright admission of failure on behalf of the entire LGBTQ community," she wrote.

    Children of the 'Gayby Generation,' are also put in the position of having to come out on behalf of their parents, and "often with mixed results," she wrote. She gave the following anecdote as an example:

    "My father was asked to step down from his leadership position in my brother's Boy Scout troop on account of his sexuality. Even though my siblings and I were only fourth graders at the time, we understood that our family was under strict scrutiny, and that even the slightest misstep could beget severe consequences for how competent our fathers were perceived as being. In the face of this pressure, the first generation of 'gaybies' recognized the importance of presenting their families as perfect; doing otherwise would only present ammunition to those already dubious about the rights of LGBTQ parents to raise children."

    The entire article, which includes the perspectives of multiple now-grown kids that are part of the "Gayby generation," is well worth a read, which you can access here.


    Politics

    Utah Bill Would Allow Gay Men to Enter Surrogacy Contracts

    Rep. Patrice Arent of Utah is sponsoring a bill that will remove a provision that currently prohibits gay men from entering into commercial surrogacy contracts in the state.

    Though Utah is not one of the three states that currently prohibit commercial surrogacy contracts, the state's current policy does specifically exclude gay men from doing so. That may soon changed, however, thanks to a bill in the state's legislature that was unanimously voted out of a House Committee that would remove that restriction.

    The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, a Democrat, was created in response to a ruling by the Utah Supreme Court this past August that found the ban on gay men unconstitutional.

    Gay men have been excluded from legally entering surrogacy contracts due to a provision in the current law that requires medical evidence "that the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child," Rep. Arent told the Salt Lake Tribune — a requirement that clearly excludes gay male couples.

    The state's original surrogacy law dates back to 2005, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state, which accounts for the gendered language. Though the state's Supreme Court already ruled the provision unconstitutional, Rep Arent further told the Tribute that, "People do not look to Supreme Court opinions to figure out the law, they look to the code and the code should be constitutional."

    Politics

    Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

    A bill introduced by four Republican state legislators in Colorado that would outlaw same-sex marriage and adoption rights was voted down.

    The "Colorado Natural Marriage and Adoption Act," which would have outlawed gay marriage and adoption in the state of Colorado, was voted down in the state legislature this week. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephen Humphrey and three of his conservative colleagues: Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge and Mark Baisley.

    If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

    The bill, which had little chance of success, particularly in Colorado which has trended more progressive over the past several election cycles, was mostly symbolic, according to Sanridrge. "We all know this bill isn't gonna pass in this current left-wing environment," he told Colorado Public Radio. "It's to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child."

    In a sign of how far we've come on the issue of LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights, most Republican legislators in the state did not endorse the bill.

    Though the bill had little chance of passage, LGBTQ advocacy groups in the state are taking the threats seriously nonetheless. Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, told LGBTQ Nation that the bills were an attempt to return Colorado to its "hate status" of the 1990s, adding the aggressiveness of the measures were "a bit surprising."

    Surrogacy for Gay Men

    Dads Talk About Surrogacy Process in New Video for Northwest Surrogacy Center

    The Northwest Surrogacy Center interviewed some of their gay dad clients for a video to celebrate their 25th anniversary of creating families through surrogacy!

    Image: NWSC Clients

    Last year, Northwest Surrogacy Center celebrated 25 years of helping parents realize their dreams. And they celebrated in style by inviting the families they've worked with over the past two and a half decades to join them!

    At the party, they took the opportunity to film queer dads and dads-to-be, asking them a couple of questions: how did it feel holding your baby for the first time, and tell us about your relationship with your surrogate.

    Watch the video below and get ready for the water works!

    Keep reading...

    Fatherhood, the gay way

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

    Follow Gays With Kids

    Powered by RebelMouse