Gay Dad Life

In San Francisco, March Comes in Like a Crab, Goes Out Like a Lamb

When Tim died of AIDS 10 years ago, he was cremated. Half of his ashes went to his sister in Maine, who planted an oak tree in the Wiccan tradition. We left the other half for his boyfriend, and that, we thought, was the last of it — until October. We got a registered letter from the funeral parlor telling us that Tim’s ashes had been abandoned for a decade and that if we did not pick them up, his remains would be disposed of. So I drove to Duggan’s and brought the second half of Tim home.


Aunt Amanda is Jewish pagan, which is kind of Wiccan, and she suggested we plant a Japanese maple over him in our backyard, which we did on Halloween. But this was a strange winter for trees. Lots of rain, lots of wind, and within a month, all the leaves had fallen, and my hopes for the sapling dwindled.

A month later, the ceanothus that we had planted when we had the triplets died. That tree had been popular. Krypto and Buddyboy marked it regularly, and all summer it was visited by a very friendly swarm of bees.

Aunt Dorla, whom the boys call Uncle Doya, planted a replacement. But I worried that the dogs and the bees wouldn’t recognize it, and somehow I would be responsible for Crocker-Amazon beehive colony collapse disorder.

Two months went by, and Krypto still had not yet marked it. In the grand scheme of things, there are a lot worse problems than a sapling without leaves or a tree without bumblebees. But the superstitious Irish in me worried that if the sapling did not survive, then I had failed Tim’s ghost (as if half your ashes languishing in the basement of a funeral home for a decade was not enough to ruin your afterlife).

In San Francisco, seasons are subtle. You have to look closely to see the signs. March comes in like a crab feed and goes out like a lamb.

The first sign of spring: This week the weather warmed, just a few degrees, but enough to open a window or two. I walked into the Whole Foods on Ocean Avenue to get raisins and buttermilk because March also means soda bread.

Ceanothus bloom

As Dylan John bagged the groceries of the woman in front of me, silver mist cascaded over the Ingleside hills, and we each smiled. Dylan said, “Fog dogs. All three of us.” And I knew that the vernal equinox may not have arrived, but in the city by the bay, winter was over, and it was warm enough for the city to call the fog back.

The second sign of spring: I may have been thinking about the lack of bees, but Aidan was focused on the birds and bees. His fifth-grade teacher taught puberty 101, and this was the one class all year that my attention-deficit disorder son took notes. Aidan came home all full of himself, talking about “ejections” and whether he was growing hair down under. He was a little jealous that Zane’s voice had started cracking, so I said, “It’s just a phase. In 50 years, the whole sex thing will be a lot less interesting.”

The third sign of spring: Aidan’s class made a trip to the Presidio, and instead of rain and cold, we got a walk along Lobos Creek and saw red-tailed hawks wheeling through a cerulean sky, and the Golden Gate Bridge bursting with light. I could hardly wait to get back to the outer, outer, outer Excelsior to see if spring had reached the other side of the city.

When we did get back, at each corner of the blue bungalow, ceanothus burst with fat purple buds. The California lilac is not as fragrant as its East Coast relative, but, like the swallows of Capistrano, the bees had returned, thus proving that even a bumblebee is smarter than a Pekingese.

And there in the backyard, a tiny sapling sprouted pink and red leaves. Tim’s ashes had either consecrated or fertilized the soil, and the cycle of death and rebirth had come all the way around the sun.

Bees return, even if the destination has changed. Fog returns like the whisper of those we have loved. And sometimes, even the most delicate of trees endures the winter.

It is then that those of us who doubt the spring are proved wrong.

This article was previously published in the San Francisco Chronicle

 

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

Cooking with Kids: An Interview with David Burtka

David Burtka sits down with us to talk about his new book "Life is a Party."

When you're a young couple it's easy to order in or dine out on a daily basis, but when the kids come along, spending time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for them can become a problem for some dads. We turned to gay dad and celebrity chef David Burtka who just published his debut recipe book Life is a Party, to get some advice, inspiration, and support as we take our baby steps in the kitchen.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

Philippe "Swiped Right" on This Handsome Young Dad

At first, Philippe wasn't sure he could date a man who was a dad. But Steve, and his son Gabriel, have helped him realize a "fatherly side" of himself he didn't know he had.

"It's been one hell of a ride since the beginning," said 26-year-old Steve Argyrakis, Canadian dad of one. He was 19 when he found out he was going to be a dad and the mom was already several months along in her pregnancy. Steve, who lives in Montreal, was struggling with his homosexuality but wanted to do the "right thing," so he continued to suppress his authentic self. "I was so scared about the future and about my own happiness, that I had put aside my homosexuality once again."

A couple of months later, little Gabriel was born, and it was love at first sight.

Keep reading... Show less
Entertainment

Ain't No Party Like a Gay Dad Dance Party

Gay dads singing and dancing with their kids is EXACTLY what you need to get your weekend started right.

Who jams to Led Zeppelin with their kids?

Who rocks some sweet moves to Kelly Clarkson?

Who sings along with their kids in the car?

Who breaks it down with a baby strapped to them in a carrier?

We all do! But these guys happened to catch it all on tape for us to enjoy! Thanks dads. 😂

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

Gay Dads Featured in Enfamil Commercial

A new ad for Enfamil showcases two gay men talking about their daughter.

The best kind of inclusion is when you're not singled out but instead included right along with everyone else. This kind inclusion inspires others to pursue their own dreams and desires, just like any one else. As part of our popular culture, we know that brands are uniquely suited to inspire us in this way.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics

Daughter of Married Gay Couple Who Used Surrogacy Abroad Isn't Citizen, Says U.S. State Department

A decades-old law can be used to discriminate against gay couples who use surrogacy abroad.

James Derek Mize and his husband Jonathan Gregg are both American citizens, but their daughter, born via a surrogate, may not be, at least according to the U.S. State Department.

The New York Times took an in-depth look at this case in a piece that ran in the paper yesterday. While James was born and raised in the U.S, his husband Jonathan was originally born in Britain. That may be enough, according to the State Department, to deny their daughter citizenship.

"We're both Americans; we're married," James told the New York Times. "We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn't be able to be in our country."

According to decades-old immigration law, a child born abroad must have a biological connection to a parent that is a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible to receive citizenship upon birth. Children born via surrogacy are determined to be "out of wedlock," according to the Times report," which then requires a more onerous process to qualify for citizenship, such as demonstrating that a biological parent is not only an American citizen, but has spent at least five years in the country.

The intent of the law, which dates back to the 1950s, was to prevent people from claiming, falsely, that they are the children of U.S. parents. But LGBTQ advocates argue this archaic policy is being used intentionally to discriminates against same-sex couples, who often have to rely on donors, IVF and surrogacy in order to have biologically children, and are thus held to a higher standard.

"This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are," James told the Times. "Our daughter can't be here, but she has no one else to care for her."

Read the whole story here.


Popular

Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

Adopting an Older Child Through Foster Care Was the Best Path for These Dads

After learning more about older-child adoption through You Gotta Believe, Mark and Andrew decided it was the best way for them to form their family.

"Hey! I got adopted today! These are my dads, Mark and Andrew!"

Jeremy was 16 years old when he found out his new dads wanted to adopt him.

In late August 2017, husbands Mark and Andrew Mihopulos, 34 and 36 respectively, remember driving out to the east end of Long Island. They knew at the very same moment they were driving, social workers were letting Jeremy know they wanted to adopt him. "We expected Jeremy to be hesitant or feel mixed emotions," shared Mark. "We didn't know how he would feel about having two dads and about having white parents and family, as he is a black young man."

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