Dad Life

Salute to Mother's Day

There are a lot of things to be grateful for on Mother’s Day -- of course, our appreciation for our own moms, and we also celebrate all the women in our lives who are moms.

But for me it is also being grateful for the woman who brought our son into this world. We don’t know much about her or her story, but without her we would not have the joy of parenting. Without her, we would not have the special little soul (currently sleeping above me upstairs) we named Jacob. I’m sure if we did not have Jacob we would have another kid or another story, but I truly believe that the universe brought us together and that “he and us” were meant to be a family. So for this I say very loudly, “Thank You!”

Lots of little things arise out of the fact that Jacob has two dads and I have to admit I did not expect them so early - he is only 2.5 years old. For example, every time I pick him up from daycare he gets a big smile on his face and yells, “mama, mama”. I am used to it by now and reply with a smile and say, “Yes, Papa is here!” I’m okay with this because I know Jacob is discovering the world around him, noticing differences in other kids. And this no doubt is just a phase that will eventually pass, but sometimes I do get embarrassed, especially in front of the other dads.

This morning both Philip and I drove Jacob to daycare because we were on our way to Denver to buy a travel trailer (which is another story I will get to another time!). I put Jacob in his car seat and noticed a magnet that he sat on. I picked it up and saw it was an illustration cartoon of two grooms (one blond and one brown haired, both with big smiles). Jacob saw it right away and had to have it. As we were driving, I could see Jacob having some kind of recognition in his eyes. I turn and say, “Jacob, that is Daddy and Papa!” He continued to look at the magnet, then back at us, and then pointed - “Dada, Papa”. That moment was very special to me because even if he is going through a stage where he realizes he does not have a “mommy”, he still knows he has two parents who love him to the moon and back.

The past couple years when Mother’s Day came around I got a little emotional. Each year I know it will get a little harder for Jacob to deal with, but I think it is a healthy emotion and I want to be sure he knows there are all kinds of families. This Mother’s Day, I want to focus on the women who are in his life: my mom, Philip’s mom, and several aunts. Each has a special place in her heart for Jacob, and that is more than I could have ever asked for. So as Jacob grows and another Mother’s Day comes around I will remind my sweet boy that “you may not have a mom, but you have two grandmas, several aunts, and two awesome Dads who love you and because of you our lives are full of happiness!”

So to all the gay dads (and future gay dads) out there, I know it is not always an easy time of year. But I encourage you to focus on the women in your child’s life to show him/her the many things that he/she has to be grateful for, and then I know Mother’s Day will be a day we all look forward to!

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With everything going on in our country, I think saying that it has been a crazy year is an understatement. It has been emotionally difficult and draining at times for many. This year brought so many new changes that it is hard to wrap our minds around some of them. The daunting feeling of uncertainty looms over our heads as we march forward into this unfamiliar territory led by someone we do not particularly trust.

With that said, one thing will not change- the holidays. For my family, this time of year brings cheer, joy, hope, and optimism for the new year to come.

I have always had one golden rule when it comes to decorating our home for the holidays: the current holiday must pass before decorating for another.

Recently, our two year old, Alli Mae, had started to develop an appreciation for all that Christmas brings. The way she lights up and gets excited when she sees Christmas decorations made me think for the first time in my life, what if I changed things up this year? Decorating earlier will also help attenuate the political frustration that this year brought. That coupled with the amazement that our little girl has for Christmas makes a strong case for decorating for Christmas early. Sure, there are diehard Thanksgiving fans that grumble at the thought of Christmas coming early and I am sure they will give this a healthy eye roll and, if so, that's ok. We are not replacing Thanksgiving... we are enhancing it.

We will most definitely continue to teach our children the meaning of Thanksgiving and to enjoy the symbolic feast that comes along with it. The white pumpkins I usually put out for Thanksgiving really made a statement when I mixed them with the Christmas attire. I was quite surprised and impressed by the final outcome!

These days, one of my primary goals in life is to create an environment for my family that is happy, healthy, and nurturing. I want them to get excited about Christmas, both the true meaning and the atmosphere that it brings. When my children walk into the house, I want them to be transported into a bright, cheerful place that they will always remember. Perhaps it will even inspire the way they celebrate the holidays with their families (and our future grandchildren) in the future. The world can be a harsh, cold and scary place, especially lately it seems. I would be lying if I said I didn't do this for myself, too. I am. For the first time in my life, I am worried for the future of our country. I am terrified of the direction we as Americans are taking and worry it is setting a precedent for what the future will be like for my family. Mass shootings seem to happen monthly now, yet there continues to be a lack of response by Congress to create solutions. Bigotry and racism, masked by patriotism, also plague our society. I know I am speaking of sore subjects, but all of these reasons give me the motivation for welcoming the Christmas season earlier.

I do have faith that in time, competent leaders will emerge and will steer us in a direction that will help fade our fear into the bold and lionhearted society that we are. We as LGBTQ families need to comfort one another. Lets extend our hands to each other. Let this holiday season not be about the "correct" time in which we decorate for Christmas, moreover lets make it about coming together as a community that lifts each other up. Lets protect each other. Lets embrace each other for all the we are, all that we bring and all that we stand for. Let us not be silenced- and pushed into a corner but let us lead by example- while showing our children who their parents are by being respectful and tolerant and warmhearted as we welcome this Christmas season.

Erik and Douglas' two daughters, Ella and Alli Mae, who recently turned 2

May you and your family have the most beautiful and happiest of holidays, regardless of when you choose to welcome Christmas. I pray that 2018 will bring each of you happiness, patience, resilience and with time, we will get there, together!

I would love for you to follow our family's journey on Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

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As celebrations sweep across Australia, the LGBTQ community, along with their allies, rejoice in the results of the marriage equality vote. Despite the controversial campaign that surrounded the plebiscite, love won. And won big! An overwhelming 79.5% of the population took part in the survey (12.7 million people), and in every state and territory, the majority voted "yes," with 61.6%.

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