#GWKThenAndNow: Alexander and Curtis

Alexander and Curtis Fischer-Oelschlaeger live in Rock Island, Illinois and they have been together for 13 years. Alexander, 45, is a registered nurse in a surgical intensive care unit (SICU) and Curtis, 43, is a high school choir teacher.

This is how it all began. Back in 1997, a young man named Alexander put an ad on Love@Aol that caught the eye of another young man, Curtis. But by the time Curtis responded, it was too late: Alexander had met someone else. (For you young kids out there, these were slower times, before smartphones or social apps!)

That could have been the end of it. But, for some reason, the two men stayed in touch. And for years, whenever they checked in with each other from time to time, Alexander was single and Curtis wasn’t; or when Curtis was available, Alexander wasn’t. At this stage, it seemed that Fate didn’t have any plans for them.

No plans until 2003 that is. In that year, when Curtis instant-messaged Alexander, they realized that they were both single. And so they asked each other out.

On April 18, 2003, they went on their first date together. While they were on that first date, one of Alexander’s friends, with uncanny foresight, took a photo of the two. (See directly below.) The men hit it off and the rest, as they say, is history.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Curtis (left) and Alexander on their first date

Things got hot and heavy quickly. After only a few months Curtis felt he was ready to take the next big step. He bought Alexander a gorgeous ring. And then, on Christmas, unbeknownst to Alexander, Curtis proposed. Alex called his friend Melissa to tell her about the expensive Christmas present. Only after she asked him why Curtis had given him a ring, the light went up in Alexander’s head.

Kids entered the picture soon after. When Alexander (in drag!) had met a lesbian named Suzie years ago, he had jokingly told that she was so pretty that if he ever had kids, he would want her to be the mother. Years later, when Suzie and Mimi (her partner Mary) were talking about starting a family, Alexander offered to be a donor; instead, they wanted him and Curtis to be much more involved. (Mind you, at that time, Curtis and Alexander had only just started their relationship, but especially Curtis was excited by the prospect of being a dad.)

Elijah was born September 17, 2004; Emilie was born June 19, 2007.

After the birth of Emilie on June 19, 2007. From left to right: Alexander (“Daddy”) holding Emilie, Mary (“Mimi”), Suzie (“Mommy”), Elijah and Curtis (“Papa”)

Curtis, Elijah, Emilie and Alexander in Des Moines, Iowa at the moms’ home for Emilie’s first birthday in Des Moines, Iowa in June, 2008

Alexander and Curtis were married in a chapel on June 27, 2009 in Bettendorf, Iowa, shortly after Iowa allowed same-sex marriage. Both their children had a role in their dads’  wedding: Elijah was the ring bearer; Mary the flower girl.

Curtis and Alexander's wedding

December 2011: (from left to right) Elijah, Curtis, Emilie and Alexander in a Sears family photo

Alexander and Curtis are teaching their children to live life to the fullest and to do everything they want and to be themselves.

Summer 2011: Family vacation in Florida

As their names Daddy and Papa suggest, Alexander and Curtis are very close to Suzie, Mary and the children. In this co-parenting arrangement, Elijah and Emilie live with their moms but the two sets of parents share responsibilities for their kids.

Disney December 2014: Curtis, Emilie, Alexander, Elijah, Suzie and Mary

Alexander believes that being a father is the best job in the world. “Having kids has been wonderful! They have four parents that love them and we each have our own strengths to pass onto our children.”

December 2015 family photo: Elijah, Curtis, Emilie and Alexander

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