I obsessively scroll through Gio Benitez and Tommy DiDario’s Bali honeymoon photos. Photos of two muscular and effortlessly handsome young men wading in impossibly blue water, standing by elephants or cruising on brightly colored Balinese fishing boats.

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The air, hot and still; our footsteps echoing against the terrazzo tiles as we pace back and forth reading and rereading the email trying to make sense of the words. The air growing thinner, the email telling us the surrogate was in good health but had had a spontaneous abortion blurred the more we read it. The email, clinical and cold; a few sentences stating only facts about the surrogate, the miscarriage, that we could re-do the process at a later date, and a summary of costs. It read more like an invoice – without any acknowledgement of our baby, our loss.

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I woke up to find my first gray hair, a wiry coarse strand waving in the air as if surrendering my youth to an enemy camp. I glared at it through the remaining steam of the shower trying to decide what to do – pluck it, shave my beard off entirely, color it in with my kids’ markers. Finally, after much bathroom soul-searching, I decided to ignore it.

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“I want to go home,” Leo says. “I want to go home.”

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With the closing of Target in Canada looming over our capitalistic hearts, my husband Derek and I loaded the twins in the car in search of good deals. It’s never easy shopping with kids but this was our opportunity to load up with 2-for-1 deals and 50%-offs to our hearts’ content.

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I grew up in a small desert town in West Texas where there wasn’t much to do, but every once in a while my parents would take my brother and me to the drive-in on the edge of town. With each passing mile the sky would fade from blue to black to something richer and more promising. With each passing mile my 7 year-old body would swell more with excitement.

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I spent most of the morning hot-gluing the Virgin Mary’s head back onto her body. I should have known better than to let the twins play with the nativity scene my mother had sent; she had bought it at the mall but claimed it was made from wood from the Holy Land. Before I knew it, Mary’s head had rolled under the sofa and Leo was running around the living room, Joseph clutched in his left hand and Baby Jesus in the other.

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For my husband and me there was nothing romantic about surrogacy. We were working abroad and moving quite often. We didn’t get pregnant the old-fashioned way, in the backseat of a Chrysler LeBaron like most couples. Nope, we used a FedEx box, an ice pack, and a lab in Kentucky to centrifuge our children into possible fruition. And thus our journey into parenthood began, unconventionally, awkwardly, and with great uncertainty.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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