Gay Dad Life

What Makes Our Christmas Merry?

Next week I’ll write the warm and fuzzy column filled with eggnog and holly, all about the solstice, but to get perspective you need to read the column that I would have written last year.


In October, Brian’s father, Grandpa Jerry, was diagnosed with kidney failure. Qp, the Mother of All Pekingeses, passed away in November. And the first week of December, Zane became the only boy in the San Francisco Unified School District to be expelled.

We had driven down to Macy*s at Union Square for what would be our last visit to Santa, and Zane had an episode. His mood swing was so off the scale that one of the elves quit and Santa put all four of us down on the Permanent Naughty List.

Christmas Eve, I asked Brian to take the boys out for an hour so that a few gifts could magically appear all wrapped the next morning.

The plan was that when they returned we would get dressed up, go have dinner in the Castro (nothing gets you in the mood for the season quite like the Sausage Factory) and then on to Midnight Mass at Most Holy Redeemer, where the Fisher-Paulsons themselves were supposed to place the Baby Jesus in the crèche.

Don’t know what happened. Never will. Brian is actually calmer than I, but whether it takes stuffing a month’s worth of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches down the furnace vent or setting off the fire alarm in church, even he has a breaking point. Love my sons dearly, but our least favorite of all the family diagnoses is “Oppositional Defiance Disorder,” which means that if I gave either one of them free ice cream, he would argue for spinach instead.

What I do know is that, at 2:42 ln the afternoon, Brian walked in the door, threw his keys on the counter and said, “Take the damn tree down. We’re done. Christmas is over. I am not going out again.”

By then most stores had closed. Having plans to dine out that night, and to eat dinner with the lesbians the next day, there was little in the refrigerator other than leftover artichoke dip. And then it turned out the lesbians forgot to tell us that they had dis-invited us to Christmas Day dinner. Not their fault. Their own children presented a different plate of challenges.

So I walked the boys down to Cordova Market, a corner store, heavy on snack food and beer, light on fixings for a Holiday Dinner. Zane and Aidan were, of course, delighted, because their tantrums had resulted in a Snacky Dinner Christmas. Me not so much. I stood at the frozen section, debating between brussel sprouts and curried chickpeas and I was feeling pretty sorry for ourselves.

But then, an angel: Terry Asten-Bennett, having survived Christmas Eve at Cliff’s Hardware, turned up in the next aisle. She was shopping for a Christmas cocktail, and we laughed and that’s really what neighbors are about: to remind us that even if the corner store does not have cranberry sauce, it does have Amaretto Sour mix, and holidays are what you make of them.

The next morning I got up and baked cinnamon rolls, because that is what Nana would have done. As we sat down to the old kitchen table, Aidan stuck a candle in his sticky bun because, “After all, Daddy, it is someone’s birthday.”

This was not our Hard Candy Christmas. That has to compete with the Christmas Eve that the social worker told us we would lose the triplets or the holiday shopping when Zane threw himself into the middle of the intersection of 18th and Castro or the year that our Christmas tree committed suicide.

When you raise at-risk children, holidays are a Russian roulette. But I’m grateful for last year’s meltdown. It got us into therapy and better medication. It was the apex of our nadir.

This year, we don’t have the tree up yet. Not a single tollhouse cookie has baked in our oven, and the electric virgin remains unplugged in our garage, nary a manger to be found.

Not worried. Either we will get the Christmas cards out or we won’t. This column may be the only letter we send. We might not get to Macy*s, but somewhere in the outer, outer, outer, outer Excelsior on December 24, Terry will be shopping for Amaretto Sour Mix, and that will be enough. We no longer feel pressured to be happy, and that in itself makes us merry.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

'NolaPapa' Launches YouTube Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

Check out Erik Alexander's new YouTune Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

When we first found out that our second daughter was African American I froze. Not because of her race, but because I knew NOTHING about African American hair. So I frantically tried to learn as much as I could while she was a newborn so I was ready to style it when she was a little older.

I decided to launch our YouTube channel Nolapapa: Story of a Gay Dad to focus on this very topic! Episodes 1-5 will solely be dedicated to learning how to wash, care for and styling African American hair. Afterwards, the content will shift towards personal & family situations, adoption, gay parenting questions and other great content! I'd love your support and become part of our little village as we launch this new project!

Sending Nola love to each of ya!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Encouraged by His Son, Single Dad Richard Started Dating Again — and Just Got Married!

After his 14 year relationship ended, Richard got a gentle push into the dating pool from an unexpected source — his son!

In 2014, Richard Rothman's relationship of 15 years ended, leaving him understandably reluctant to jump back into the world of dating as a single gay dad. But after spending one too many Friday nights at home, he got a gentle nudge from somebody unexpected —his teenaged son, Jonathan.

"Dad," Jonathan said. "Would you just get out of the house and go on a date already?" (You may remember wise-beyond-his-years Jonathan from this post that went viral of a tattoo he got commemorating his adoption day.)

On his son's encouragement, Richard started dipping a tentative toe back into the dating pool. In 2015, he met Kevin thanks to mutual friends that introduced them via social media. It took four months before Richard introduced Kevin to his son, who was a Sophomore in high school at the time.

On New Year's Eve in 2017, Kevin proposed while the couple was vacationing in Palm Springs. The city has an outdoor festival every year, he explained, which the couple attended. The band Plain White T's happened to be performing their hit "Hey There Delilah" as Kevin got down on one knee and proposed. "Now whenever I hear that song it brings back memories of that night," Richard said.

Richard and Kevin married on March 30, 2019 back at the scene of the crime — in Palm Springs, at the Frederick Loewe Estate. Jonathan was Richard's best man, and also walked him down the aisle (awwww.....). Kevin's brother Bobby served as his best man.

"As so many wonderful moments continue to happen for us in Palm Springs, we now own a home there in addition to our primary residence in Bentonville, Arkansas," said Richard.

Check out video from the couple's special day below!


And Jonathan is now an E4 Master-at-Arms in the US Navy.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

A Dream Becomes Reality, After a Men Having Babies Conference

New Yorkers David and Brian said their dreams of fatherhood crystalized only after receiving a "ton of information" at a Men Having Babies conference.

New Yorkers David F.M. Vaughn 39, and Brian Becker, 37, are new dads. Over the past three months, the two most important things they've learned as fathers is "patience, and how to swaddle LIKE A CHAMP!" David and Brian chose surrogacy as their path to fatherhood, but making that decision was one of the more difficult parts of their journey. Brian's siblings are adopted, and while they still want to make adoption part of their family journey, certain opportunities arose that made their surrogacy decision easier. Brian's sister enthusiastically offered to be their gestational surrogate, and they discovered more about the process with the help of Men Having Babies (MHB).

But let's jump back to the beginning of their story.

Keep reading... Show less
Foster/Foster-Adopt

Your Foster Adopt Questions Answered by a Foster Adopt Dad

We asked our Instagram community to send us their questions about being a foster dad — and an experienced foster dad responded.

Dad Joseph Bostick (read his story here) recently shared his experience as a foster and adoptive dad with our Instagram community via a question and answer session - did you feel nervous at the beginning? How did you start the process? Did you always know that you wanted to foster older kids?

Read Joseph's responses below.

Keep reading... Show less

Gay Surrogacy in the U.S. for International Dads

Kristin Marsoli of Circle Surrogacy breaks down the process of surrogacy for gay men outside of the United States

Written by Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, who has been helping international gay men become dads for over two decades.

Becoming a gay dad through a surrogacy agency in the U.S. – when you live outside of the United States – can feel overwhelming. You may have questions such as: Why should I come all the way to the US for surrogacy? What do I need to know as an international intended parent? How do I get my baby home?

We spoke with Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation who has been working with international gay parents for over two decades. Circle Surrogacy was founded by a gay dad and lawyer, and is the most successful surrogacy agency with a full legal team on staff who are experts working with international parents.

Keep reading... Show less
Coming Out

My Gay Shame Is Officially Cancelled

After years of feeling ashamed of being gay, David Blacker has finally overcome it. And his son had a lot to do with it.

Scrolling through my social media feeds, reading all the posts about National Coming Out Day reminds me just how valuable it is for us to share our stories and be as open, vulnerable and authentic as possible. Warning: this article is about to get real AF, so now might be a good time to switch back to the Face-Aging app that gives Russia all your personal data.

Oh good, you stayed. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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