As the stay-at-home part of our relationship, my partner is on a much needed weekend vacation with friends. Which led me to taking Monday off of work to stay home with our children. Realizing that I wouldn’t have enough supplies to last the weekend, I took the rugrats to Whole Foods Market.
There, I was engaged by a young twenty-something gal after my almost-three year old said “S’cuse me” while attempting to get by her.
“Your kids are so sweet” she said.
My one-year old son must have heard her, because he looked directly into her eyes and flashed her his biggest smile.
“Thanks” I replied.
She then offered “You gays make the best Dads.”
I stood there for a second, wide eyed, trying to figure out if her statement was a slight.
Sensing my confusion she smiled and continued. “And I should know, my brother and I were adopted by two gay men”
Realizing she was being genuine, I asked “So what gave me away?”
“Oh I’ve been watching you around the store. You are just like my Dads. You kiss your kids and hug them in public. Straight dads never do that. And also the way you talk to them, like they are people. That is exactly how my Dads spoke to us.”
“Well, I do love my kids and I don’t mind showing it.” chuckling while I spoke. Then I asked “Hey let me ask you, how do you think you and your brother turned out? Was it hard having two Dads?”
“Oh no” she said. “We would have been lost in the system, probably separated and who knows what else. Obviously we got teased a bit, my brother worse than myself, but our Dads were the best thing to happen to us.” And from her sharing, I could feel myself getting choked up, my eyes just a wee bit misty.
In a society that is still scared of Homosexuals, let alone Gay fathers, it was evident that she saw her parents as people, mentors, and guardians. And she was advocating on their behalf.
It was at this time that she looked closer at my kids. Then she wondered allowed. “For being adopted, your kids sure do look like you.”
“Uh oh” I thought. “I’m in too deep. My mischievous side has gotten me into trouble yet again!”
But then I saw a way out, a way in which I didn’t have to completely confess, but also didn’t have to lie. And so I conjured “Well I’m the biological father actually. I know a real nice gal who loves me and was willing to carry and give birth to these two.”
“My how times have changed!” she said with a smirk “It’s not your traditional two-gay-men-adopt-two-foster-care-children type of world any more”
We both laughed pretty hard at her wit. Then we said our goodbyes, Gracie gave her a high-five, and we went on to do our shopping.
I thought about this exchange all the way home. Wondering if I’ve been too closed minded to consider what Gay Dads could teach Straight Dads. Wondering what could be learned. Whatever differing pieces of knowledge either parenteral archetype may possess, it was apparent that the woman really loved her Dads.
And as I tucked my kids into bed for their midday nap, I realized I was honored to be compared to two men that had shaped and changed this young lady’s life, and whom she still loved and held in such high esteem. I couldn’t have asked for a better compliment.