Sunday, September 10, 2006

The New World

History, Part 8 of 8

Okay… We eventually decided we should look for an option other than a Utah adoption. While we could do it with only one of us as a legal parent, it seemed and seems we both should be bound to the children we’d be raising, and so we found an option where that would be possible…

From here, I must be discrete for a couple reasons. Yep, I’m chickening out, the local and popular “pro-family” politics meaning the opposite and all. If you want to know how it’s done exactly, there’s a lot of info on the different options on the web.

What can I say, though? I’ll say as much as I can, as I’d hope to do my bit to explain to childless gays what it’s like (not only for their interest in becoming parents, but for their understanding of the gay fathers they might advise to “just leave your wife”). Besides, it is what I like to go on and on about most :-).

From the time we figured out what we were doing, to the birth of our boys, it was just over 2 years. These were two very amazing and trying years. We had setbacks that mark this period near the top in stress and sadness; we leaned each other and they passed. But we also had joys that easily make all stress and sadness seem trivial.

It’s hard to explain, but, before our boys had life by anyone’s definition, we fell in love with them, whoever they would be (or how many :-)). As the process progressed, our lives became more and more about inevitable them. We turned a guest room into a nursery, way too soon. We painted their bookshelves five shades of blue until we thought it was right, and bought the rocking chair that would become our best semi-inanimate friend.

And we waited, and waited, our whole world suspended in anticipation.

Then, finally, one summer’s night came and went, and the next sun I saw might as well have been an entirely new sun, one that had an aspect I’d never known. The whole world, in fact, may as well have been replaced; everything, everyone was changed. We were the parents of two beautiful baby boys, twins.

My world was suddenly their world; what I once owned, I now rented. I had a career I respected, but it became just another thing I do for them, until I can go home to see them. My life was suddenly a cog in their life.

My parents? Now their grandparents. My marriage, our marriage, was suddenly their family, and all those promises we made became promises made to them as well. We named them and they named us. I became “Papa”, and to remember what it was to not be a father became akin to remembering another’s life.

Did I make the point? :-) Everything changed. Years had been building to that moment, meant for that moment, and then it was a quantum leap. I’ve never felt so amazed, surrendered and determined at once, than when I first saw them.

I thought I knew all about love; I thought I knew what my parents felt for me. But I didn’t know a parent’s love, and it knocked us silly.

Much has happened since then. There are about 4 months I don’t quite remember :-). If one of our boys wasn’t up at night, it seemed the other was. We’d walk what seemed to be miles each night through our home. That was the only time in my life I’ve accidentally fallen asleep (sitting in a chair, chatting with guests, no less).

Still, every infant I see even today can’t help but make me think of those sleepless months fondly. I remember watching them kick and babble, and being brought to tears with their beauty, with what they meant, with how powerless and strong they made me at once. I remember breathing in time with them, as I’d lay blissfully trapped, as they’d nap on my chest. It was a wonderful, if not dream-like period.

The years since have flown by too fast. Each phase of their childhood seems to pass before I can grasp it fully. But the joys are replaced with joys. Their first smile, their first words (I’m Pop or Papa, but it was “Dad” for both of them, Grrr). They learned to walk, talk, count, share, and so on. We learned right along with them.

Today, they are becoming my little kids. They aren’t babies anymore, and they’re leaving toddlerhood behind. I can now see hints of the men they’ll be on their innocent little faces; it’s wonderful and scary to think of how quickly they’re growing. They’re already planning their careers, “lumber jack” and “mailman or scientist” :-). It seems to me they couldn’t have more different personalities, but that too is a treat.

We’re teaching them how to read now, do simple math, and I’m answering innumerable “why” questions, some of which go far beyond my scientific knowledge and/or my philosophical expertise (I do my best, though :-)). They love swimming, and playing in our yard; they love their dog, their friends and family, and, now, their school. They very much love their grandparent, and they are very happy grandparents at that (I think they’d written us off as a source for grandkids :-)). I know I’ve gotten off on my favorite tangent here and a bit too emotional, but, simply, our boys are our two greatest joys, motivators, and responsibilities.

One last thing here. My R, Dad, stays home with them, and I couldn’t be more grateful for what he does for us all. In just this week I’ve come home to homemade peach pie, chili sauce, raspberry jam, “twinkies”, and I’m sure I’m forgetting something. He keeps our home cozy, clean, and welcoming, and takes our boys on all sorts of excursions (And my doctor wants to know how I know he’s faithful?! He hasn’t the time :-), let alone character). I take care of them in the mornings, letting him sleep in, and I’m the main play toy at night, but he’s there with them near all the time. I am eternally grateful (and jealous :-)).

10 comments:

-L- said...

What a wonderful post. I can't really imagine twins (although we have several sets in our extended family). One has been so challenging and rewarding that I think two at a time would do us in.

I'm glad you have such a wonderful domestic situation, and I'm glad that you are willing to share it as an ideal for gay men to aspire to. I don't think you mean it that way exactly, but that's how I view it.

And as for being unable to answer their science and philosophy questions... ha!

Scot said...

“I can't really imagine twins”

Other parents of multiples tell me it’s best to just not know any different, and have your singletons after your multiples, so watch out. But since we did have our “practice baby” I think we knew a bit too much ;-).

"I'm glad you have such a wonderful domestic situation, and I'm glad that you are willing to share it as an ideal for gay men to aspire to. I don't think you mean it that way exactly, but that's how I view it."

Oh no, please, aspire to my example ;-P.

As you probably know all too well, they can aspire or revile (I’ll get to that); that’s nothing to be controlled. But, besides the joy in yammering on about what makes one happy, I do think it’s practically important to be counted, not simply assumed away into the “gay lifestyle”. It’s easy to keep health, and SS benefits away from stay-at-home parents, when you don’t think they exist.

I do also think it’s important for gay kids wanting a particular sort of life to know all the options they have, from yours to mine and those not even between (I bet we look more similar in our everyday living than we would with your average gay man :-)).

” And as for being unable to answer their science and philosophy questions... ha!”

Isn’t it humbling to know how quickly the great intractable philosophical questions come up? It doesn’t take too many whys to get to something near “why is there something rather than nothing?”

-L- said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
-L- said...

Scot, you are a kindred spirit (to borrow the most apt but gay phrase I can think of). Or, at least your sons are! Asking something like "why is there something rather than nothing" is precisely the kind of subject I would love to discuss... or try.

But I think you misinterpreted my "ha!" What I actually meant was that you seem more than capable of dealing with any philosophical topic that ends up being dished out.

I have a good friend (although I haven't seen him in about a year) with triplets. They would be about my son's age now: 27 months. Oh boy.

Scot said...

Ah, wouldn’t it be nice, L, if we could just have blogs where there was nothing to debate but why something rather than nothing, and the rest of the time we’d just go on and on about our kids and home?

And yes, my kids stump me often :-). I can do the “Why is the sky blue?”, but then it goes on to “what’s an orbital?”, “what’s energy?”, “What’s…?”

Foxx said...

I read your history and it matches quite closely with the future I project for myself. I find it so beautiful that I could cry, especially since I've found someone to share that dream of a future with.

mark said...

Scot

I just read through your family background posts. Thank you for posting these. Your experience gives me some hope that maybe I will be able to find the same sort of partner someday with the same type of values. I expect it to be hard...I'm 41, out only a few years, and feeling a bit at sea in the midst of the gay dating world. But your story reminds me that there are others who have made it, so maybe I can too.

Scot said...

Mark,

I don’t know how much help it is to say, but I run into folks expressing almost the same thing quite often; they’re out there (maybe I should start a gay dating service for only those looking for a lifelong commitment :-)). The biggest trouble seems to be what you say: most of them do feel “a bit at sea in the midst of the gay dating world” and so it’s naturally difficult to find each other.

I wish I had some better insight, but it’s been a long time; we didn’t even have the internet when we found each other :-). I’d lean to thinking a good way to find someone would be to get involved in the political or charitable wings of the community. You’d meet a lot of people and most of them not in the stereotypical dating scene, not to mention genuinely concerned for families and gay youth and I think that may translate into holding similar values (at least it seems to in my observations). But again, I’m not sure.

Nayana Anthony said...

I randomly stumbled on your blog, read your "history", and was touched beyond words. I'm so happy for you, that you've found love and a beautiful family in spite of (some people in) society's expectations.

Congratulations.

Scot said...

Thanks Nayana. Nice of you to say.