Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Is There Another Shoe?

We’ve known some of the kids in our boys’ class for about two years and know their parents as well. In turn they know our family. But, as the twins are in different classes this year, there are now some kids and parents we don’t know so well, and I’ve been worried how they’d react to our family.

We got another hint the other day when Rob and I decided to surprise the boys and meet them for lunch. This was the first time we’d both been there for lunch at the same time. I was sitting with Alan and Rob with Brian at first, as they eat with their classes at separate tables.

While Rob was eating he overheard a kid lean over to another boy and ask him who Rob was. The boy told him Rob was Brian’s dad. Confused, the first kid pointed across the room to me and said he thought I was Brian and Alan’s dad, as he’d sat next to me at lunch a week before.

Our boy’s friend just said as casually as anything, “He’s their papa. They have two dads.” And that was it. With an “oh” they were talking about something else.

If I’m to trust the word of their wonderful teachers during our recent conference, our boys are doing great, academically and socially. They are popular and loved. One’s picking up reading amazingly quick and the other is on schedule. The same goes with mathematics. (Man, kids learn a lot more and sooner nowadays; I can’t wait for the day they stump me :-).) I wonder if the teachers inadvertently try to tell us what we want to hear, but I know, in discussions with other parents, they can and do give warnings when other kids are in trouble. We’ve even been told “I only wish I had 1o others doing as well as he is,” at which I swelled :-).

I do, though, get worried, too worried apparently, that there will be some issue, some fight, some struggle for our boys when they meet up with the teachings of this conservative culture in their peers. However, that point is not here now, and seems to be retreating more quickly into the older generation than the speed at which our boys are growing into their own (and that seems so very fast!).

The culture really has changed dramatically for the better. With twins, it seems we go to a birthday party about every week. I know Bouncing off the Walls like the back of my hand. While at all these parties, everyone is quite nice, no cold shoulders. Heck, most of the time the birthday boy or girl’s family has their gay friend there helping out, or their lesbian sister, or what have you. Someone has already been there in their life, building those relationships between the gay and the conservative community that make the lives of our children that much easier here. It seems such involvement and openness has produced a real sea change here. I mean, think how things were in the suburbs of Utah only a decade ago.

But is it over? Can my children's generation just go on with an “oh” and get back to their lunch, as it were?

I know some parents who might have a problem with us are still trying to figure out how to discuss our family with their children and who knows where they’ll end up. There is the one boy in Brian’s class, from a conservative LDS family who keeps talking about heaven in school (which has led to some pretty funny conversations in our home, as Brian has confused the idea of Heaven being a fun place above us with his astronomy books and a bit of Super Mario Galaxy mixed in). This kid also told Brian the other day that two men could get legally married in Hawaii. Clearly his parents weren’t up on the actual law and only remember the controversy, but the important thing to me is that, even one of the most conservative family there, is trying. They are talking about it and apparently distinguishing between being married and legally married, which is fine by me. Everything has been respectful, and nothing has hurt our boy’s feelings, yet...

So, am I wasting time and energy waiting for the other shoe to drop, or best to be prepared anyway? I don’t know.

8 comments:

Abelard Enigma said...

I think your concerns are valid and it is something that needs to be continually monitored; however, I think it is wonderful that they are not having to deal with any homophobia yet.

What grade are your boys in? If it's going to happen, I suspect junior high (or middle school, whatever it is called in your neck of the woods) is when it will begin to arise. Based on my own experience raising children, it will be worst in junior high and then taper off, but not disappear entirely, through high school.

Mr. Fob said...

I think you should go for a preemptive strike--maybe toilet paper the other boy's house, or something. That's what I'd do.

Eleanor's Papa said...

I've mostly been amazed at how clueless folks are -- whenever we're feeling self conscious or militant we're reminded that humans are programmed to leap to statistically obvious solutions, and most of the time the second father has been subconsciously processed as "dad's buddy helping out."

I'm still waiting for our first ugly confrontation. I'm hoping it feels worse than "Oh, and you must be Eleanor's grandpa" did.

Scot said...

Abe:

They’re in kindergarten. I know, I’m worried a bit early, but we’ve known for almost 3 years the group of parents and kids in their school.

I agree on middle school. For that reason we chose a school that goes continuously from preschool to high school. I’m hoping the fact that most of the kids in their middle school class will never have a memory without our boys as their friends will cut trouble off at the bud. There will be few surprised parents or kids along the way and I hope we’ve enough time to work all the issues out with those we know (But I find myself pleasantly wondering where the issues are? :-)). Anyway, I hope it works.

Mr. Fob:

So you’re saying we should fight them over there so they don’t attack us here?

Sounds like a good idea.

Eleanor’s Papa:

Grandpa… ouch!

When we’re out for dinner we’ll sometimes get “Oh, how nice is it of you men to let your wives have the night off.” It doesn’t help that Brian looks like Rob and Alan looks like me; odd coincidence, that. But even after we explain, people have been great.

Still, I’m sure the news has spread to near every classmate’s family. There are only so many times a buddy would join you for Parent’s Day at your kid’s school :-).

Dave said...

I just came across your blog and you seem like a great role model for me. My boyfriend and I of two years are moving in together soon and one day we'd like to raise a family of our own. I'm excited to keep reading your blog!

Scot said...

Glad to meet you dave. I don’t know how much of a role model I can be, but I welcome another reader :-).

And when the time comes, feel free to ask us about the hows of becoming a gay parent. It can be complicated, but it’s not the most complicated part of being a parent :-).

Java said...

I wish for your family that you don't experience anything more stressfull than that little exchange between friends at the lunch table. That's my wish and my hope, though not my expectation.
Are you borrowing trouble by worrying about it now? I don't know. In my own struggles with non-traditional adoption issues I knew there would be conflicts and difficulties. But I had no idea what form they would take. My 2 adopted children are 10, in the 4th grade now. There is no way I could have prepared myself for the struggles we have now. I was clueless. And they aren't even in middle school yet. So I know it will continue to be hard and will probably get harder. We're dealing the best we can with today's problems. But aside from working on the current issues, I have no clue how to handle what may happen in the next 5 or 6 years. Most of the time I'm too caught up in today to worry about tomorrow.

Scot said...

Most of the time I'm too caught up in today to worry about tomorrow.

I hear ya... But I'll still find time to worry here and there :-).