Thursday, April 17, 2008

Helping Hands

I’ve been a single parent for the past couple days. Rob has gone back down to Moab to take care of his aunt. She has just had some pretty serious surgery, serious physically and emotionally, and we’re very glad to lend a hand.

Man, each time I do double duty I’m left with a great respect for those who do it everyday, such as this amazing guy. I’m left with that respect, and an equally great desire for my man back and a nap. Between school, soccer practice, dinner, laundry, a traumatic scare that the dog may have eaten the parakeet (who was just hiding in a house plant), and someone getting a nightmare and deciding to sleep in my bed, in which he promptly peed, well, I’m pining for Rob’s return.

Is it just me or are gays the go-to general caretakers of their families? We nursed Rob’s parents back to health over months after a vehicle accident; it just seemed like a forgone conclusion that we were to take on that job. Before children, we’ve taken in wayward teens from our families in hopes of setting them straight, so to speak. Heck, our two best gay friends both have moved their parents in with their families to care for them in their old age. None of our other friends have done so. Though there are many other siblings, aunts and so on who could and do help, it kind of is a traditional role for gays, who historically didn’t have children of their own to care for, isn’t it? It does make evolutionary sense, in a way, particularly when you consider the Fraternal Birth Order Effect.

Even though we are parents, stepping in such situations still somehow just feels like our place. And don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we can… I just miss my man.

It was a cute surprise. He left notes on all our pillows, to find the night after he left. Most of my letter’s contents are personal :-), but he did write something that got me thinking on this. With his back and my hand we’ve taken turns being very reliant on each other lately, and it isn’t the first or last time. This aunt he’s caring for is divorced and has no children. She’s a great woman, I love her a lot and our boys simply adore her, but how difficult and unnerving must it be to be in that position? Your family members all have their own spouses and children to care for and, in turn, to care for them, and not everyone has a gay nephew as wonderful as my Rob (he said he’s not going to read my blog anymore so that I’d feel free to write nice stuff about him in public :-)).


I guess I worry about a lot of things regarding my family. What law will they try to pass against us next legislative session? What bullies will our boys encounter? What happens to our estate if I die too soon, in, say, an accident? But what I don’t worry a bit about is who will care for me once time has its way and my body begins to deteriorate. I’m indescribably grateful to know, right now, there would be at least three pairs of hands to hold by my bedside.

I just want one of those pairs of hands to get home soon!

6 comments:

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

Hey Scot, if you need any help at all with anything, the kids, cooking, cleaning, I'd be more than happy to help out. I'm just sitting at home this week all alone with not much to do until Andrew moves in, so let me know!

Cooper said...

Thanks, Scot. I am the very first to admit that single parenthood isn't easy. I hope one day to be blessed with a husband who is as cherishing of that role as your Rob seems to be. However, as that hasn't happened yet, I take it moment by moment ... literally. Courage, grace and a whole lot of humour are important ingredients. Those and love, of course. Also, somehow I seem to grow a miraculous second pair of hands at times.

I agree with you. It does seem like we gays do take on caretaker roles within our families. I had dinner the other evening with my good friend Paul, whose husband David is presently away looking after his mother who recently had a hip replacement. Note, David has two siblings, but he is the one who has taken on this role.

I worry for my sons because apart from me they have no immediate family. My grandparents and mother have all passed away and I am an only child. I have arranged guardianship for them, and feel profound gratitude that my wonderful friends have stepped into the role of surrogate uncles and aunts.

By the way, after seeing your pictures and reading about your experiences, I hope next year to take my sons on one of those Rosie family cruises.

Java said...

I'm chuckling here, 'cause I'm writing this from my Mama's house in Orlando. She had surgery on her ankle last Friday. Her sister has been here until today, and I'm here now for the next... I don't know how long. Probably about a week, give or take.

Superman is home single-parenting. He doesn't do well when I'm gone. He gets sick. Just about every time. It gets very aggravating! He's got stomach ick right now. Sigh!

I'm with you, having great respect for Cooper. As hard as it is to parent, I can't imagine what it would be like alone.

I think in any healthy long term relationship there are going to be times when one partner depends on the other for a lot of support without a lot of return. When I had my babies I was out of commission for practically everything except the baby for a while.

Don't you love it when they climb into bed to snuggle then pee? It's worse when they throw up. They don't advertise this aspect of parenting in the brochure, do they?

Coop, have you been barfed on yet?

Cooper said...

Java, oh yeah, I sure have been barfed on! You obviously haven't read my big barf entry! It's not for the faint of heart. :)

http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=2457307088529072409&postID=5141854416055220251

Scot said...

Sorry it took me so long to get reply, been hectic :-).

Craig, that is too nice of you to offer. Rob actually got home today and the house wasn’t a total disaster, but let’s still try to get together. I held off watching the last episode of bsg, if you haven’t seen it. Let me talk to Rob and I’ll call.

Cooper: However, as that hasn't happened yet, I take it moment by moment ... literally.

By your blog you remind me a lot of one of our close friends: a single gay man, a great dad, with two adopted children. It was tough for him to find somebody, as, being a parent, he had to be extra particular and a lot of men he’d date hadn’t thought much about being a parent. I’m sure it isn’t easy. But they’re out there; I know as our friend recently found a great guy, who his kids adore. Here’s to that happening for you in one of the next moments :-).

I hope next year to take my sons on one of those Rosie family cruises.

Let me know. We’ll be skipping the one this July and probably be going next year to Alaska again. We already went a couple years ago but it was my favorite of them.

Java: He gets sick.

Man, I should try that :-).

They don't advertise this aspect of parenting in the brochure, do they?

Civilization would end ;-). It’s actually kind of funny how much such doesn’t bother when it comes out of your kids. The last time I was vomited on was in Costco. I was holding Brian and without warning I felt him contract. My impulse: catch it on my shirt, so we could get out quick and I’d not have to clean the floor. And that’s what I did without a thought of “gross”. I used to be a neat freak :-).

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

Craig, that is too nice of you to offer. Rob actually got home today and the house wasn’t a total disaster, but let’s still try to get together. I held off watching the last episode of bsg, if you haven’t seen it. Let me talk to Rob and I’ll call.

I'm glad Rob's home now. And I was sort of being selfish when I offered to help you. I was bored, and wanted something to do!

I did watch the last episode of BSG, oh man was it good! I still don't have TV, so I went over to a friend's to watch it. I'd sure be willing to watch it again though!