The Mommy Particle
It is a blind spot hidden in the minds of most gay families. In ours, it’s not, “Who’s your daddy?” It’s, “Who’s your mommy?” I should have known the universe was preparing us for the penultimate question when a school parent said she “wanted to talk to us” about “something.” Her son recently asked about Gregory having 2 daddies and wanted to make sure she “answered it correctly.”
The next unsettling event occurred when the quietest and meekest kid approaches me in class and nonchalantly asks, “Hey, does, Liliana have a mommy?” I mean really! They just turned 5. Hours later, our most verbal child, Gregory gets into his car seat and the barrage of questions begin. “Papa, do I have a mommy? I want a Mommy?” and on and on. As a gay parent, I thought this would be a conversation on a cold night around Christmas time, huddled by a fire. But no, it was riding in an SUV with our little ones strapped in the back peppering us with probing questions, which was making me dizzy. Thank goodness Michael was there to help.
We explained it in simple terms to the kids like this:
1. You have 2 daddies
2. Some families have 1 mommy others have 2 mommies
3. Some families have 1 daddy others have 2 daddies
4. While others have 1 daddy or 1 mommy or only 1 daddy and 1 mommy.
To put it into better perspective, I explained that a mommy and a grandmother raised me but no daddy. I turned out just fine. As a child who was raised in a non-traditional household, I can speak with confidence that it doesn’t matter who you came out of – it’s who raises you. I remember standing at my Bar Mitzvah in front of the Bema in Synagogue waiting for my biological father to appear. My eyes scanned the crowd for several minutes – I saw my friends seated in the back rows giggling, my grandmother and mother in tears in the front row – but my father absent from this seminal event – the entry into Jewish manhood. It sucked – but I turned out fine. In fact, it was my friend’s dad who taught me how to pitch in baseball, and I was a starter for little league. My uncle taught me how to water-ski. My grandmother taught me how to cook and make something out of nothing in the kitchen. And through it all, my mother guided me and ensured I had a safe place in this world. When Hilary Clinton wrote it “takes a village” – she was right – what she didn’t say was that it takes a village of straight men and women, or 2 mommies or 2 daddies.
It just takes people who cherish and nurture each other – and that is what we taught our children that day in the car.
What about you, have you had to deal with difficult questions from your little ones? How did you handle them?
Bennett Cunningham is a Bankruptcy Attorney licensed in Texas and is a former investigative reporter for KTVT (CBS station) in Dallas. Bennett has garnered 7 Regional Emmy Awards, including the Best Investigative Reporter in Texas 2 years in a row, as well as several National Awards for his exposés into the mismanagement of taxpayer dollars and government waste. Bennett is also admitted to practice in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas and the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Texas. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney’s and the American Bar Association – and most importantly, a stay-at-home dad.