Last year on June 1st I wrote a blog about how my son wrote a paper for English when he was 15 that said he thought his “gay mom was cool”. Although I wrote the blog last year, the event happened when my son was 15 which was three years prior. A LOT has happened since he was 15. He is 19 now.
When my partner Karol and I first decided to join our families together it was not without some concerns and worries. Worry about what the kids would think, worry about Karol’s job (she was on Active Duty in the era of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), worries about what the community would think, worries about what our families would think (her family didn’t know), and others. What we found were that some of those concerns were very valid, and some weren’t as big a deal as we thought they would be.
When we came together as a family our kids were 13, 11, 8 and 6. Our main concern was the oldest, as she had already started rebelling and was NOT happy about another adult in her life “telling her what to do”. The boys were not as complicated and didn’t seem to care at all.
Fast forward 11 years. The kids are now 23, 21, 19 and 16. Looking back on the way our family has evolved I can tell you there were good years and not so good years. Our daughter did end up moving out to go live with her dad for a few years to avoid “a new adult telling her what to do”, and that ended up being a disaster. Her father was a very ineffective parent and Karol still ended up doing more of the parenting but now she was fighting against her ex husband AND his wife as well as a rebellious teenager. Those were some of the not so good years. Then she ended up having to come live with us her senior year because her father “didn’t want to deal with her crap anymore”, and that was another not so good year.
The boys never really gave us the same problems, and living with them was not perfect, but definitely not as problematic as the oldest.
However, even in all of that drama and family conflict we had lots and lots of fun! We vacationed together, and laughed and played, and went to high school graduations, and proms, and all of the things many many other families do.
As I have talked more with other parents about our family struggles I have come to realize that LOTS of other families had trouble with one or more of their kids. And not gay families, but straight families. And not just step families, but also all biological families. And not just girls or the oldest, or the whatever.
ALL families have some complications, or stress, or a kid that acts out, or fails a grade, or smokes weed, or gets in trouble at school, or cracks up the car, or rebels, or a million other things that kids do and families deal with. Death, divorce, drama, fights, sorrows, joys, etc.
I guess my point is that ALL families are essentially more the same than different. So on this LGBTQ Family Day I want to say that what I have learned in the past 12 years of raising my family, is that we are the same as a million other families out there, and the fact that this family has two moms only adds to the ways in which we are the same as many many other families out there. Because when you drill down to what makes a family it is love, and overcoming obstacles and dealing with “stuff”, and in the end being there for each other. A family is not about biology, but about love!
And to be honest, my “family” is much more than my partner and kids! I have people in my life I call my “chosen” family. Women I consider sisters, men I consider brothers, and many kids I love to pieces!!
They are my family, and I am so blessed to have them!!