Many years ago, when Karol and I started dating we had to keep everything hush hush. She was still on Active Duty in the Navy, it was 2004, and at that time the policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was alive and well. Plus I had recently divorced my husband, and was worried about letting my children, who were 5 and 7 at the time to know I was in a relationship with her. They knew we were best friends, and I decided to leave it at that.
She was stationed near Philadelphia with her kids, and my kids and I lived here in Hampton Roads Virginia. In 2006 she was up for orders, and (thankfully) came back to this area, and we bought a house together. When we bought the house, we had still not “told” our kids we were in a relationship, (we explained that we shared a room when we visited each other because we didn’t have a “spare” bedroom at each house), and we decided it was best for each of us to have our own bedroom.
So we had these clandestine “midnight” visits, after which I would sneak back to my room or she would sneak back to hers before the kids woke up. Neither of us was “out” at our jobs, but we were to our close friends. Looking back on it I think we were crazy, but it worked at the time, and I suppose it made things easier for the children to get used to living with new people.
We decided after living together for a year we would tell the children that we were actually a couple. I was totally worried and stressed about it, and when I told them, they were like, “Um, we have known forever Mom.” They were okay with me being in a relationship with a woman, and I was amazed and overjoyed! We had actually prepared ourselves for the worst and realized we may need to sell our house and live apart if our kids freaked out. Our number one priority was the children and how they would feel about our relationship.
Because I had been in a “traditional” marriage when my children were young I never forced the issue about them saying anything about Karol and my relationship to any adults or to their friends. I always introduced Karol as my “friend”, and they did the same. I heard them call her “my mom’s friend” when talking about her to others.
When Zachary was about 15, he began telling people his mom was “bi”. Apparently people his age thought that was cool and I scored him some “cool points”. I suppose technically I am “bi” in his mind since I was married to his dad and am now with a woman. However, I don’t consider myself bisexual. To be honest I don’t even categorize myself, but if it made him feel comfortable, I was okay with him choosing a way to “describe” me.
Sometime during his Sophomore year, Karol brought me a paper that had Zack’s handwriting on it. “Uh oh”, I said. “Is this going to be bad?” (He was not the best student…) She said, “Just read it.” She had seen this paper lying on the dining room table near Zack’s book bag and picked it up and read it. She decided I should read it, and so she gave it to me. I held it in my hand and braced myself.
In his English class, he had been given an assignment to write about himself and his family. In his own handwriting I read, “I found out a few years ago my mom is in a same gendered relationship. I think that is cool. My mom is cool.”
I cried tears of joy. He thought I was cool! That is a pretty amazing thing for a mom of a teenager to be considered cool by her kid!
Zack is now 18, and all of his friends are very well aware of the fact that he has two moms. He calls Karol his “other mom”, and even gave her a “mother’s” pin after earning Eagle Scout.
I guess my worry was always misplaced. I /we should have given our kids more credit. To be honest three out of our four kids are completely accepting of us and they call us their “moms”. I will take it!