One toe in the pool

birthday

Ten days ago, I turned thirty. Earlier in my life, I thought I’d have a child of my own by now. Instead, we have 5 vials of semen cooling its heels at the bank, waiting for the arbitrary 6 month quarantine to be up.

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been trying to reframe my thinking. To be grateful for the friend that’s willing to get up at the crack of dawn and visit a sperm bank, where a man in a white coat keeps saying “specimint.” Trying to enjoy the (hopefully ) numbered days left of being a family of two. Well, two people and two cats, anyway.

During the holiday, I thought, if we’re lucky, M will be visibly pregnant by next Thanksgiving. By the one after, we’ll have a tiny one of our own to join the growing ranks of great-grandchildren. It’s really hard to imagine. Like Beginning From the Start talked about here, I don’t feel very much like an adult sometimes. Hell, it’s hard enough some weeks to make sure my wife and I eat some vegetables and have something clean to wear.

My parents were 20 and 21, respectively, when I was born. This makes me feel like I’m getting a late jump on the baby-making game, even though we’ll probably be among the first of our close friend group to reproduce. While we both have high school acquaintances working on second and third children, in our city, people tend to put off having kids until they are firmly in their third decade. We’ll be the ones to blaze the path, and hope our friends stick with us.

I’ve been holding the space for awhile here now. Relishing my fellow bloggers and the relief they give me, that I am not the only one sometimes feeling unmoored in this transition. I write snippets in my head all day long, but I haven’t made time to put them out into the world. Part of me didn’t want to start keeping this journal until we’d have real movement to report on. I think March will be here sooner than I expect, though.

With my wife leaving on a work trip this week, I’m trying to use the time to live the questions now and find my way onto a new path. (It may go without saying, but I’m hanging on to M! No change there.) I feel like I’m at a crossroads that will shape the next section of my life. Do I try and find a new job now, or hold onto the one I have with a good family leave policy? Are we going to be a city family forever, or move to a place with space and quiet? And what about the driver’s license I’ve yet to acquire?

I am so excited about taking on parenting with M, but I am worried that we are unprepared. I am caught between wanting to speed forward, and feeling that we don’t have all our ducks in a row. What did you do to ready yourself for parenthood?

National Coming Out Day

ImageThree weeks ago, we were married. It was a momentous day, and what gleams the most brightly in my memory is this:

When our fantastic best friend and officiant asked our crowd of friends and family if they would support us and help us in our marriage, she could barely finish the sentence before everyone erupted in cheers, whistles, and stomping.

At the end of the night, the last song the DJ played was a ukelele cover of “What a Wonderful World”. There was only a core group of long-time friends left, and they formed a circle around us and sang along. It was spontaneous and lovely.

Our family was there for us. We had such reservations about telling some of my wife’s family when we became engaged, but they stepped up to the plate and supported us. Relatives from Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina. Great uncles, grandparents, cousins, parents. They were there for us, for our wedding, not our gay wedding. Her grandpa and his brother even gave us an impromptu serenade!

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Our family cried and they hugged us and they were touched by our ceremony, which included a section about being married in an imperfect world, where many people don’t have more basic rights, let alone the right to marry. We gave our thanks to the generations before us, who had sacrificed so much, who had a much rougher time coming out but did it anyway. It would have been important to do that regardless, but it was especially so because my wife M’s uncles were in the crowd. They have been together for twenty-two years, and this was the first time her uncle brought his partner to a family event. They got married a few months ago when it became legal again in California. The night before our wedding, M’s family celebrated her uncles’ marriage. The same family who had been at arm’s length for twenty years.

Once her uncle found out M was in a queer relationship, he sent us a wonderful email with a picture of him and his husband when they meet in the eighties, and talking about their trips to New York, where we live now.  (These uncles told us that we are welcome to vacation with friends in their gay suburb of California, and they will leave because no one wants “weird old guys hanging around making eggs.” But I do! I want more stories of my city twenty years ago, and of their meeting, and of a long and happy relationship.) Our marriage, and our refusal to have a relationship that everyone knew about but never discussed, has to lead to changes. It lets me feel, just a little bit, like we are making things better for their generation, just like they did for us.

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I hope to take another photo here when we’ve been together as long as M’s uncles have.

We begin at the beginning

Detroit Annie, hitchhiking
by Judy Grahn

Her words pour out as if her throat were a broken
artery and her mind were cut-glass, carelessly handled.
You imagine her in a huge velvet hat with great
dangling black feathers,
but she shaves her head instead
and goes for three-day midnight walks.
Sometimes she goes down to the dock and dances
off the end of it, simply to prove her belief
that people who cannot walk on water
are phonies, or dead.
When she is cruel, she is very, very
cool and when she is kind she is lavish.
Fisherman think perhaps she’s a fish, but they’re all
fools. She figured out that the only way
to keep from being frozen was to
stay in motion, and long ago converted
most of her flesh into liquid. Now when she
smells danger, she spills herself all over,
like gasoline, and lights it.
She leaves the taste of salt and iron
under your tongue, but you dont mind
The common woman is as common
as the reddest wine