unFather’s Day

(or Why I Hate the Hallmark Holidays)

You may be wondering why the divergence into motherhood.

I wondered that too, as I looked at the stories and themes that I wanted to commit to writing, instead of just let swirl around in my head.

For me, motherhood and my coming out process are intractably linked.  Becoming a mother made me face, head-on, all that I had buried and repressed after I came out.

It was one thing for my parents to treat me badly.  It was less tolerable for them to treat me and my wife badly.  And it was completely unacceptable for them to treat my children badly, or to fail to acknowledge us as a legitimate family, or to see my marriage as “real,” or to belittle or demean me in front of my kids.  It was a whole new ballgame.

Some of my parents’ behaviors are conscious.  Many are unconscious and just the product of societal and religious prejudices.  Either way, it’s toxic.

And so I find days like today, those Hallmark holidays in our calendar, particularly hard to endure.

Continue reading “unFather’s Day”

Through The Eyes of a Child

(or The Things My Kids Say)

One of the things I have most enjoyed about motherhood is the chance to experience life through the eyes of a child.

To them, the world is a mystery, one great big never-ending science experiment.  Every day brings something new and exciting.  Discoveries lurk at every corner.

(Although, I think we’ve proven more times that necessary that, yes, dog food does in fact float.)

I’ve loved watching the development of language, as gurgles and coos give way to words.  It’s enlightening to witness them navigate the English language, especially as they encounter and react to all of the “exceptions to the rule” in our language.  You can hear them apply the rule, and then watch their little face scrunch up as they realize it doesn’t sound right, and then try to figure out what went wrong with their logic.  I reluctantly correct them because their mistakes are often so adorable:

T(wo): What did we do on my 2th birthday?  What about on my 3th birthday?

It is particularly interesting to watch them find their own voices in this Digital Age.  For them, there has always been the internet, iPhones, iPads, Amazon Prime, On Demand TV, Google, YouTube, Facebook (I’ve stopped trying to get baby books made – it’s all documented on Facebook anyways!).

Continue reading “Through The Eyes of a Child”

Dear New Mother

(or What I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Had Kids)

You are embarking on the most amazing journey, one that will irrevocably change who you are and your relationships to most things, hopefully for the better.  Children provide such windows and mirrors to our true selves, and I don’t think you can help but being changed by that.

A friend recently surmised parenthood with the expression “Don’t Blink.”

A random stranger in London once said to me “the days are long but the years are short.”  I don’t know what he saw on my face to know that I needed to hear those reassuring words, probably a combination of sheer exhaustion, jet-lag and being at my wits-end!

I know everyone says that it goes fast, but it really does.  Each stage comes with its own set of adventures, discoveries and challenges.  Each stage is different, some more difficult or enjoyable than others.

Continue reading “Dear New Mother”

Time Warp

(or Why I Hate the Buzzer)

I hate the therapy buzzer.  There, I said it.

Nothing quite says “time’s up” like the disruptive sound of a buzzer.  Wrap it up, move along, the next person is waiting.

My therapist is terrible at keeping time.  This is kind of a liability for a therapist.

I noticed the absence of any clock in her office the first time we met.  Most therapists seem to have at least two – one for them, one for you.

I asked her about this: “Are you the keeper of the time?”  To which she replied, “I am the Time Keeper!”

Frankly, I’m relieved that there is no clock in sight.  It takes the pressure off.

However, I don’t think she answered the question fairly.  It is her job to keep track of time, but she’s so bad at it, she really could use some help.

Time seems to be such a part of the therapy frame.  45 minutes.  Not a minute more or less. It’s the part of the frame that I most struggle with, the part that I rail against the most.

Continue reading “Time Warp”

The unEthicist

(or How the Ethicist Got It Wrong)

For as long as we’ve subscribed to the New York Times, I’ve always enjoyed reading the Ethicist column on Saturday mornings.  Perhaps, I now realize, I didn’t enjoy the actual column as much as I enjoyed the insight of then-Ethicist Chuck Klosterman.  Since I first started reading, my beloved column has undergone a transformation, first becoming a short-lived podcast and now in the hands of Kwame Anthony Appiah, a professor of philosophy at N.Y.U.

This past Saturday, when I finally had a chance to sit down and peruse the day’s edition, I first turned to the column in the magazine, as I usually do.  Sometimes it’s the only column I get to read, uninterrupted.  The first letter was from “Name Withheld,” a gay man, who asked “How do I explain to my Evangelical Relatives why I avoid family functions?”  I delved into the Ethicist’s response with enthusiasm, thinking that perhaps this was my answer: I could simply rip out this column, letter and answer in all, and send it to my parents.  I was hopeful that the Ethicist would be able to explain exactly why I felt it so hard to attend family functions, and why it was not selfish, but rather self-preserving, that I distance myself from them and their toxicity.

Continue reading “The unEthicist”