The Missing Piece

(or Simple Questions, Complicated Answers)

People can ask the darnedest questions.  I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve been asked “Are you going to have a third?” or “Do you want to try for a daughter?”  Usually this comes in the form of idle small-talk and meaningless banter.  I have to hope that the questioners are just naive, and that they haven’t given much thought to the myriad of ways one could answer these seemingly innocent questions.

No matter how often it happens, it always takes my breath away, even for just a minute.  My heart wrenches, a sadness overwhelms me.  I might pause for a minute to think about how to respond – or how I would like to respond.  I usually defer to simple answers: “oh, I think we’re done” or maybe even “you never know.”

Truth is we already have a third child, a daughter.  She was our first and had to leave this human realm before we even had a chance to hold her.  She wouldn’t have survived here on earth, but I have to think she is somewhere, without pain, in the great beyond.

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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.

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The Worst Day of My Life

(or How I Lost My Family)

If I’m going to let you into my garden, I guess I should tell you why I had to close it off in the first place.

It wasn’t always this way.  I used to have a lot to say.  In fact, once upon a time, I talked so much and so loudly that my parents thought it was funny (not to mention shaming) to call me the “Mouth of the South.”

That label, in and of itself, probably shut me up.  And in time, I started to realize that I was different from my family.  I share an uncanny physical resemblance to my family of origin, but that’s where the similarities and connections end.

So at some point I just stopped talking.  No one was listening anyways.  No one understood me.

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