Saturday, April 12, 2014

Does it really matter?

Our Family - L, C, R & Me
My adjustment to being an out and obviously queer parent, as opposed to being a passing-for-straight parent, has gone rather smoothly I'd like to think.  There have been a few shocked reactions from family and friends, some other reactions that were less than stellar, but for the most part the people in my life have taken matters in stride.  So what if I want to raise my kids with another woman, no biggie.  They can see that she loves them just as much as I do, so to them it makes no difference what her gender is.

People that we know are generally pretty awesome, and the important ones are totally supportive of our little family.  Every now and then though, we come across new folks.  The first meetings typically have people thinking L and I are sisters since we have the same general build and are both blonde and blue eyed.  Once we clarify for them, though, that we are a couple rather than siblings then that is when the questions start.  The question that is almost always the first to be asked is also the one that bothers me most:  "So, who's kids are they?"  Or, another variation that irks me, "Are you their real mom?"

Normally I stutter and stumble through answering that, because honestly there is no simple way to answer that without slighting L.  In all the ways that matter she is just as much their mother as I am.  Who cares if we weren't a couple when they were born, who cares if I was the one who pushed them out of my body instead of her, and who cares that, yes, they have a dad too and not just a sperm donor?  I mean really, in the grand scheme of things, why does any of that matter?  Not to mention, it isn't really their business anyway.

For the love of whatever you hold dear, people, please don't ask queer parents who the "real" parent is, or who the kids "belong to".  The people that you see with them, the people who are loving them and teaching them, playing with them and caring for their boo-boos, are the people who are parenting them.  It doesn't matter the technical relationship between the parent and the child, what matters is the work put into the relationship and, most of all, love.  Those parents could be one bio mom and one non-bio mom (like in our house), they could be the kids' uncle and his partner, they could be a blended family with kids from both partners, or they could be parents totally unrelated to the kids by blood because the children are adopted.  If the children are loved and well cared for, it really shouldn't make any difference who is parenting them.

L is just as much a real mother to C and R as I am; the only thing missing is genetics and legal paperwork.  And honestly those don't mean nearly as much as the love she and the kids share between them.  The next time somebody asks me who C and R's "real" mom is I'm not going to stumble anymore, the only answer they will get from me is, "Does it really matter?"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The heart of the matter.

Tomorrow is the big, terrifying, day.  No, not the wedding, that'll be in July.  Tomorrow is the day I go in for my angiogram to get a better look and what precisely is going on with my heart.  Its a relatively minor procedure as things go.  No big gaping wounds, no 4 day hospital stay to recover, just a little tube being shoved through my veins to my heart where they'll inject some dye into my heart and take pictures.

Ordinarily I'm all for taking pictures.  I'm a photographer by hobby after all and a camera (be it phone, real camera, or video camera that takes stills) is rarely found out of arms reach.  Unfortunately, these pictures aren't going to be the fun kind that show smiling kids or a pretty sunset.  These pictures are taking a look at my heart muscles and to see if by some off chance I have some blocked arteries.  If the docs could get the pictures without invading my body with more than an IV I'd be fine with the whole procedure, but as they have to sedate me, go inside my body directly to my heart, and inject stuff into my heart, I'm pretty well scared sh*tless.

But why am I scared if its such a minor procedure?  Because with a procedure like this there are risks.  Risks of me getting sick or something going wrong.  Risks of me not waking up.  I've got too much left to do with my life, too many days left that I want to love on L and C and R.  L and me are getting married this summer and my little dude just started basketball, and I haven't seen R dance ballet yet like she so dearly wants to do (thank you Nutcracker!).

Of all the things to be messed up in my body why does it have to be my heart?  The battery keeping my body running is defective and once its done so am I.  I wasn't even looking for it but I stumbled across a few articles, thanks to google's auto-suggest feature when you're doing a search, for the life expectancy of people with CHF and I nearly lost my cookies reading first one, then another in hopes that it'd contradict the first.  It didn't.  What they both said was, on average, once a person is diagnosed with CHF 10 years is about all they've got left.  The glimmer of hope I'm holding onto with every fiber of my being right now is that the articles never specified an age of the patients that they were referring to and most CHF patients are much older than me.

With all of those worries already weighing on my chest like a small elephant, there is another that is getting to me too.  L and I aren't yet married, she isn't legally my next of kin.  If something life-threatening were to happen to me she isn't the one that the doctors would tell what was going on.  She might not even be allowed in my room.  I'm so anxious about her not being able to be with me that its just escalating all those other fears and worries I've got right now.  I'm going to marry her in 6 months and 10 days, but she may not be able to be with me when I need her most because of stupid rules.

Right now what I need to do is go take a nice hot bath with my wonderfully smelling lilac candles from my BFF, and then try and enjoy the night with L because tomorrow morning is going to come way too soon.