The Next Family: How did you start your family?
Meg: After our 10 years together and immeasurable amounts of fun, Missy really wanted to be a mom and both of us love children, so it was a no-brainer to start our journey into motherhood. We read everything we could get our hands on at the time (2000), which wasn’t a lot 16 years ago. We decided on insemination and started the process of finding out what was available for us on the eastern shores of rural Maryland. We were given a list of possible donors, which gave us information on heritage, height, eye color, occupation at time of donation, blood type, and if the donor had a history of sexually transmitted diseases. Missy and I had already decided that we wanted a donor that was close to my ethnic background — why this was important we can’t remember. Also thrown into the mix is the fact that my wife is Rh negative, which limited our choices to Rh-negative donors (15% of the population). We had picked out our baby names for a boy or girl and chose not to know the sex until delivery day (which really pisses people off). Finally we both agreed on a donor and on the second try our baby Mikayla became a reality.
The Next Family: How did you meet your partner?
Meg: My wife and I met by chance when friends in desperation asked us both to play on their softball team (Jamestown, New York, 1992).
The Next Family: Did you always want to have kids?
Meg: Honestly, when we started dating I don’t think we thought about children too much. We were both professionals in our twenties, just wanting to have fun and enjoy each others company. Then as one year led to 3 years, led to 6 years, we both started thinking more about having children. We were finally ready to settle down. We bought a house in the area we wanted to live and we were now prepared to be seriously responsible for more than just our dogs.
The Next Family: Where do you live?
Meg: We live at the beach, in Berlin, on the eastern shores of Maryland. It’s just such a beautiful area and we are very fortunate to be able to raise our daughter Mikayla in such a diverse area.
The Next Family: What is the greatest (and toughest) thing about being a parent?
Meg: Oh, the love we have experienced as parents has to be the greatest gift. It has brought my wife and I closer than I thought possible. We totally have to work together each and everyday to make sure Mikayla is taken care of. Now, that’s not to say that we always agree and that can be tricky to navigate but we rarely argue. I think before Mikayla was born our roles as parents were already defined. Missy is the mom of happiness, joy and fun, and I’m the mom of rules, regulations and guidance with fun on the side.
The toughest thing about being a parent is wondering if we are doing the right thing for Mikayla each and everyday. Are we providing Mikayla with opportunities to help mold her into a well-rounded kind-hearted person? Are we sending her to the right school and pointing her in the right direction? Are we giving her the space to grow in her own way, and enabling her to function in the world?
The Next Family: Does your family feel adversity?
Meg: We do feel adversity. Sometimes it’s subtle and sometimes not, but it is getting better. Our family is pretty laidback, when we are confronted with discrimination/adversity. We work together to manage it. However, an example of not so subtle discrimination was when my wife first became pregnant with our daughter, she was asked by her boss to go in front of the board at her job and explain how and why she became pregnant. Crazy, right!
Of course she didn’t say her and her partner had finally decided to start a family (pick your battles), this is the South after all! Happily this has changed dramatically with new management and new thinking. Consequently, Mikayla attended Catholic school from Pre-K to 8th grade and we only felt adversity a few times, once early on in kindergarten when a parent didn’t want there child playing with Mikayla. We learned later on that the teacher told the parent that Mikayla had the same right to be there as their child. Once a parent asked me to help with the sports program. When I explained that I didn’t really know anything about sports but was willing to help, she looked at me in surprise, like “you’re a lesbian, why don’t you know about sports?” That was really funny! 😉
It’s also humorous when parents’ get confused and can’t remember who Meg is and who Missy is. We totally look nothing alike. Another problem was my mother trying to pass Missy and I off as sister. This was way too weird indeed, and it took time to try erasing her years of brain washing. It’s still not complete, but it’s a work in progress. It’s interesting to note that my father never had these problems.
Once Mikayla started walking and talking, every kid or adult she met at the park knew that Mikayla had two moms. My wife also started different clubs for kids in our community because there weren’t any, mostly a retirement area back then. Through these clubs we met a lot of families, introduced our family, and helped educate/open minds by being involved.
The Next Family: Do you have any advice for LGBTQI+ youth?
Meg: The world has grown so much from when I was in the closet in my youth. I never imagined that it would be legal for me to marry the woman I love. I never dreamed that I would have a child that I loved more than myself. I never believed that I would be accepted in my community. So don’t give in or give up on who you are, be yourself always, things change!
Missy: Be yourself and know who your real friends are, they will stick by you no matter what. Pay attention to the red flags that you feel inside. If you feel stressed, please talk to a trusted adult.
The Next Family: What’s one life lesson you want to teach your children?
No matter what happens we will always be there to support you. Missy and I always let Mikayla know that she can talk to us about anything no matter what the challenge.