By: K. Pearson Brown
Sometimes as a gay mom I feel I represent all gay moms, so I have to be careful, or else I can ruin it for everyone if I do something that would not make us all proud. Sort of like an ex of mine who took her freedom rings from around her neck and removed the inverted pink triangle button on her jean jacket (ok, it was in the 90s) because we were going to the store and she was not in full make-up and hair. She explained, I don’t want to be a bad lesbian. I get it now. So if one lesbian goes to Macy’s looking ragged, an unenlightened straight person might think, “That is how lesbians look.”
Same with being a gay mom. So if a rude kid at the park takes my son’s shovel from him in the sand pit, then I have to first put on my gay mom hat before I react. Otherwise, that mom might think, “Those lesbian moms, always so touchy.”
So the other day when my son Stephen found a toy on the sidewalk the other day, a Big Bird finger puppet, I realized this was going to be one of those gay mom moments.
I had washed the toy and my son was carrying it everywhere with him. He has dozens of great, new, expensive and designer toys, but this is the one he chose as his favorite, for now. But when my partner ran into the neighbor’s nanny out scouring the lawn, looking for the toy, we learned it belonged to Griffin, the baby three doors down who had dropped it. Actually, it was his father’s childhood toy (he was a young dad).
So my partner came inside and told me the news, and we knew we had to take the toy back to Baby Griffin. This is when I surmised that how we handled this situation would be how we would be judged as lesbian moms. After all, we were the only two-mom household on the block, and although all the neighbors are friendly with us, still, we are aware that to them all we are are the “lezzies with the kid” that live on their street.
We thought it best to tell our son that the toy belonged to Griffin and that we needed to return it. We thought it best that Stephen hand it over to Griffin himself. So we strolled down to the neighbors with Big Bird, and when Griffin’s mom answered the door, we excitedly told Stephen, “You get to give Griffin his toy back, you will make him so happy, won’t that be nice!”
Stephen had a fit. He didn’t want to let go of the toy, and all hell let loose. He threw a tantrum, screaming and yelling as my partner tried to gently pry the toy from his fingers. It is amazing how strong their little grip can be when they don’t want to let go of something. Finally, the toy was handed to Griffin’s mom who smiled politely and sympathetically. Stephen had to be dragged away kicking and screaming.
So, despite the best laid plans, Stephen has no idea his moms are lesbians or what that means. He is a two-and-a-half-year-old boy, and that is how they act when a prized toy is taken from them.
The moral of the story is that Stephen was the genuine one of us, expressing how he felt without any thought about what other people thought of him. His behavior was age appropriate, but I had to wonder about mine.
I realized I had to stop worrying about what people might think of me, like I did in junior high school, and just be a mom. If I were gay or not, I would have handled the situation with Big Bird just the same, so why not just do what I feel compelled to do as a mom and forget that I am a gay mom. I am just a mom. And so is my partner. Thanks for the lesson Big Bird.
P.S. I went on eBay and found a very similar toy. A couple days after it arrived, Stephen was already over it.