“Am I the little girl you always wanted?” This was the question of the day from my five year-old daughter on our way to the park on a recent Saturday afternoon. I smiled and replied, “your mom and I really wanted to have you and the day you arrived was the happiest day of our life.” “That’s the day! The picture, the one on my dresser, of me tiny and you holding me!” “Yes, that’s the day,” I replied with an even bigger smile. I honestly never thought about wanting a girl or a boy; I wanted a child, a family. I wanted something more than me.
It’s hard to believe so many years have passed since my daughter’s mother and I talked about having a child. A lesbian woman and a gay man having a conversation about having a child, a topic that many couples talk about. But we weren’t a couple; we were friends, both gay and single deciding to have a child together.
Flash forward six years, past Grace’s birth, first birthday, first words and all those amazing things that have happened along the way and you will see there is much more than just me. I have a wonderful partner of almost four years, Trevor or “Papa T” as Grace calls him because I am Papa. I secretly love that she calls me Papa and not dad, because I called my dad “Pop” even though my three brothers called him dad. Grace’s mom has a wonderful partner as well. Grace has four people wanting the best for her and loving her; it’s a gift to know she has that.
I have to say, four adults raising one child can be challenging at times but there is never a lack of love. I remember the day Grace asked me how she came to have two dads and two moms. She wanted to know, if she came from mama’s belly where did her other mama come from? And, how did she get “Papa T”? I won’t go into the explanation but let’s just say when I was done, she simply said “I love all my papas and mamas”.
One of my favorite times of day with my daughter is story time right before bed. Grace usually picks two stories. We read and sometimes even discuss why the story is a certain way. Silliness comes up a lot, “well Papa, that’s just silly”, we both laugh. After the story time, it’s lights out, then I sit on the edge of her bed and give her a hug and a kiss on the forehead. The next thing is something new we started about two months ago: a goodnight chat in which we talk very softly about something good that happened this day, what makes us feel good, and how the fish tank (Grace has one in her room) is so relaxing when the Blue Moon light comes on and the bright light goes off. Grace will look at the fish tank and say “that is so peaceful when only the Blue Moon light is on.” The timer is coordinated to have daylight go off around the same time she goes to bed. I can’t remember how the fish tank or its light got added to “goodnight chat” but it’s now always at the end.
Life, it comes with many challenges, many beautiful moments and never stops to let you catch up; you have to be there to meet it. That’s how I feel about having my daughter Grace. I was there to meet life the day I decided I wanted something more than me.