Interview with Joey Uva by The Next Family
TNF: How has it been blogging for TNF?
Blogging for The Next Family has been a wonderful and enlightening experience for me. It’s been almost two years since I started writing. I didn’t consider myself a writer. When I initially started, I thought I would focus solely on my experiences with my daughter, but as my writing unfolded, it hit all aspects of my life -family, friends, my past and present, everything that has lead to the family I have today.
I never went into blogging thinking about impacting others or having my words resonate with someone. When I wrote my childhood story “I Will Never Walk Away”, it was difficult to know many might read it but it was also very cathartic to sit down and actually put it on “paper”. When I received comments back on that post, both written and verbal from people who read it, I realized that being open about some of the harder experiences in my life can be empowering to those that may have experienced the same.
TNF: How is your family like every other family and how is it different?
I would say we are probably more similar than we are different. We have daily routines. We are a household with two working parents. We spend time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. We go to the park, visit friends, have reading time, attend school functions, and do all those things that parents do.
On a recent trip to Sea World, there was a husband and wife with their three kids standing in line. They asked Trevor and me if we could take a picture of their family. Trevor took their picture. About a minute later the family behind them, a husband and wife with their son, looked at Trevor and me with Grace and asked if we would like a picture of our family taken. We handed them our camera, they took a picture and commented what a beautiful family we are. I would like to say we are more similar than different and I am hoping more and more people understand that like the family we just encountered did.
TNF: Did your family accept you and your lifestyle? If yes, explain and if not explain what you have done to help them to accept your decisions and your lifestyle.
We are lucky that most of our family is very open and accepting. There is a lot of love in our family and we all support one another. I would say that my mother struggles a bit with her religious beliefs and my being gay. I have a told her face to face that she’ll need to accept me as I am. I do know when I’ve seen her look at her granddaughter that all those concerns fade away in their interaction with each other; in those moments I would say that is truly God because that is love.
TNF: How do you juggle the work at home with your jobs?
I hope I don’t get any backlash for this one. Working for a major bank, I can say I did get some grief from some of my bosses. One in particular always called me out on the days I dropped my daughter off at school or picked her up from after school care. The other three ladies I worked with were moms and it was acceptable for them but me being a man (dad) did not go over well. That was one thing I wasn’t going to stand for and made sure it was known. I can say things changed from there on out.
TNF: What lessons do you feel are the most important to teach children in this day and age? Are there any lessons they, or perhaps we as parents should unlearn?
Empathy is a huge one for me. I think children learning true empathy from early on could change the dynamics of human relationships. I have never liked the word “tolerance” used when dealing with another human being; it’s just sounds like it’s forcing one to accept someone else without understanding. I think part of understanding is knowledge and with knowledge comes empathy.
TNF: Any words of wisdom to pass on to our readers?
I’m not really the great wisdom master here but I would say, all parents have been there at some point. We do the best we can and make it through.
I remember when Grace was four years old, Trevor and I took her to the Long Beach Aquarium. We were standing in line for lunch; it was just past her lunch time and the lines where horrendous. As we stood there waiting, Grace fell to the floor whining. A mother looked over at me and smiled. I said, “She’s having a meltdown, we are past her lunch time.” The mother looked at me and said, “If that is her meltdown, you are doing a damn good job!” That made my day and made me realize just do the best you can and all will be alright.
TNF: Anything you want our readers to know about you or your family?
When I was sixteen and in high school I had an experience that changed my life for the better and made me believe in the possibilities. My twelfth grade English teacher assigned us a book report for our year-end project. We had three options, one of which was to create a mural about the book with a five page essay. The book I read was about a young man who drove an ice truck and the story of his life and tribulations. I wrote an essay and created a mural that was picture on top of picture of the young man’s life and how it progressed; it was the size of a front door. While I was working on a Friday night, my teacher called my work to speak with me. She said, “You don’t know this but I know the author from your book project and we just had dinner. I showed your mural to him. He thinks it’s amazing and asked if he could have it for his collection.” So, not only did I get an “A” on the project but the author of the book has my mural too. I have never met him but that had a huge impact on my believing in the possibilities. One person has the ability to make a huge difference, it’s a lesson I learned a long time ago. I guess that could go for blogging too now that I think about it.