As two working moms, Elenor and I can rarely pick up Harvey at daycare together, but when we can, he’s ecstatic. This was the case the other day when we both arrived to scoop him up after school.
He joyously squealed to his teachers and everyone he saw on his way out that he has two moms! The stoke factor was high, friends. And it was delightful.
As I buckled him into his carseat, he became more inquisitive and started what was sure to be the latest series of how-whys (he’s three).
“I have two moms!” turned into, “How — why do I have two moms?”
This is happening.
Right now. On the street.
And years sooner than I thought it would.
Elenor, much more calmly than I could have mustered, said, “because you were born really lucky, bud.”
His eyebrows furrowed. I tried to play it cool — I’m just super busy with these straps over here.
“Buuuttttt...” he said as the world slowed to a fraction of its normal pace.
Did I detect a change in his voice? Is he sad? Is this really happening!? I thought I was ready for this, but I DON’T FEEL READY! The adrenaline flowed, my heart raced. I hadn’t felt panic like that in some time.
“... a cookie, guys.” Then he flashed that signature smile.
I looked at Elenor with the relief of a thousand deep breaths and let out a giggle horse noise. A cookie we can do, kid. I mean, after dinner, because rules. But definitely cookies.
After my heartbeat returned to a healthier pace, I thought about how odd it was that I had felt so scared.
Had some part of the homophobic rhetoric about same-sex parents actually infiltrated my woke, queer, feminist subconscious? Was I worried that there is some legitimate part of his humanity we’re denying him by not ensuring he has a dad figure?
The truth is, Harvey wants for very little, and what he does yearn for is mostly just sugar- or snuggle-related.
His world isn’t absent of male figures; in fact, I’d argue that he’s got some of the best uncles, grandpas and male role models around. He knows how to pee standing up (a question we get frequently, which brings me equal parts amusement and discomfort) and someone with whom he can play catch.
He isn’t lacking focused, caring parents who provide food, shelter, affection, toys or opportunity. And he’s one of many kids in his class who have nontraditional families, and not even the only child of same-sex parents.
The kid is fine. His question, about cookies or even about dads, was fine.
But I totally lost it.
A few days later, I was listening to Brandie Carlile and the song, “The Mother,” came on. It resonated in a new way, reminding me that we’ve created this family with a bond so strong nothing can compromise it.
And since I’ve gotten my wits about me, I decided to be prepared for the time it is a dad he asks about, not a cookie, and I think I’ll say something like this (borrowing some words from mama Brandi):
Kiddo, everything about your existence is exactly as it should be. “You are not an accident where no one thought it through / The world has stood against us, made us mean to fight for you / And when we chose your name we knew that you’d fight the power too.”
And above all else, Harvey James, you are deeply loved — maybe more than you’ll ever even know.
So, Harvey, milk with those cookies?
Marina Gomberg is a communications professional and lives in Salt Lake City with her wife, Elenor Gomberg, and their son, Harvey. You can reach Marina at firstname.lastname@example.org.