Bewitched

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“I’m part garden fairy and part witch, you know,” my daughter says, gathering dandelion and sourgrass stems in her basket for a potion.

“I’m not surprised,” I say. Which I’m not.

She puts down the basket and begins to balance along a run of wood, claiming it helps her practice her balance for when she flies on her broom.

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“I’ve got something from both sides of the family,” she continues.

“I know you got the witchery from Mama’s side,” I say. No doubt on this front.

“Yep. And you like the garden.” She pauses a little bit, thinking.

“You’ve influenced me emotionally,” she explains. She knows where she has come from; what part I do and don’t have in it; how our Special Uncle Pat (and by extension his family) gave to our family what I didn’t have to give.

“You helped me get born emotionally.” Repetition, for emphaisis and clarity.

“So have you, sweetie,” I tell her, “so have you.”

She looks at me with a sobriety that is at once beyond her years, and utterly familiar. Then she’s off, flying her broom back and forth, back and forth, over the garden.

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[Have you voted for your favorite blogs in the 2011 Bloggies yet? No? Well this one’s up for best LGBT Blog (scroll waaaaaay down). You know, in case you were sitting on the fence for that category. Just a suggestion.]

8 thoughts on “Bewitched”

    • You know, SJ (no longer in KY), I think kids are (a) as smart as we help enable them to be, and (b) oftentimes smarter, in spite of us.

      We have said since the dawn of time, or at least of her consciousness, all the basics about whence she came: from both of our hearts, and from Mama’s body. You need something from a man and something from a woman to make a baby, and we were fortunate enough to have found a friend to help us with the something from a man part. At the ripe age of 6, she is utterly disinterested what parts are needed, and how they exit body A and enter body B. But the gist is clear. As is the intactness and rightness, for us, of our family.

      She also knows our kind of family is relatively rare. And that to have a Baba (rather than two mamas) is rarer still. I’ve often said, about my gender (as I’m sure I’ve repeated here) that I’m like a kind of a fairy: not everyone sees me, but it’s okay, because we know who I am. I believe in me, therefore all is well. And it happens that enough others do that we’re not the only ones doing the seeing and believing.

      I think our clarity helps her to be clear. And though before we began all this parenting in practice, I fretted and fretted that it would be one big muddle, dooming our children to confusion and resentment, it is not. Blessedly, thanks to her youthful mind, we have had to begin the picture-painting at the purest levels. And there, it’s quite clear, and simple. We asked for her to come, together; we called upon her spirit, floating in the ether, to choose our family; we called upon the generosity of friends to help make it possible.

      Still, I have to agree with you. She is a marvel.

  1. It is amazing how this concept of us having called them makes total sense to them. My daughter is two years older and we’re a continent away but she would describe her family very similarly. When she first found out that there was no biological tie between us she was troubled for an instant – and then relieved when I truthfully told her that I could not possibly love her more or be connected more than I do or am.

  2. I have fretted myself about the potential for confusion and resentment for my boy and have wondered about how to approach the story of his simple yet complex beginnings but reading this has helped make it seem less a hand wringing ordeal and more a wonderful exploration of true love. thats how I feel about him and all I want is for him to grow up knowing my love for him has no beginning or end. it has just always been and will continue that way. I’ve occasionally and fearfully thought that maybe because he has a special uncle that he’d feel something for him and have a connection I could never give him and that it would be painful for me even if its a positive thing for my boy. As the days and months (now 13 of them) go by thats changing in such a great way and I see my impact on him and how much he trusts me and I feel more and more grateful to his special uncle. and really I mean the more the merrier because this little guy (we call him two boots sometimes because he has these super cute red snow boots he wore for the first time in the snow on our visit back to the midwest with my family) is so loved by so many others how could that be bad in any way? Thanks again LD. We are really writing a great history for all the queer families out there in the future who will need the guidance of our experience to help them down this road.

    • Uncle B, I couldn’t agree more. More, more, and more.

      If only caring for the already-extant and currently needy (physically, emotionally) people were less time-consuming, I’d be writing so much more about this. Instead, it trickles in in droplets in comments. But I think this is such a critical point for all of us who have asked for others to help us come to our children. They don’t feel like “our” children for a while, and the power of the dominant/ normative/ biologically-privileged familial narrative can take on an inflated significance for many in our positions (here, I’m talking about parents with no biological connection to a child, but a social one, parenting nearby and/or in the presence of those with a biological connection).

      I remember talking about this to friends years ago — how they felt about the donor being in their kid’s life (I can’t recall now whether they framed or experienced him as a “father” type; he was an extended family member). My friend, who was the one who didn’t carry the child — and she really, REALLY wanted to, but eventually gave up trying to conceive, and her partner carried their daughter — said that she felt worried and insecure at first, but then as soon as the kid came out, she realized pretty much what you say: “The more, the merrier!” Like, the more people as we can get to really really love our kids, the better! It’s one of those things where we have to open our hearts and get it that there is enough room, enough love, enough, enough.

      I hope we all keep chatting about this. Lard knows one day I want to dedicate a discrete post about it. Should really be a regular, monthly column or something.

  3. Hi there, new reader here – This post is beautiful beyond words! Clearly, you are an amazing parent and she is one amazing kid. Stories like this bring me great comfort, as our two-year-old son (who my wife carried) has recently started noticing that our family is different from most of his friends. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and our connection is incredibly strong (it actually has been since before he was even born). So I never worry about that part. But he’s also developed an attachment to the dad of one of his friend’s, which has made me wonder if he feels like he’s missing out on something. We don’t have an Uncle Pat, since our donor was via sperm bank. But your story makes me think that he knows full well what he has with his two moms who adore him more than life, and that his affection toward extended “family” is, as you said in the comment above, just him finding more people to love him! They indeed teach us so much every single day. Thanks for sharing this moment!

    • Thank you, Natalie, and welcome!

      People say, about romantic love, that it’s like holding water in the cup of your hand. Grasp too tight, and it slips away. Pick your metaphor. I’m beginning to think this way about our kids, too. I will hold my arms around them as tight as they need to be, to protect them, and give them a sense of safety. But love — good, healthy, supportive love — from other adults in their lives is so huge. Those of us building families whose structure isn’t often reflected in popular cultural images around us, or whose structure differs from that we grew up inside, can so easily go to a place of scarcity about that love (i.e.: more from and toward others means less toward me).

      I think the earliest years of parenting it’s hardest to see, since you can only extrapolate what your kids are thinking (about the more complex stuff) from their simpler words. Yet it is the early years when we’re least experienced, most insecure, etc. All so ironic. Faith and love get us through.

      Thanks for checking in here. The brambly bush you have to scramble over to comment (WordPress registration) is a hassle, but it winds up ensuring that the folks who chit chat here are quite motivated to do so, and I can’t recommend them all highly enough! You all (faceless dozens!) are so vital to this blog, and to my appreciation for doing it.

  4. You know, I remember a particular scene from The L Word when Tina and Bette are having problems and they are gonna begin a custody fight. Helena advices Tina and says that Bette is the intended, rightful parent… she dream the baby into existence, she was there the whole way…

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