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Evening time

[One evening in lesbian family life, as contribution to the 7th Annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day, hosted by Dana at Mombian.]

Dusk, the crepuscular hour, the gloaming. Gentle, delicious. I am laying in the post-day, pre-sleep moments with my son, now five. My daughter is downstairs with her Mama, listening to chapter seven of C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian.

It is balmy out for a late May Berkeley–67 degrees–and a light breeze fingers the curtains open and shut. They’re home-made, these curtains: someone we can’t remember brought a sarape to sit on during one of our family’s back yard puppet shows some years back, and left it. We put the word out, but no one claimed it, and as sometimes can happen with forgotten sarapes, our kids’ grandmother stitched bedroom curtains out of them.

eveningtime-sarape

Through the open window float the sounds of folks talking as they walk up the street below; an occasional car swooshes by. A car door slams and by his voice, I hear my brother-in-law has come home; as he talks to his son, he pulls the garbage and recycling cans off the street where I had left them in my haste to make it home to dinner with the kids. We each live in houses on the same large lot in the center of the city; we share a vegetable garden and the abundant outdoor garden and play space, we share childcare and grocery shopping, a mortgage, and garbage can duties.  He takes the cans to the curb, I bring them back. Except that since I began working full-time, I can never bring myself to lose a minute’s evening time with my children still awake, so I usually retrieve the cans long after they’re in bed.

Tonight, as he often does, he has brought them in for me.

A small passenger plane passes overhead; robins, finches, sparrows, and California Towhees sing the sun down, fewer and fewer with each passing minute.

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Absence of malice (is not enough)

2011familyday125x125In the nick of time, and I mean the nick, I post a lil’ something for Dana Rudolph’s gift to the queer family blogoverse, Blogging for LGBT Families Day. This post here of course means I’ll have to push forward to yet another day my in-the-queue explano-post, the one in which I outline just what day job it is that has sucked up nearly all available oxygen from my posting here. Don’t resent the job, though! It’s the parenting thing: Very. Hard. To be full-time. Worker. Plus all-time. Parent. If this were any other kind of blog than a parenting one, I suspect you’d have seen hide and hair of me, rather than neither.  Still, flying in the face of the past three month’s anemic posting, I have faith the blog’s oxygen supply will get squoze out of somewhere. I do.

Meanwhile! A few notes on the occasion of Dana’s 6th Blogging for LGBT Families Day! First, here are things I contributed to her 1st, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th. & 5th.  We’ve both been at this a while. In fact, I still remember where I was (in the living room of the beloved’s and my first wee home, on a laptop) when I ran into Mombian.com for the first time, and shouted “Eureka!” What a revelation. I was  just a half-year into my parenthood at the time, and was already starved for what she had to offer, astounded that she was offering it up. For free. On the internet. (Nostalgic? Here’s her first post.)

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“If they know us, they don’t vote against us.”

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So said Harvey Milk.  Decades later, poll after poll (here’s the most recent one at Gallup) confirms this. Respondents’ positions on gay civil equality issues are hugely different when they actually know the LGBT people in their families and their lives. Sure, a surprising number continue to justify withholding constitutional protections from LGBT people even when they know us. But a majority who know us believe we deserve equality.  Clearly we must make ourselves known.

Many of us write the stories of our families’ lives online — you can find scores of them among Monday’s Blogging for LGBT Families Day  entries over at Mombian.  I’ll bet most of us began to chronicle our families so as to help keep one another company, maybe to solicit and share insight about how to pilot our families through the whitewaters we’re in as “alternative” families squarely in the political crosshairs.  That’s what motivated me, initially.  But we’re also writing for, and with, others. 

Two such Blogging for LGBT Families Day contributors are St from Playa Minded and Haley from eyeJunkie.  St is a straight and devout Christian ally, and in “Blogging for Equality,” she writes about research she’s done on New Testament scripture and homosexuality.  Haley is also straight and Christian and deeply examining the core truths in LGBT families, as well as her feelings about us. Her post, “The One Where I Come Out… And Say It” is amazingly honest, and heart-felt, showing those of us who would wish to touch someone like her just what it’s like to be in the middle of a challenging process of change.  Where this process will lead to, not even she knows.  But it’s very much worth bearing witness to. So are the comments following it.  Dana Rudolph drew attention to it at Mombian following Blogging for LGBT Families day, and today reposted her Mombian post at Bilerico.  If you haven’t read it yet, please do.

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Pas de deux

The beloved children’s classic The Velveteen Rabbit was made into an equally beloved holiday dance piece twenty-two years ago by ODC/Dance, one of our finest local dance companies. A week or so ago, I went to see it with the girlie, and the trips there and back were nearly as eventful as the show.

For all the time I spend caring for the little munchkins, it’s been rare that she and I have gone on a special Baba-daughter outing. Her craving for Mama is great, and perhaps would be so regardless of the fact that Mama works outside the house more hours than Baba does. So the arrangements we usually make for solo time with the kids tend to accommodate the lil’ monkey’s ever-unslaked Mama-thirst. This time around, though, the LGBT family-friendly performance was smack dab in the middle of Mama’s prime-time work hours. Grampy gladly watched the boy, and my girlie and I skipped footloose into the city to see what kind of fun we might have together.

2009familyday125x125Before we even make it the few blocks to the subway, I can tell by her mood that she is loving this every bit as much as I was. Singing, prancing, the outsize imagination vibrating and sizzling and shooting off in all directions. Since the beloved’s production of Fiddler is fading slowly into memory, I am less frequently conscripted into the role of Tevye (to her Tzeitel). The next theater production, Les Miserables, is months away, and the seasonal fave Amahl and the Night Visitors hasn’t yet encroached, so what’s filling the lil’ monkey’s mind has been the characters in our current reading: L. Frank Baum’s Oz series. We plowed through The Wonderful Wizard of, just polished off The Land of and are launching into the third, Ozma of, with reckless abandon (bringing her chapter book total — Alice and Pipi and Mary Poppins are also in her wake — way above that of the number of books Baba has read this year). Today, I am the Tin Woodman.

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