I broke off my engagement with my son’s father on February 2, 2010. Exactly 18 days later, I took a pregnancy test and began my long-awaited and now confusing road into motherhood.
My son, Escher Eric was born October 16, 2010, five days late and perfect. Throughout my pregnancy, my personal village came oozing out of the woodwork to gift us with hand-me-downs, rides (I had no car), midnight snack runs, laundry help and even cash. I have had a history of depression, often times feeling as though I were so alone in the world and no one cared about me. Lo! and behold, here were all these people selflessly giving of themselves and their time for little ol’ me and little ol’ Escher. My cup of gratitude runneth over.
Among these fantastic villagers are two couples: one lesbian and one gay. They are both long-term relationships, co-habitating and super excited about Escher’s birth! Both couples are Escher’s godparents and both couples are more involved even than Escher’s own father.
I want Escher to have an education about life that came from more than just Mommy’s mouth. I want him to go to a Seder, a Catholic Christmas Mass and a burning of the Yule log at Solstice. I want him to live a life as free of gender pigeon-holing as possible, learn tolerance and follow his bliss. You know, the usual. But I also wanted him to know that sometimes girls love girls and boys love boys and that the "love" part is what’s important, not the genders on either side of the word.
I wanted this specific part of his life education for several reasons. We live in the South and although there are lovely people here there is also an atmosphere of homophobia. I didn’t want public school to teach him that bullying people who choose alternately is okay, or that he has to do it to avoid the bullying himself. Also, I grew up knowing only a specific kind of love and feeling weird when I felt love that was different than that. I identify as bisexual and feel I’m getting the most out of life when I can give and receive love from both males and females.
In wanting this for him, I asked all of my friends to please include us in their spiritual/religious events as well as elements of their lives that differ from the "norm." I made it clear I don’t want us to be recruited or baptized or proselytized but simply to let us absorb what it is about their lives that makes them feel most happy and complete.
I asked my friends B and C, the lesbian couple and M and J, the gay couple to be Escher’s godparents. B is a
militant feminist agent of chaos who works as a rape victim advocate. She is intimidating, loud and hard-fucking-core. She has never been mushy over babies until Escher. C has hairy armpits and a love of tiny vicious animals. Her maternal instinct was shocking to me because it had been hidden before now and she is so good at it. M has a desk job he hates and a camera he loves and is just launching his photography career as a freelancer. He tries to pretend he is cool as a cucumber but J’s enthusiasm makes M drop his cool-guy exterior in a minute flat. J is kind and Southern and would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. I have never in my 30 years of life EVER seen a man THIS excited about being near a baby.
J asked me a question right before Escher was born that I will never forget. He seemed a little hesitant, not quite sure how to phrase what he wanted to ask me.
"When you asked us to be Escher’s fairy godfathers, did you mean...um....like, actual GODparents?"
I was never raised with a religion and honestly had no idea what a godparent did. (I do now as I looked it up after J asked me this.) I only used the word ‘godfather’ because it was the closest approximation to what role I wanted them to play in Escher’s life: teaching him about love and tolerance. I told J my intention and he seemed to relax a little. (I think he was worried that I wanted them to take him to church!)
What began as my own desire for Escher’s education turned into four people who were honored and utterly enthusiastic about being in his life. All four of them have gone waaaaay above and beyond what I asked them to do. I am tremendously grateful for their gifts to our little family and continue to be impressed by their dedication and devotion to a tiny baby who has a future of love to look forward to.
(I wrote this in support of adoption rights in the GLBTQ community, as a way to thank my son’s fairy godparents and an article that may inspire other mamas to let their village help teach their children.)