Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Sunday, May 5, 2013

3-1-13 RMB Kids
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
In the chapter “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” in Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser (yep I am still reading this book), you talk about the affects of two women raising children and others’ perception of how that might affect the kids. You mentioned the issue was raised about Judy Nelson’s children when she was with Martina Navratilova.

When I was forty, I met a friend as she and her wife were in the process of adopting two babies and a three year old, “my boys” as I have been referring to them. They adopted me at the same time (unofficially of course). Somehow I wound up with partial (also unofficial) custody of the boys and a chunk of their financial support to boot. I know my contribution will come back to me tenfold. It already has, when those little guys wrap their arms around me it’s priceless.

So along the way, I learned that in San Diego County, two women or two men can adopt children. I know there were tons of hoops for them to jump through, but they did it. Now they both take night courses and I get the boys on their moms’ school nights and Saturdays with the occasional Friday night sleepover.

They call me Aunt and I tell folks they are my nephews. I used to tell my friends that if they looked up one day and found me and one or more boys missing, it meant I had high tailed it across the Mexican border.

I am close to other nieces and a nephew, but they lived further away in their childhood. I couldn’t swing by and pick them up after school or take them to the park after I got off work. Plus there is something about three little boys that is combustible. It’s like some algebraic equation, one boy equals one boy, two boys equal one boy to 2nd power and then there is this jump. Three boys equal one boy to the umpteenth power. Three is the tipping point from calm to chaos. They welcomed a relief pitcher.

Later, I will go into depth about a couple of my nieces. They have a bit of Rita Mae Brown chutzpah. I am very proud of the next generation of my family.

Oh, what I wanted to say about the boys had to do with what affect it has had being in a “modern family”. They attend a Christian based church that is part of the United Church of Christ organization.  Two other members of the church are men that have also adopted children. They started with a troubled gay teenager and then adopted a few children that were siblings. Later when more siblings landed in the system, they took in the whole family. I think they are up to eight kids by now.

That in itself would be handful, but tack on some trauma from the kids’ past, some developmental issues, medications, etc. These guys should qualify for sainthood.

The time came where they wanted to exchange vows in the church with all of the kids participating in the ceremony. I attended with my friends and the boys. Afterwards, I had the boys in my car driving away from the church. Their ages were around seven, five and four.

I told them it was a great thing that their church allowed ceremonies like that to take place because even though most people would rather spend their life with the opposite gender, there are some like their moms and those guys that would rather be with each other. They each nodded with a “yeah” and then the oldest piped up. “Yep, I think I definitely want to marry a girl.” The other two agreed, “Me too” and “For sure” came from the peanut gallery.

If anything, being informed and aware of the variety of people in our world has given them a better perspective. They know who they are and they know what they want. They are in no way threatened, nor confused. Unlike so many children raised with blinders, or worse with prejudice, these three will have the advantage of knowing and understanding people, all kinds of people.

By the way, all your friends are lucky to have you in their lives, whether they always recognize that or not is another story. We are fortunate to have you in our time. You possess a wonderful combination of talents, to be able to make people think, while making them listen, while making them angry and still somehow, making them laugh.  

I laughed when you recounted conversations with Aunt Mimi, they took me back to Alabama and the conversations across the dinner table. I didn’t join in those conversations, but enjoyed the show, better than dinner theatre.

Night y’all,

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