The Lost Mom

On what collateral damage feels like
June 1, 2015, 2:53 pm
Filed under: gay marriage, gay parents, non-bio mom

⊕ I am renewing this blog today, June 1st, 2015 because it’s the 10th anniversary of Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day.  How it’s come to take so long for me to come back here is for another time.⊕

Everything has changed so fast.  One day gay marriage was a far off notion and the next day it is legal.  In December 2013 when District Judge Robert J. Shelby found the Utah same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional it was surreal. Surreal not just for us in Utah but for the whole country watching us.  It was especially surreal for those of us who had already challenged our authenticity in the state legal system. Those of us who challenged and in most cases lost.

At the time of the ruling there was so much to celebrate. I went to the impromptu rally that night.  There were speakers and music and rainbow flags.  There were families.  Awesome, homo families.  Moms pushing strollers.  Dads pushing strollers.  It was emotional.  It was stunning.  It was cathartic.

I decided to go at the last minute.  I went alone. I didn’t know how my mood would be.  What did happen is that I cried.  Almost as soon as I got there.  Big ugly crying. Sobbing really.  I understood the significance of it all. It meant that no one would ever go through what I have gone through.  And I was happy about that. Happiness was one important and profound reason I cried.

I also cried because of all the loss.  The sadness I used to feel all the time, every day.  The sadness that still is there all the time and every day but is buffered by time.  It all came out.  Poured out.  Cried out.

What I know is this; the world is changing and the gay rights train is not only out of the station but headed to every town.  What I know is this; I am part of the collateral damage left behind.  Years from now most people will recognize what an absolutely barbaric system we had at the time that sons and daughters were taken from their queer parents.  It will all seem so archaic and tragic.  Sadly, those of us who are affected by those times still exist.

I hate that this is part of the joy of the recent events.  The bitter to my sweet.  But it is and it is real.  Be kind to those of us who paved this road will failed law suits.  Be kind to those of us who have this bitter to your sweet.  We also feel the sweet just a little differently.  Just be kind to us.


We’ve All Lost

Last week the judge ruled in her favor.  The contract goes against Utah public policy.  There is no longer an order of visitation.  I lost my son.  He lost another adult (nay, a mom) who loves him.  They lost their souls.

And then the sucker punch today…. it just came out.  I just read it.  It made me feel sick.  The Alliance Defense Fund sent out this press release

I’m as sad as I can be.  I’m broken hearted.  I will always love him.

waiting for my (citizen)SHIP to come in

Let me tell you about last Memorial Day.  It was the last day where I really was allowed time with my Little Guy.  After that day, in fact, within a week, she cut me down to one afternoon a week, always under her watchful eye.  But that day it was him and my dad (pampa) and me.

We went up to my mother’s grave, just west of Ogden.  A small, intimate place were 100 years ago Swedish farmers laid their kin to rest.  It’s not far from the house my father was born in to immigrant parents.  It’s small, no more plots are sold, and my clan is there:  my grandma, her two husbands (both of whom she outlived), my aunts and uncles, my oldest brother, and my mother.

The Little Guy enjoyed putting flags on her grave, memorializing her service in the WAVES during WWII.  We placed flowers.  My dad showed us where his best friend lays, he died during the war when he was 18 years old.  Then we went to dinner and then home.

On the way home, my dad made the mistake of telling the little guy to straighten up.  It was cute and cheeky, the way my dad said it, saying his name from the front seat and telling him to “straighten up.”  Then, we heard his little two year old voice say, “Pampa, straighten up.”  We snickered (always a bad idea), it was so cute.  Then we heard variations of “Pampa straighten up” and “mama straighten up.”  A slight break and then again with the demands from the car seat to straighten up.  A quick look in the rear view mirror showed a boy so pleased with himself.  I laughed each time.  I was so happy that day.

We ate at my dad’s favorite buffet (hey he’s a senior, he likes the buffets).  And the little guy watched for both of us, making sure when one was absent from the table (getting seconds) that they came back soon and the threesome was restored.  From across the restaurant, the little guy in the high chair, he’d yell “Pampa Come!,” a demand he often levied when he wanted his entourage with him.  Or he’d say, “Mama Come.”  And when we were all three sitting at the table again, all was well in the world.

On the way home, just past the Lagoon exit, the little guy said, “I want go Gena’s house.”  He still interchanged the names mama and gena at this point.  I don’t know how she did it, but one day he called me what he always called me, Mama, and the next day he called me Gena.

I told him, “No hon, I’m taking you back to your house, I’m taking you to your home.”  And then my heart broke, in shards that have not yet come back together.  “I don’t want go my house.  Want go Gena’s house.  Want sleep Gena’s bed.”  I explained again that we couldn’t do that before changing the subject.

A sweet woman I know, who has also lost a child through the legal system, wrote me an email.  In discussing the still pending decision by the judge over the legitimacy of the co-parenting contract I signed with the little guy’s mom, she said, “I have a hard time believing that the judge would take you away from him again.”  Those words, those simple words meant something to me.  I keep thinking about the little guy being taking away from me, but also I am being taken away from him.  It reminded me about why I do what I do.

I never want him to think I gave him up voluntarily.  I never abandoned him.  I loved him and I love him still.

But still we, he and I, wait.  We wait to see what our citizenship in this great country means.  We wait to see if laws can expand fast enough to prevent real suffering.  We wait.

It’s strange to live in both the present and the future.  I know that one day this will be a non-issue.  People will wonder how we could be cruel, so barbaric to rip a child from their mama.  We will look at the reasons that the people doing it gave and see them as archaic and tragic.  That will happen, for that I am sure.  20 years, 30 years, maybe 50 years.  Yet right now, I’m not sure that our societies expanding values and notions of decency will happen fast enough to help me.  My future is still within the scope of the narrow views that embody public policy and cultural warfare.

I am happy for those families of the future who will not have this happen to them.  I’m sorry for the families of the past who have experienced such harm and heartache.  And I am not sure about how my situation will be resolved.  Am I too early for the justice?  Or will my citizenship come in?

I’ll end this the way I always want to end these posts.  I’ll tell you why I do this, why I pay a lawyer, why I write this blog, why I wait for a judge to determine our fate.  I do this because I love him.  I do this because he deserves to know someday how hard I fought for him.  I do this because it’s all I can do.  I love him and I always will.

Reflections on Intentions – Mother’s Day 2009
May 10, 2009, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Mother's Day, non-bio mom | Tags: , ,

Devotion is a hard thing to come by.  Someone devoted to you, harder still.  But I was and I am, to him.

love at first sight

love at first sight

From the moment I saw him, I loved him.  Actually, well before that fateful day, I loved him.  We planned for him.  When he was still deep in her belly we read books to him, called him by name, thought about our future with him.

And then that day, when he finally came, I remember the feeling, “oh, you are exactly who I thought was in there.”  He was tiny and fragile and beautiful.  When he was immediately whisked away and confined to the heat lamp, I wrapped my arms around his swaddled body and hummed to him.  It was after midnight and I leaned, exhausted, against the wall and wanted him to hear my voice.  We had agreed before hand that one of us would be with him at all times and since she was being attended to by medical staff, I was his guardian.  I whispered and hummed so that he might know he wasn’t alone.

Besides the doctors and nurses, I am the only other person who witnessed his birth.  I am the only one who can tell him how much we long to see him.  How excited we were to hold him.  How blessed we felt.  I am the only other one who can.

One day I’ll tell him about the time, when she was pregnant  I was reading the book, Little Quack, to her big belly, to him.  How her stomach shifted, you could see it!  Somehow he scooted all the way to the side of her stomach where he heard the story.  The other side of her stomach, the side without me, was flat as (I imagine this part) he pressed his little ear to the side of the womb to hear the voices that loved him.  The voices that love him still.

I was devoted to him.  Just as if he had come from my womb.  And it remains today, that devotion.

I would take a bullet.  I would give him my left arm if he needed a transplant.  I would hum to him if he if he felt alone. My intention was to always love him and I always will.

Happy Mother’s Day y’all.

Mother’s Day Icon 2009 – Three Candidates
May 8, 2009, 8:11 am
Filed under: Apsara, Lisa Simpson, Madonna, Marge Simpson, Mother's Day | Tags:

Here are my candidates for Mother’s Day Icon, 2009.

Candidate number One:  Marge Simpson

Candidate number One: Marge Simpson

Candidate number one: Marge Simpson

Oh, yes I did! Who, of you ladies out there (and possibly some men) do not or have not related to either Marge or Lisa? Okay, okay, so I grew up with five brothers and that might have something to do with my over-identifying with Lisa and her wondering through the world trying to find emotional complexity in a family/world of unashamed brutes (but the brutes are awfully sweet and so funny). But imagine being Marge, knowing you have a sensitive and smart daughter and that the odds just aren’t in her favor. Knowing that you are the only one who can help her navigate the Simpson family.

They really do represent a quintessential mother/daughter relationship. And, let’s just admit it now, Lisa will one day have to come out of the closet. There, I’ve said it.

Candidate Two: Cambodian Apsaras

Candidate number two:  Cambodian Apsaras

Candidate number two: Cambodian Apsaras

Let me tell you something about some of the most bad-ass women on the planet: Cambodian Apsaras. These women are sexy (god are they sexy), they are semi-divine (dancing for the Buddha) and they are surrounded in mystery and intrigue. If you’re ever lucky enough to visit Angkor Wat then you will see the more than 1,000 base reliefs of apsaras, each one unique (each one, imagine). Search and search and maybe you will find the one apsara with the forked tongue (it’s a WTF moment!).

What I think of is, what if my mother had been an Apsara? How would may life be different? What secrets of the universe would she have taught me? Shivers…..

Last but not least: Candidate number three: the HOLY mother of all mothers.

Candidate Number Three:  The Holy Mother of all Mothers

Candidate Number Three: The Holy Mother of all Mothers

That’s right, the Madonna (the original one, not the angelina-competing- baby-adopting-machine-pop-singer one). She survived teen pregnancy (out of wedlock no less), taught her son to be compassionate for the suffering of others while working to change public policy, and, the one that speaks to me, she is one mom that wouldn’t let you mess with her child (that’s my read of the scriptures – well if I read the scriptures).

She’s the mom of moms. Think what you may of the artist renditions of her and the different accounts of her fateful journey to the manger (and virginal insemination! – was that a known or unknown donor?), she ultimately shows us what can happen, how the world can be changed, by teaching our sons the value of empathy, compassion, and radical politics. What more could you want in a Mother’s Day Icon?

So, three candidates. Three choices. Which one should be Mother’s Day Icon 2009 (and yes, you can do a write in candidate) and why.

Oh, and happy Mother’s Day.

Enough Already!

I’ve been avoiding the fact that there is an article about my court case in the City Weekly. I figured I’d get around to posting it here (after I didn’t feel so sick to my stomach anymore). But I saw that Mombian: Sustenance for Lesbian Moms had linked it and written some good commentary about the general situation of moms splitting and then having custody battles… I figured I’d let their words speak for me. Here’s their link Enough Already!

Enjoy (rolls eyes).

It speaks for itself
April 29, 2009, 10:21 pm
Filed under: non-bio mom, visitation | Tags: ,
It's a sweet, sweet thing.

It's a sweet, sweet thing.

For the love of god, please help me photoshop this so it looks like I only have ONE chin.  Ah, hell, who cares, me and my multiple chins were never so happy.