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For the short time that we’re here, we are here together

Partly to get that ginormous picture of me in the previous post off the “top of the fold” of this site (gadzooks that’s a big picture! even though I hope you locals will spread the word about that event!), partly because I just happened across it again today, and was struck anew at its depth and eloquence, partly because now, nine years later (weeks after my daughter’s birthday), I now know every word of my dear old friend’s to have been not just brave but prophetic, I share with you my friend’s essay, “Extended Family.”

 

UntitledI wrote an ode to her here: “Happiness is an old friend.”Context: I met Sybil Lockhart,  author of “Extended Family,” in September 1980, when we were both fresh-faced, mulletted freshmen in college (okay, maybe it was only me who was mulletted; memory is a tricky thing). She is a neuroscientist (really! a Ph.D.! in neuroscience!) and a very gifted writer. The essay appeared years ago, first at Literary Mama, where she wrote a column and served as book reviews editor.  Later it formed a part of her moving caregiver’s memoir, Mother in the Middle.

Two more things to keep in mind, as you read what Sybil wrote. One, the children she speaks of – hers and ours – have now been special cousins to each other for as long as my children can remember, and probably most of what hers can. Sybil’s youngest now strolls over to our house once a week after middle school. We’re an old, familiar way station-away-from-home, a place to sip a smoothie and do homework (or play with our kids) ’til one or another parent picks her up at the end of the afternoon.  She comes to us now just like her older sister did before her years ago, when she was in middle school, needing a place to come to rest as much as we needed to provide it to her.

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Happy Dependent’s Day

hellalegal
Sign greeting patrons at Local 123 Cafe post-SCOTUS, Berkeley, CA.

On the Twitter the day the US Supreme Court handed down its historic marriage equality decisions, local chum Heather Flett (of Rookie Mom fame) sent not just her congratulations, but an offer to treat me to whatever felt treat-y. A drink right that very moment, or a coffee date to be redeemed soon. I picked coffee; we went to Local 123; and this sign greeted us. Fitting to post it today.

Because the A#1 and A#2 reasons I am grateful for the legal recognition of my partnership is the legal recognition conferred to Kid #1 and Kid #2.  An old African American Studies professor of mine used to say, of this nation: “It’s a beautiful experiment, still unfolding.” Which it is. Jury may still be out on how we realize democracy, but I’m prouder than usual to be an American today.

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THANK YOU.

spontaneousdanceparty
Pop-up dance party on Market Street, San Francisco, CA.

Consider this image a placeholder. Soon I hope to file a longer, more image-strewn and word-bedecked accounting of Mrs Dad’s and my foray into the City last night, in which we joined thousands of our kind in rejoicing the death of  Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Above: just a block down from the epicenter intersection of Castro and Market Streets, someone had pulled up a bike that was tricked out with a ginormous, self-contained sound system on a trailer.  Castro Street between Market and 19th Street or so had been closed to auto traffic since late afternoon, to accommodate the throngs of celebrants, who numbered well into the thousands. But after 10pm, per custom (and city ordinance), the stage had been dismantled and the party had wound down, Castro Street reopened to traffic. Thus the pressing need for this pop-up party.

Dance music blared. People of all sorts danced. A bubble machine spewed bubbles.  And at the center of the swirl danced a woman with a sign conveying the sentiment that united us all.  Simply, Thank you.

 

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A brief gender-nonconforming kid resource roundup

lastyearsprincess

Halloween trick-or-treating peanut, Berkeley, CA (2010).

Visual coda to yesterday’s post, in which I mentioned our boy’s Halloween costume choice of last year. I wrote a few words about it at the time, here.  If I were to have to guess now, I’d say there’ll be a long gap ’til the next such outfit makes a Halloween appearance, though of course I could be wrong. In the intervening year, his haberdashery pace car has shifted from Big Sister to Main Boy Chum at Preschool.  For all the complex reasons that are behind such evolving self-understandings. Advancing years, increased exposure to peer groups, push of culture, pull of self, survival instinct; you name it.

The costume  above met a glowing reception throughout the neighborhood last year, though, and not just because there were blinky red lights underneath the tulle (yes there were).  I mean, really. The kid looks better in that outfit than I ever could.  Also? At least the grown-ups in our neighborhood love kids unconditionally and clearly share our conviction that the best thing we can do for them is clear the runway ahead and help them take flight.

Re: clearing the runway and helping kids take flight (into a world they’re in the process of making) – below, I’ve collected a smattering of nifty resources by and for parents of gender nonconforming kids. Halloween’s pretty much the primo occasion for this, since it’s the one day of the year kids have a wide(r) berth to explore performing different identities.

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Babbling

I am pro-babble. This is not a news flash for old chums and family, who have grown to tolerate (or flee! as the case may be) my propensity to lard on the words. Verbose. Prolix. Loquacious. That’s me.  Why say something once when you can find two or three ways to repeat the same idea, I sez! Repeatedly!

But this week I’m pro-Babble: the capital-B kind.  Two different juries of my peers gathered by that website have seen fit to honor what I’ve been doing online with recognitions.  [Point of info: Babble is a widely-read resource website "for a new generation of parents."]  The honorifics (and the attendant challenge I feel to retroactively actually earn them) couldn’t have arrived at a better time, relative to the ebb and flow my work life.  For the past nine months it has been gushing, rather than flowing, and dadgum it I think it’s about to ebb for the first time since I started it.  Enter, stage left, in the after-work hours: much-neglected writing life!

twitter-moms-badgeBabble Honorific #1: I was named one (okay, 47th) among Babble’s 50 Top Twitter Moms.  I wanted to turn right around and at least Tweet my thanks.  But when the news hit, I was still too busy chasing around after my work with buckets and mops (c.f. recent gusher imagery).   I think in actuality I was flying cross-country with some buckets and mops, and was just running out of battery juice on my laptop when I read the email.  To be 47th in a group of 50 is a delightful combination of fortunate and humorous.  It’s more humorous than 48th or 49th, since those numbers have some cachet.  You know, one’s an even number, which is always cool, and the other’s almost-50.  But forty-seven is just, well. Sitting there.  Hopeful. Feeling lucky to be there.

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‘Nuff said

crankyAmazonhomophobe

I mean really? Is any commentary even needed?

This was the first Amazon review of Julianne Moore’s new kids’ book in her Freckleface Strawberry series (this one: Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever).  I learned of the book whilst reading a post at Dominique Browning’s Slow Love Life blog: “A Two-Mom Couple Confronts Noisy, Rude Questions: Julianne Moore Has Some Answers.

So quite naturally I bopped over via the link to check out the book.  And see what greeted me? Tautological homophobia.  Self-cancelling phrase. Ignorance, ignorant of itself.

If any of y’all are registered Amazon reviewers and interested in buying and reviewing Julianne Moore’s book, I’m sure it would improve the discussion juuuuuust a bit.  I have already decided where our family’s next kid’s book purchase is going.

 

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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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GLSEN’s Day of Silence*

Today, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover would have turned twelve.  If you don’t know his story already by his name, take a deep breath first, then read this.  His mother is interviewed here, at Essence. [If you prefer video, here's the piece on CNN.]

It is as grim a coincidence as fifteen year-old Lawrence King’s dying on Valentine’s Day last year, after having been shot by a male classmate whom he had asked to be his Valentine a few days before.

The Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN)  has sponsored the Day of Silence as a consciousness-raising event for thirteen years now, and describe it this way on the Day of Silence website:

The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Each year the event has grown, now with hundreds of thousands of students coming together to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.

Predictably, if still appallingly, a number of anti-gay organizations oppose the day. [Late-breaking example: Seattle, today.]

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