As soon as I said it I knew it was a mistake. Little skirmishes arise. Ethical grenades are lobbed your way in the most innocuous of places, a grocery store, a co-worker’s party, or a playground.
Extroversion shows itself early on the playground. Some kids are very chatty and as soon as they learn to string a few words together, they’re yakking away. Since it was so warm that day I strapped E into the backpack carrier, leashed up Nemo and started down the trail to the playground about a mile or so away. I love the wooded path and Nemo really gets into all the deer, rabbit and who knows what else smells.
At the park, I set E down and he raced off to pick up rocks, one of his new hobbies. I noticed a little girl staring at us as I chased E around. When I got within range the question salvo began, “What’s he doing? What’s his name? What are you doing?” The nanny sat on the bench talking away as her little charge was left to amuse herself.
With a little attention Ms. Chatty ramped it up. “Are you E’s daddy?” and then “Where’s E’s Mommy?”
I’d never been asked this before. My mind pinged through a couple options and then I went with the easy answer, “E’s Mommy is far away.”
As soon as it came out I knew it was wrong - wrong for me, wrong for E and wrong for my family. Once it’s out there you can’t go back either. She accepted the answer but I knew I was going to have to do better. I wanted to make it easy for her to give her something that fit into her world.
E is picking up on these cues. He sees the Mommies coming to pick up the kids at daycare. He knows he has 2 dads and he knows they love him. Right now he doesn't know that it's different and I wish I could keep him in this safe little world. I want him to be proud of who he is and to be proud of his dads.
More than that I want to be proud of his dads and this time I think I failed.