I told you earlier that there was a "rumor" that the mother of her is moving back. Well, I haven't heard anything reliable since then and I've removed myself from talking about it but my subconscious is kicking my a*s!
I dream that she's here and I can't touch her. I dream that I try to steal the tooth that she hides under her pillow for the fairy. I dream that I hide behind trees at the park to watch her swing. I dream that I measure her height by comparing where she stood against a playhouse wall. I dream that she and her mother are in a mall and her mother collapses and there's no one there to calm her. Or that something awful happens in the night and her mother is too sick to help. I've decided that if she were here, I wouldn't worry so much.
She'd have family to fall back on. Distant, not very nice family but still...family. & she wouldn't be so engulfed in crazy church activities. ...Not that this State isn't overflowing in "crazy" :) & maybe, just maybe, there would be some tiny chance that if I saw her somewhere, she'd stop and see me and see that we could be just as good here as we are in SA.
Who I am kidding tho? I think I just want to be prepared either way. But if she's sick, and I'm sure she is, who will back her up? God, I could obsess forever.
Monday, April 30, 2007
I told you earlier that there was a "rumor" that the mother of her is moving back. Well, I haven't heard anything reliable since then and I've removed myself from talking about it but my subconscious is kicking my a*s!
Wow. What a great weekend!
Isn't it amazing when it's Sunday night and you feel like you've accomplished so much while relaxing? We had such a great weekend from going to dinner with our best girls to making our yard beautiful to watching my girlfriend play softball and getting lots of love in between. I love weekends like that. Is it Friday yet?
Yesterday was the beginning on Lupron for me. Still on birth control but nothing more is added until May 9th. I think. Estris is next. I think. Either way, so far I've had a little morning sickness - I guess to prepare me for the real thing - but other than that (& big, fat boobs) I feel great! We're on the countdown - less than thirty days. It's pretty exciting and I'm looking forward to every minute.
Our house is coming right along. Our yard is coming even further. Have I told you just how much I love our yard? It's a 1/3 of an acre in the middle of the city and it's just heaven! Cristy made me dinner Saturday night and we ate on the patio with the moon and the warmth and stars. It's built in romance I tell ya! & then the little neighbor kids stop by to wave to Molly and ask for Yegs...it's dreamy! The only thing missing is Gray and man would she love it!
Friday, April 27, 2007
Thanks to all of you for responding to my last few days. I appreciate your posts, your phone calls, your comments - each and every one! & after talking with C last night, I feel fine enough knowing that it won't be the same and that everyone is different and that she is wonderful enough to pull me from the fires of my history. I knew that. I'm insanely hormonal. & I think talking about all the "what if's" just adds to my anxiety. So, today, let's not. :)
But speaking of hormones, I start Lupron again Sunday. I'll be shooting up like a mad woman. And then, of course, progesterone once things start kicking. I'm actually looking forward to the ride; knowing more what it's like now. And knowing we'll have a pink line (or not) in just six weeks makes the time seem not too heavy and slow.
I've starting kicking around names again and, every time, C looks at me like, "seriously?" Poor her. Isn't it so fun to do though? We had Gray's name picked at 17 weeks. After the u/s we were driving home and the name came right out of my mouth. That's all she wrote. We had thought, up until then, that she'd be a boy. We had a boys name. Matthew Hart - after my brother and her grandfather. It was perfect. But then she was a girl! Girls names are much easier for me now. What is that about? I love little boys. I have one living in my very house! But thinking of a name that is just as perfect as the two we adore, it's almost impossible. Maybe I'll hold a contest and let you pick.
We're about the begin a wonderful weekend. We've been looking forward to it all week. No kids. Not too many plans. Just us and the TV or movie theater. Just us and the long walks or long drives. Just us and the eat in or eat out. I feel lucky and I can't wait.
I might drift out of work early and surprise C with some flowers for the porch. It's going to be EIGHTY degrees tomorrow! Can you stand it? I'm so excited I could pee! (it doesn't take much these days with my highly medicated body) For those of you who don't live here, you're missing out on our most beautiful season. I wish ... I could walk you through it and convince you to move here (with all your good laws!) and serve you lemonade with blueberry vodka - unless you're pregnant, of course. & then I could show you all the wonderful flowers I just bought but we'd have to sit on the floor because I bought flowers instead of furniture. Again.
I'd like to do a lot of planting but that takes more cash than I have currently have. We'll see how much I splurge before she notices... Truthfully, furniture should come before plants. We have two empty living rooms. But who wants to be inside? It's all about patio's and lawn and shade trees! & did I tell you about the pergola I found? ahhh, it's beautiful.
Come on, pack a lunch and head over. I'll meet you there by 2.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Warning. Long. Long. Long post.
I want to be a parent. But do I need to be a bio parent? I have a non-biological daughter. I have a stepson. And we're trying to have a baby - our first together.
Recently, I have had so many conversations about bio vs non-bio. Many of you have been talking about this as well which makes me think it must be in the air. I've heard things like, "how do you know you love her the same as the bio mom?", "my partner went crazy once she got pregnant/had a baby", "because of your case, we've decided not to have a baby" and the truth is I have thought of all of these things.
It scares me to death to think of what sometimes happens. Will I be crazy? Will I obsess to the point of not letting anyone touch my child? Will I never want to work outside the home and be angry if I have to? I know that not many of you knew my ex-partner but I assure you, if you did, I think it would surprise you to know her reaction to these things. But the truth is, I noticed certain things very soon after our daughter was conceived. She had been Buddhist since I met her and suddenly, we needed to "find a Christian church". Her parents had always been distant but suddenly, she needed them. & after our daughter was born, she was totally in control.
Because she would be staying home for the first year, we decided she would pump so I could take part in those beautiful quiet moments of feeding. But, it didn't work out. It hurt and it didn't work. (i'm not trying to sound sarcastic...and certainly, in the moment, who was i to question?) So I backed off and just participated where I could. Our daughter was born very small (but healthy) so we planned to take it easy for a few weeks - stay home/no visitors/hunker down for the winter - but those few weeks turned into months and by the time most people met our daughter, she was three months old. Even then, my mom and two other friends were the only people allowed to hold her, other than us. But things eventually got better and all was well until that "one year" started approaching.
At that point, I started bringing up the fact that she should start looking for a job. It was the year after the 9/11 nightmare so things would be tough. My daughter was insured though my place of work but I couldn't insure my partner. That was something I pushed heavily. She has a blood disorder and requires medication and I thought that reason alone should be enough. Insurance! But the truth was, I couldn't wait for her to go back to work. I wanted our daughter to have time with other people and I wanted to have my own time with her. It was a mess.
Finally, another six months later, she got a job & hated every minute of it. It killed her being away. She worked four days. Our daughter was only in daycare three days but still - I'm not kidding - it killed her. She took the night shift at one point so she wouldn't miss Gray's waking hours. It was a big problem. People, mostly family members, started commenting on how her behavior wasn't normal and that she may be depressed. I didn't know what to do.
Gray stopped breast feeding at the same time. She became more independent and I started feeding her and putting her down more frequently. Now she could have a bottle, not just a boob. At one point, and very typically, she started to choose me for those times. And all you non-bio's know just what magic that brings to your life! Finally, they want YOU more! I could heal her wounds. I could make yummy cereal. I could rock her and sing her to sleep just as good as mama! She would call to "mommy" instead of "mama" and I was in heaven! Right away, I could see the anguish my partners eyes. It hurt her feelings and it broke my heart. To her, it was all my fault. I couldn't stand it. I was the cause of her pain. I made her go back to work and it was ME that took all that was special from her. I tried to get her back involved in her band but she would just cry during practice. If she came home at night and Gracie was already in bed, she would have to wake her up. She couldn't do it. She couldn't share.
We never got passed those times. I was either backing away from taking care of our daughter or I was in a competition with the woman I adored most in the world. Our relationship was over in the next six months.
I think about who she was before and who she became and it scares me to death. I don't want that to happen to me. I want to share this experience with C and I want our baby to be the love of her life. Along with all of our children. I want to create a family with my partner and have her just as involved in every little thing as I am. Knowing her, there is no other option anyway. She wouldn't back off if I squinched my nose tightly and growled.
Why wasn't I like that? Would I have lost either way? Or like my friend Leah, who noticed the behavior and still didn't back down - but she's currently battling for visitation.
What makes it happen? Why does it become a competition? When is works, because I know it does, why does it?
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I just got back from doing an interview on Radio Active. (a local, progressive radio show) The topic was something like "What does it mean to be a family?" How do we define family/parent? Who determines was a legitimate family is? Who can & can't participate? I was a guest, along with Kate (NCLR), Gina (local mom) and ... a bio dad. Interesting. The idea on the different perspectives was to point out that our issues are more about civil rights and not gay rights. And that by joining together, we're bigger and louder and will make more of an impact. Again, interesting.
Right away I could see right away there was misunderstanding amongst us. The dad thought we should all be focused on our rights as parents and not necessarily the rights of our children. He and his friends think that going the route of "best interest of the child" can actually hurt the parental rights cause. I'm sure he's right. What he doesn't realize is that we have no parental rights. The right to due process doesn't apply to us. In fact, we're not even allowed in the courtroom under the title of "parent". If we begin by asking for rights of our own, we start ten steps back from where we just LOST!
I know he means well. I've been speaking with him for a few months. His mentor has done a lot of speaking on my case and I've sort of become the gay example of a father in the "father's rights arena". Because there is bias against dads vs. moms, they think it's comparable to bio vs. non-bio. In many ways, it's true. As a non-bio, I was the financial provider and spent less time in the home. I did that so my daughter would not have to be in day-care the first two years of her life. I did that as a sacrifice for her. We made the decision together. We budgeted. It worked out and I'm grateful for it. But I was punished for it. In court they said things like, "you aren't the primary care giver" "you don't have the same bond as a stay at home mom would". I was punished for doing something I thought was best for our daughter. Dads too. Judges assume that dads aren't as emotionally connected and don't have quality time with their kids and it simply isn't fair.
Another take because now my mind is really going...
If a child is born to two parents and the relationship ends, why isn't first thought "50/50"? I mean, there is study after study saying if it's possible, it's best for children to have equal parent time. But still, most States (including UT) go right for that typical split which is usually about 11%. I'm not a dad but that definitely doesn't seem fair to me. If they're willing to have 1/2 time, why not? And if so, why child support? This gets sticky, I know. I know every situation is different and mine was definitely different. I never even peeped at my visitation schedule because I was grateful & desperate for every minute. And I also have never had a problem with paying child support. But what if I were able to be in Gray's life 1/2 time? What if we could do week to week like some parents and we were each responsible for that time? How would child support work then?
This dad, and many dads, are saying that child support is an "out" for their wives. I don't believe that's true. Maybe in some cases but I know that in many, dads aren't involved on a day to day basis and having the financial support is necessary. I guess I'm just trying to find a way to validate his argument and say that each parent should be given the opportunity to participate. And they should be obligated to step up after a split/divorce. We should have to keep our promises, routines and responsibilities for our kids.
Monday, April 23, 2007
I've been thinking a lot about the mother of her, knowing she's thinking of me too. I wonder how she manages my pain. That sounds like I'm putting my pain on her shoulders and that's because I am. I know she feels it. She knows I'm devastated. We were once connected enough that she knew when I was crying - three states away. She knows.
We had all the "just in case" talks long before the ruling came out. No matter what they ruling, she would've won. Imagine that. I was tricked. I knew she was lying but my heart held out hope because I also believe she knows she's wrong. If I won, she'd stand beside me and wave the big rainbow flag and we'd make a difference. We would make change. And if I lost, it's okay - we'd work it out. She would never take me out of Gray's life again - not after all of this.
I'm an idiot.
How does she justify it all? The simple answer is that she's talked herself into always being right in every situation. She knows best. She'd say she's doing what's "right". She'd say, "how can i teach her that my whole life was a sin until now but then allow her to be part of that sin?" She plans to tell my daughter that, up until she found Jesus, she lived a sinful life and that Gray was created in that sin. She compared it to a prostitute getting pregnant. A. Prostitute. Getting. Pregnant. I can say it slowly, loudly and with my angriest voice but I can never say it without tears in my eyes.
I would give anything for Gray to never hear those words. I would give anything to have her mother not feel that her life; our life was a sin.
I could also blame this on what happens when you don't take care of your relationship - when you lose each other in all the madness of infertility and toddler hood. When you start looking somewhere else to be emotionally fed and a whirlwind begins. I could blame it on Jesus since He seems to be the one that lead her to this perfect life that doesn't include me. Or better and more broad, Christianity - because that's where all the crazy's place their hate on a tray and serve it to the people that are searching their hardest for something to hold onto. They reach out and feel held but only to be judged and changed and made less than they were when they were first created. No one is born hateful. We learn that from people who learned it before us.
Today I just blame her. I blame her for wedging herself through my door and leaving a mark that has stained me. I blame her for blaming me for sinking our ship without one ounce of "me too". I blame her for denying our daughter the right to be raised by both by of her parents. I blame her for the pain Gray must feel not knowing why I haven't come back to her. I blame her for whatever reason she's given for this time gone by because it's not good enough. It won't hold her. Not like I can.
Fly Away Little Bird.
I've tried not to complain for a few days but forget it - today I will complain.
To catch up, the road to being pregnant for me, has never been easy. When my daughter turned one, I began the first of 16 AI tries. & failed. Now, three years later, I/we/the specialist have jumped right into IVF and due to funds, this will probably be our only try. (probably) We managed to get four good eggs and turn them into four beautiful embryos but then OHS set it so we had to do the deep freeze and put it off. Now, months later, it's time to get back into the swing of belly shots and over the top meds.
Because of this (& because of last night's ice-cream) I'm HUGE! I'm back on birth control (again) before I begin Lupron shots (again) and I'm telling you, I feel like I've grown 5 sizes since Friday.
I spent the weekend in C's clothes. I must first say that her clothes are adorable (on her) and that I don't mean to say that she's huge because she's absolutely not - just a bit bigger than me and that's just the way I like her. My ring is tight when it's typically too big. My cute bra's are not so cute once my boobs get in them and I had to take a break walking up the stairs today.
Enough? I don't think so.
Every time I seem a bit leery of trying and failing, someone says, "don't think like that. don't talk like that. it's going to happen this time." Please people (that don't read this), I know what optimism is. Really. I wouldn't be going through this and putting everyone else through this if I didn't have hope it will work this time. But let me drown in doubt every now and again. Let me have fear. Allow me to beg to be coddled and whine as I wish. I'm not cursing myself. I'm not allowing the universe to make me barren. I'm just voicing my feelings around the process. When I say, "I hope" - it doesn't mean "I doubt it".
And if I don't want to go to a baby shower because I don't want to see another twenty year old who accidentally got pregnant suffer through her poor body image and ever changing social life - then that should also be just fine.
And no, I'm not hormonal.
Wait, I am. And that's okay too.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
This was just sent to me. It was posted on the website of the Alliance Defense Fund after my ruling. They are the radical Christians that funded my ex partner through this nightmare. I'm only sharing it because there are some of you who have asked about them. I think this will give you a good idea of what their case was based around and what they think of sinners like me - an "advocate of lesbian behavior".
I assume it's fine to post it because it's on the internet. If I take it down, you'll know why.
A HUGE Victory For a Mother and Daughter...A HUGE Defeat for the Homosexual Legal Agenda...!In 2001, two Utah women engaged in a lesbian relationship, Cheryl B**low and Keri Jo**s, entered into a "civil union" in Vermont. They then returned to their home state, which does not such recognize "civil unions" and five months later, Cheryl became pregnant by artificial insemination, and had a daughter we'll call "Kathy." 1
Frank M**ar, "then – THANKS BE TO GOD – Cheryl became a follower of Jesus Christ, quit her lesbian behavior, and ended the relationship with Jones, who was an advocate of lesbian behavior. Jones had no biological, adoptive link, or any link to young Kathy, but Jones sued for visitation with the child, claiming that somehow she was Kathy's "psychological parent." Sadly, incredibly, a lower court agreed with Jones' demands and ordered visitation with Kathy -then three years old. This was emotionally traumatic for Kathy as she was exposed to numerous instances of lesbian sexual and other behavior and the deliberate undermining of the Christian values and beliefs that Cheryl, who had moved to Texas, was trying to instill in her daughter. ADF allied attorney Frank M**ar appealed to the Utah Supreme Court. Meanwhile a very frightened Cheryl, extremely concerned for Kathy's welfare, refused to allow more visitations and was sentenced to jail. Unless the Utah Supreme Court overruled the lower court, Cheryl was headed behind bars – simply for protecting her Kathy! After nineteen long months of deliberation, the Utah Supreme Court issued its ruling this past Friday – overruling the lower court, affirming Cheryl's parental rights, and denying Jones demand for forced visitation! Thanks to you, your prayers, and support Cheryl will not be going to jail, Kathy no longer has to go through the psychological trauma of her visits in an environment of lesbian sexual advocacy, and advocates of homosexual behavior were denied the legal precedent they wanted to fabricate visitation and custody for "psychological parents." Amen!
ADF Senior Counsel Joe Inf**nco says: "Protecting the well-being of this dear child trumps the desire of a legal stranger to usurp the care and protection of that child's mom...When the trial court granted visitation rights to a legal stranger in a non-marital relationship, they fabricated a precedent that had not existed before. If it had stood, it would not only have threatened the emotional well-being of this child, but countless others caught in a similar situation."
Last night I met some girls for dinner at Johnny Corrino's. Ever been? It reminds me (imagine that!) of Gracie because it was one of the only restaurants near their house in San Antonio that was any good. We went there many times but one time, in particular, was my favorite. New Year's Eve. Her mother and I ordered glasses of wine and they were called "grandiose" (very large) and I ended up totally tipsy. Because we had to stay there for hours to sober up, Gray made friends with every server and every patron. She's typically very shy but this night she was telling strangers how pretty they were. She commented on a ladies purse and her other mom dared her to go "see if it's made out of real cat". It wasn't. But Gray was curious enough to walk over and give a soft "mow" to see the reaction. God I miss her.
Last nights dinner was to collaborate a fundraiser for a local mom whose ex-partner has taken her daughter away. She's beginning the legal battle and needs some help. Sound familiar? Well, it seems to be happening more and more. It's like my ex gave all the bio moms permission to act in such an awful way. I don't understand it. And to add to it, she still thinks it's acceptable for her to participate in this community. She thinks she can be a militant dyke and use hetero laws to hurt each and every one of our kids. I'm angry and don't know what to do about it. I may just have to pay a visit and have some words. Those words will undoubtedly be drowning in tears but I'll do it.
Anyway I met them, without C. She's still out of town so it was just little old me. They were all lovely. They all seem very motivated to help her and I loved seeing that kind of support for her. The conversation became very personal and I'm certain my anxiety was oozing out my eyes But I want the questions. If you ask, it's because you want to know. & if you're out there trying to educate your friends about the situation, I want you to know everything.
We're going to find a way, Gina- not through cracks but by breaking the entire dam.
"We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it not as dreadful as it appeared, but discovering we have the strength to stare it down."
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
It's spring in Utah today. The clouds rolled in over night and you can feel the moisture in the air. I love rain. It's cleansing and brings true colors to this concrete city.
I walked outside to get some lunch and stood still a moment. I didn't worry about my hair because God knows it wouldn't matter on a day like this. I felt chilled and when the wind blew rain onto my neck it felt like unexpected kisses. I shivered - in a good way. My partner is out of town on business so most things feel like kisses today - that only means I'm lacking since she left. It's a short trip so don't feel too badly for me.
I've been thinking a lot about cleansing out the old and renewing something positive. I've been making decisions for myself instead of allowing someone else to be the ruler of my universe. Looking back, I'm not sure it was worth waiting so long. My new beginning was long overdue. My boss told me that he's noticed a huge change in me since I started taking steps forward instead of standing still. Everything, for so long, depended on what my ex thought because if she didn't agree I would lose visitation. I tip toed around her for years and that's not an exaggeration. Now that the court took that power away from her and began holding it themselves, I don't tip toe. I don't have to.
Watch me grow.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
...into morning - for the night has been unkind.
I attended a fundraiser last night that was both emotional and inspirational. We raised thousands of dollars that will surely make a difference in my community over the next year. The people who attend this kind of event are not the same people I brunch with on Sunday mornings. (aside from a dozen or so) They are pioneers and things legends are made of. I was very proud to be in their presence.
As I was helping guests check in, a man I hardly know came up to me and asked if I had heard the rumor that my ex is moving back to SLC. She used to work with him and they still know common people through her church and his employment. My heart sank. Could it be my chance? Could her moving here be a sign that she's searching, again, for another life that might include allowing me to know my daughter? And then my heart said no. No, please don't move back here. I know her well enough to know she'll never be "wrong" and having them this close - knowing they'll be around the corner or in the next city...I can barely breathe when I think of it.
When she first moved out and stopped visitation, Gray was just over two years old. They moved just 5 miles away. For the first year, during litigation, I hardly saw her. But I would drive by, walk by, run by, imagine - 24/7. I would pray for just a glimpse of Gray on her slide or trike. Every now & then she'd let me in and let me watch her sleep. Those moments were priceless to me but to live through that again will be reliving a torture that I wouldn't wish on anyone. Hope is what kept me alive through those times and it's not something I have anymore.
God, don't let it be true.
I was asked to speak for a few minutes about my case and about the changes that need to happen so it won't happen again. As usual, I thought a thousand times how nothing we change will help my Gray. Of course, I pray it will help every other Gracie but it hurts me that we are too late for mine. I practiced many times before we arrived. I wanted to acknowledge people that had such a positive impact and worked so hard for me and Gray. I had specific names in mind. I wanted to speak about my incredible attorney and all of our lgbt legislators that plead for me on the House and Senate floors. I wanted to list ideas for legislation to help future families in my situation. I wanted to talk about some of you who are right in the middle of nowhere with me.
Instead, I spoke about my job and the love I have for this work. I spoke about how I became involved and that it wasn't until I was directly effected by discrimination. I realized that I never even thought about lgbt parental or rights of our children until I was a parent - until I actually had a child. This seems simple but it was eye opening for me because I think most people walk in those same shoes.
When I spoke about Gray and the loss of her, I realized that last night was two months - exactly - from the ruling that changed our lives. My voice cracked and that was all I had. I looked out into the audience and found safety in C's eyes. She lead me to the end of my words and her eyes walked me all the way back to her.
If it takes my whole life - I won't break, I won't bend.
It'll all be worth it in the end. (thank you, Sarah)
Monday, April 16, 2007
I thought you might want to hear that we survived bringing the new dog to the house and that the training was the hardest thing about it. Three hours of intense instruction - I was exhausted. But the good part is that we still have her and that means that she's not crazy or aggressive or too much to handle. We are loving almost every minute of her. :)
If you scroll a bit, you'll see just how pretty she is.
I also added a picture of our new house - only many, many years ago. We got it from the old owners and it's so cool to look at it and wonder the kind of life it had back then. Those little kids out front - they're probably not even alive anymore. Weird. I'll add some pictures of the inside in the next day or so.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Lucky or unlucky? Let me give you my take...
37 years ago, my amazing parents were married on this very day. And even more amazing, they're still married. They were just pups and when I look at their wedding picture, I swear they were 13. But they were 18 & 19, respectfully. Pups. I was sixteen before I realized my mom was pregnant at the time. Oh, the scandal! This was the year they offered to pay me money if I could "make it" though high school without getting pregnant. I know, how embarrassing. This was their baggage, not mine. First, I was far too responsible for that kind of rebellion. And second, don't even bother asking me about sex with my boyfriend back then. Not a lot to comment on. Of course, I considered myself winning that bet but now I realize we all won.
Anyway, 43 years and one month ago, my far better half was born. She wasn't born in April but she was born on Friday the 13th of March. See? There's still a comparison. She was actually born on the scariest day and look what an incredible creature she is! She never shows her claws unless she's in mama bear mode and she's less scary in an argument than anyone I've known. She's the loveliest Friday the 13th person ever.
And yet another...my completely perfect mother was born on Wednesday, June 13th - which is not really near Friday or today but if you don't mention your mother, there is no worse cause for karma.
And lastly, a mere nine years ago today, my favorite (& only) niece was born to my favorite (& only) living brother. We will celebrate her tonight with presents and kisses and stories of when she first came to us with a bow in her hair and a tear in her eye. I love you Montana, Banana, Hosanna!
Unlucky 13? I think not.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
What in the world is my matter today? I feel heavy & have puddles of tears in my eyes. Maybe it's just the beginning of the meds. Or maybe it's because I read the saddest blog ever today. Or maybe it's just the stuff that continues to float around and tug at me.
I've been asked to speak words about why policy needs to change in Utah. I've been assured that the point isn't to exploit my sorrow but to educate the importance of protection for our families. Too late for my daughter but... I need to be clear that the Supreme Courts excuse of not being "able to make a better decision because there is not existing law that protects my daughter" is not good enough and could have easily been avoided.
I agree, fully, that it needs to be heard. So many in our community mistake that if we work with National Organizations, (HRC, NCLR, Lambda) they can do the job. Don't get me wrong, we need each and every one of them and I support them all but our state just gets shoved under the rug in those conversations because the big guys know that there's not a lot of winning over here. Well, maybe we haven't won the war but we've won many battles.
My words will be heard on Monday night. I'll give an overview of my personal battle and then explain that, with just a few more things in place, the Supreme's couldn't have brushed us aside so easily. If there was established law - something as simple as a bill that states when a same-sex couple deliberately has a child through assisted reproduction, both partners are the legal parents. Easy. If your child is born and you list another parent - it makes it so. Because then, should the unthinkable happen, your child will always be protected. Because it's not about us, remember? & this isn't just happening to me. I have met so many mother's who are being punished for a thousand different reasons - having nothing to do with the love or care of their child.
A friend of mine, in the same situation, has a published interview in the current Q Salt Lake magazine. If you haven't read it, do. www.qsaltlake.com page 8. She is strong and willing and passionate and I applaud her in outing her story for the world to hear. It's brave and daunting and I'm proud to know her.
I think I just figured out my words.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I posted a couple new pictures from our last day. Christmas Eve. We went to Sea World for the second day in a row and we're soaked from splashing whales and winter rain. The last picture is the space I relish when I'm missing her most... Just having here there, in my arms, until she fell asleep. I did too. Maybe even Mr Tumnus. Her other mom took many pictures & video of us that day and I suppose I'm pretty thankful for that, especially now.
I also wanted to post some pictures of the house. Unfortunately, our camera was just added to the list of what has yet to be unpacked. Our house looks completely put together but that's only because we've been bringing in one box at a time and putting it away. If you looked in the garage, that's when you'd see the REAL story. OMG! How do two girls have so much stuff? I'm embarrassed!
I probably have six-eight bins of Christmas crap!, at least two huge bins of girls clothes that I'm hoping to recycle in the next bit, baby "stuff" that I know deep down we'll really just replace with the next one, and then stacks and stacks of everything garden! Good God - we will never be able to park in there.
We still haven't furnished the parlor and it's current state looks comparable to a dance hall or skating rink. It's awful. But the floors are original - 111 years old - and because the ceilings are so tall, it feels even more empty. Neat though. I'll take some over the weekend and show off the pretty parts. I may include some cracks and crooked walls, just for good measure.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Life is coming right along.
We learned today that our IVF transfer will most likely take place on May 29th. That seems like eons away but at least there's a date. I'm amazed when they narrow it down like that. It's all mapped out and I'll begin meds tomorrow with only two injectables for about a month. - could be worse. And this time, it's not about producing eggs - just getting my uterus strong and healthy. I can do that.
We also decided, as a family, that we would give our all to Molly Tomato and bring her into our family as of this Saturday at noon. You remember my rant about being pressured into a golden retriever... Well, while I so appreciate all the advice to not do this, we're doing it. In fact, I think I only got one emails that said it was a good idea. However, after calling the very expensive dog trainer that will come to our house for life, we decided that we have the love (& time) it will take. & the more I thought about it, I just couldn't fathom telling Y we were getting a new dog but we didn't want that one. $500 later, long walks every day and enough patience for a puppy will be an accomplishment for sure. And, by the time the new baby gets here (fingers crossed), she'll be a well established member of our family.
We'll see if this helps in the wicked step-mother department. If not, I get to keep the dog. :)
Monday, April 9, 2007
My weekend began with Yegs other mom coming to see his new house. She brought a friend with her who had a little dog who happens to share the name of my daughter. I watched everyone, including Y, tip toe around saying this dogs name. After them being there for over an hour, he looked at me and said, "did you hear what her name is?" with a look of sorrow on his face. They don't dare to say her name anymore.
Easter came and went. Her basket stayed in the closet. I didn't send her a dress. I looked at them. I wondered what she'd wear to church yesterday morning. I cried when I thought about getting our pictures taken last Easter and how she adored her pink checkered dress and glitter shoes. Why didn't I send anything?
Am I throwing a silent tantrum? Who is being punished other than a beautiful little girl with only one new dress instead of two? It's not like she knows where these packages come from. But that's actually okay with me. Just knowing she has what I send is enough.
When I was traveling to Texas every other weekend to be with her, she'd show up wearing some pretty thing I sent or reading a new book that came to her before I got there - every time I'd say, "do you know where you got that?" and she'd say, "my mommy". In those times I would say, "actually I/this mommy sent that to you" or "grandma sent that for you" but now it's enough to know that things I've held are holding her. I don't care whether she knows they're from me or not. I just purchased a gift cert for a local movie theater to be sure they see an upcoming show I know she'll love. I'm certain they'd see it anyway but knowing I'll have a little piece of it feels good.
Another tantrum I had was whether or not to continue paying monthly child support. I've been paying it for years so the money part is just natural. She's always taken it (& still does - even after the ruling) so I'm not worried that she won't accept it. The question was to keep sending the money monthly or just put that money into a 529 plan for college. My partner and I discussed it and, of course, she left it up to me. So far, I've continued to send the child support. I know her mother, in all her need to exclude me, really needs the financial help. That's something she's never refused. & I guess knowing that I'm helping in that way, feels better than just piling money away that isn't helping in the moment. God I hate this.
People keep saying I should do whatever makes me feel good. Some people try to remove themselves, others try to stay connected. Well, nothing feels good. It all just sucks. When I think about her in the present, it's all just wonder. I wonder what she'd doing. I wonder what she had for lunch. I wonder if she's going on vacation. These are things you should naturally know about your child. Does she have a scrape on her knee? Does she wear a size 11 shoe? Can she write her whole name yet? The only time I feel "good" is when I'm reliving a memory - when I'm with her and when I know what's happening with her - when I'm contributing to her happiness. It's been over three months. How do I do this?
I think I'll send a dress for spring and stop throwing tantrums.
Friday, April 6, 2007
Tonight we will be hosting a giant sleepover. My niece and nephews will be Y's guests and they are all so excited! It's his first big event since we moved and I think he's excited to show off his new digs. I'm most excited about being smothered with the greatest kids on earth. (Yegs included)
My perfect brother has created three perfect kids. It's not so fair that he got all the "fertile" genes but, because he makes such great kids, I don't complain very often. We kind of joke that he got really good "swimmers" and that I'm sort of lacking in the "swimming pool" department. THREE! Sheesh! But we're all hoping it's my turn next and he's saying he has plenty. Maybe that will help my odds.
...And another subject.
My partner picked up Y the other day to bring him home. When she got to his other house, he was completely distraught. Now believe, he has drama running through his bones 24/7 but this was different. He was hysterical and it didn't end by the time he got home to me. His other mom has decided they can't keep the dog they gave him for Christmas. She's a Golden Retriever and she's not trained at all. She jumps on the kids, tears up the sprinklers and has to be tied up all the time - even in the house. Something is just wrong with that.
Now, I am one who thinks that dogs are only as "trained" as their trainers are. If you have a crazy dog, you haven't done your job in teaching it what's right and wrong. Y's other mom stays at home with the kids and they have another dog and some cats too. I get that she has a lot on her plate but it just seems so awful to make a decision, like adding a dog, and then taking it away. She's a puppy - 7 months. & she's big. Y has a three year old brother, O, who is knocked down all the time. But seriously, what kind of lesson is it to give up on a member of your family? Y is devastated. But his solution? We'll bring her to OUR house! We'll take in the ill trained dog! We - who work full time - can try to re-train a 7 mo old Golden! I think not.
We have talked in lengths about getting a dog. We've always had at least one. But since both left us in the last couple of years, we've needed some grieving time. Now that we're moved and we can start anew, we're ready for another. Is it wrong that we don't want this dog? Y is too young to do any discipline with a dog. He's only home 3-4 days a week. And we decided that we would get a beauty parlor dog this time. I'm feeling selfish. Any thoughts that aren't too harsh?
Love, the wicked step-mother.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Tomorrow, I will listen to the great Kate Kendell, ED at NCLR, speak about litigating lgbt issues in the 21st Century. (Where? Here or all the normal places?) She was my attorney at the Supreme Court but still, every time I hear her speak, I get the chills. She's brilliant! And I encourage you to come.
If you're interested, send me and email and get you the details.
I have been in deep thought about many things lately. The activist in me is rising by the hour. The mother in me has been aching with pain and excitement all at the same time. The friend in me has been frustrated. And the spiritual part of me has been holding on for dear life. Let's start with the first.
My job is full of opportunity to make things better for people. I love every minute of it and honestly, it feels like a blessing every single day. I have wanted to start a foundation that can fund parents, like me, in fighting for their kids. There's nothing like it out there. There are many, Many groups to fund the opposing side but nothing set to give real money to people who aren't Christians or no longer gay, etc. These people need to pay their attorneys or they can't fight. The idea of losing your child (or worse, your child losing you) simply because you can't afford to fight is appalling to me. I was lucky. I had equity in a house. I had room to apply for way too many credit cards. I had amazing friends and family and most of all, incredible attorneys. But some people simply can't fight because they can't even come up with a retainer fee. We have to change this. Stay tuned.
We've already been talking a bit about the struggle around TTC without letting go. I imagine this will be an inner battle but it's one I'm willing to deal with. I'm thrilled to death to finish IVF. The thought of it really happening brings me such intense joy. I just want it to be a separate experience and so far, I keep blending them. Stay tuned.
Some of my friendships, of late, have been evolving. I know this happens with everyone and I'm trying not to panic. But also, I want to make sure I'm not just purging people who really belong. I hate to sound like my friends are disposable. I don't mean that at all. There are just a couple that have become very distant and letting that happen is hard. The control freak in me wants to round everyone up and make everyone be friends so we can all be together and happy and healthy. It's not going to happen though. Too much baggage. What do you do with that? When your friends don't get along with each other, what are the options? Do you really have separate dinner parties for the rest of your life? Stay tuned.
I am a strong believer that anything is possible. I also believe that it's not up to me. And even though I can hope, believe and trust in something, it is not guaranteed. I believe that the basics of my life were destined and I get to fill in all the blanks with surprises and mistakes, love and regret. Part of my struggle is knowing that I am Gracie's mother. I know, more than any other thing, that she was given to me. And if you believe that there is a higher hand in all things, how did it go so wrong? And who do I blame? I realize having faith is another phrase for 'bring on the rain' but come on!
Monday, April 2, 2007
It's been a heavy day. My first phone call was NCLR telling me of another mother who lost her case and would be joining this ever growing number of us who continue to find ways to breathe. I obsess about what to say and how to comfort her tonight, knowing it's impossible. Not today, not tomorrow.
I wanted to comment about TTC too. So many of you are in that same river with me and if you've also lost a child, it's a whole other emotional unrest. We are planning for this month to be the beginning of the transfer. More drugs, more anxiety but finally, it's time! We have four fertilized eggs just waiting to be warmed up. They waiting for me! I'm the one stalling. Part of me wonders if the stress of the case would've just ruined any chance of me holding onto them anyway. The Universe has it's way of working things out.
I gave tours of our house all weekend. Most of our friends hadn't seen it yet so this seemed to be the weekend to come by. Every time I show someone the nursery, they make this sound that's sort of 1/2 moan, 1/2 "what do i say"? It has some things from my daughter's old room and, while that actually makes things easier for me, I think most people think I'm still waiting for her to be there. I assure you, like a big bucket of rocks hitting me one by one, her childhood will not have memories in that room. I tell them it's the nursery but still, they know she's missing and I wonder if they think I'm replacing her. Or maybe I just think that's how it will feel. Or maybe it just does feel like that some days. I get so in my head that I easily talk myself in and out of things that should just be.
She is my daughter. Always and forever.
I am not replacing her and I will never forget her
When we conceive, she will not disappear.
Another waiting mom wrote a beautiful email to me the other day and even though I didn't ask permission, I want to share part of it with all of you and ask that you send her positive thoughts and pray for the woman from this morning.
"Today, I step closer to hope and grab it and this evening when I am alone with my thoughts, when there is no television, or birds singing outside my window, when the wind is the only thing I hear besides my own thoughts, he comes to me. I see him at the bottom of the staircase calling for me....."Eah, Honey"".....I hear his voice as he sings songs he has written on his piano about his cat and his dog......I feel his warm cheeks and smell the freshness in his hair as I hold him in my arms and say those words that we all say over and over again in our heads and aloud....with both tears and with great joy.....I LOVE YOU.
We're winding down to Easter. It's this Sunday for those of you who still need to buy your vinegar and dye kits. I try not to get too Jesus crazy on this blog but I thought it would be a good time to mention some things.
Every year, though not Catholic, my partner and I give something(s) up for Lent. Her main reason, I found out recently, is that she can't possible commit to something like a New Years Resolution because that would have to last 365 days and who can live that long without chocolate? Lent, however, is only forty days and you actually get some heaven points for the sacrifice. Lent wins. In our house, it's all about Jesus.
Our son has two homes - four moms - two bedrooms - two dogs...you get the picture. He loves "telling on" each house when he's away from it but my favorite is this, "at
Anyway, back to Easter. We will celebrate this weekend with family by hiding eggs & finding baskets and hoping that somewhere during it all, we'll also celebrate the life we've been given through the sacrifice and rising of Jesus.
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
What is this day all about?
Hiding eggs for kids to route?
Cakes & cookies shaped like lambs
Pink Chapeau's or Pink Madams
That's not what this day is all about!
Who got buried, then got out?
Leaving no one ANY doubt.
"He has Risen!", hear them shout!
That's what this day is all about.