Friday, March 12, 2010

What Is His Daddy Doing?

Today we were a bit late to the swimming class due to traffic, which was a shame as usually we're quite early and get to steal a few extra minutes of splashing fun. I quickly got Blake and me down to our swimming gear and got into the water. 

We missed about five minutes and it was the time for blowing bubbles. The moms, wary of wetting their hairdoos, would just put their lips underwater and blow gentle bubbles. I, on the other hand, stick my entire head underwater and blow out as much air as I can, unleashing a violent cluster of bubbles that tickle Blake's tummy and gently pop in his face. Everytime I'll come up for air I'll be greeted with Blake's laughing face. Considering my version is so much more exciting, I would also get the occasional attention of the other kids. This time it was a cute little girl who commented about it to her mom. The mom smiled at me and said to her daughter "What is his daddy doing?"

Now, a small and tired voice in my head encouraged me to correct her and tell her that I wasn't "daddy", I was "papa". Daddy was a completely different person in his life. Then a louder voice told the tired voice to shut the hell up. What was the point in telling her that? I would have to get into the whole being gay parents thing and why would I want to get into that with a stranger? Maybe if she looked like someone really interesting and I could use that as an ice breaker to get a conversation going, but certainly not during a swimming lesson. There's obviously nothing offensive in someone assuming I'm Blake's daddy just like there's nothing offensive in assuming that the wedding ring on my finger means that I have  a wife.

Eventually I can see Blake himself replying in confusion, saying something like "that's not daddy, that's papa!" He'd probably think that the person calling me daddy must be a complete idiot. But I can see even him stopping to care once he figures out why people make that assumption: most kids don't have a papa, just a daddy. Instead of a papa they have a mommy. Some kids have a mommy and a mama.

It reminds of a fairly similar situation we witnessed with our surrogate. We became great friends and would hang out quite a bit before, during and after the pregnancy. She even attended our wedding and sat with her husband at the family table allowing Blake to be there too as a foetus. About a week before the birth we met up at a restaurant for lunch. The waitress took our order and then smiled at the surrogate's four year old girl and said something nice about the little brother or sister in mommy's belly. The little girl didn't react to that at all. She didn't smile or looked confused. Her mother explained that she gets it all the time now and got used to it. She understands why people assume it's her sibling in that tummy, because that's her mother, but she also knows that mommy is helping another couple have a baby.

Just goes to show how adaptive children are. When they are young they don't have all the mental baggage we old folks have. They are ready to accept pretty much anything which is only one more reason why they are such wonderful creatures.

--Mickey
Papa Smurf, my real inspiration

1 comment:

Marco said...

...and today's world would be a much different place if we made sure to nurture and protect this amazing capability to adapt and tolerate (although I don't like this second word much... It's like holding your nose to avoid smelling something unpleasant...).