Dear Moppies, Maddies, and Babas; men who have given birth, women whose children still call you Daddy, queer parents of all genders and none,
There isn’t a holiday set apart for us. We’re reminded of that twice a year.
But I see you.
I see you next to your wife’s hospital bed, snuggling your newborn, skin to skin, against your top surgery scarred chest while the nurses avert their eyes and try not to ask questions.
I see you grieving the children you helped dream into this world and lost when your ex decided biology trumps the hours you spent raising them and the deep love for the children not of your DNA.
I see you chestfeeding your baby while glaring at people wishing you Happy Mother’s Day.
I see you who have lost custody because a court agreed that it was less “confusing” for your children for you to disappear from their lives than for them to see you as who you really are. And I see you trying to survive not fully transitioning so you can see your children.
I see you radicalizing your PTA. Taking down “Donuts with Dads” day. Confusing strangers by calling your infant “they” until they’re old enough to declare their gender. Raising children who ask strangers what their pronoun is.
There’s no day with the newspaper circulars advertising the stuff our children should buy us. Would we choose the perfume/flowers/pedicure day or the tools/fishing gear/golf club day? Or neither? (Maybe ditch the consumerism entirely.)
What would be the rituals of OUR day?
There’s the breakfast ritual—whatever works for your family.
And I propose we paint everyone’s nails, because nail polish is for everyone.
And the Maddy/Baba of the day can choose: is this a relaxing kind of day or a get something done kind of day? Sometimes there’s a lingering special project and if that could just get done today…so maybe this is a day for the next level of tool use instruction. And everyone gets to use power tools, as long as they tie their hair back.
Maybe we watch "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and weep when Mitzi meets his child. And blow kisses to the photographs on the wall…or if our kids are watching with us, we’ll fast forward through the parts they’re not ready for and tell them stories of the people who first showed us how fabulous gender can be.
Then there should be some kind of a dance party before the kids go to bed... with full use of the costume bin. Because drag queens like Mitzi inspire that kind of thing.
And bedtime will be like every night. We read our favorite books and change the default “he” to “they.” We will sing them lullabies like “Everything Possible” by Fred Small so they know how wide open the possibilities for their lives are.
And then — at our house anyway — we’d sit in the living room re-telling stories about the heartbreak and hilarity of parenting.
The options are endless. While we may not fit in the dominant mold, neither has capitalism constrained our day. The world might not see us, but we can see each other and celebrate the love and devotion we have for our children. We celebrate the gifts we give the world by being ourselves, so that all children might know how wide open the possibilities for their lives are.