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Commentary -

  Sargent Fag, Corporal Dyke, you'll wait in the back of the bus while we determine if what you do in the privacy of your homes, with other consenting adults, is so detrimental to unit cohesion that it disqualifies you from laying down your life to defend our nation. And while you're back there, make out, or at least pretend to be attracted to each other so you don't creep out our more easily offended Generals, Admirals and chaplains.

  Yes, last night's votes in the Senate and House, when and if they play out the way the Administration and Congressional Democrats assure us they will, are a major step in the path towards more equality for GLBT Americans. And for that we will be very grateful to all those who voted in place a mechanism to end this absurdly discriminating policy. But since no one has bothered to end the steady stream of discharges under DADT in the mean time, something that could have and should have been done with a wave of a pen, let's talk reparations. It's only appropriate that when this law is finally repealed, GLBT Americans drummed out of active military service for their sexual orientation be not only reinstated but paid back wages and/or given pensions for the years of service they have been denied under this discriminatory law.

  And now let's talk spousal benefits and military families shall we?...

President Obama's statement on last night's vote-

  I have long advocated that we repeal ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’, and I am pleased that both the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee took important bipartisan steps toward repeal tonight.  Key to successful repeal will be the ongoing Defense Department review, and as such I am grateful that the amendments offered by Representative Patrick Murphy and Senators Joseph Lieberman and Carl Levin that passed today will ensure that the Department of Defense can complete that comprehensive review that will allow our military and their families the opportunity to inform and shape the implementation process.  Our military is made up of the best and bravest men and women in our nation, and my greatest honor is leading them as Commander-in- Chief. This legislation will help make our Armed Forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity.

  Let me wrap this up by saying that this was much more work than it should have been, considering 78% of the American population favored repeal, and that other, well respected military powers have had long established non-discrimination policies already in place for us to learn from and implement. But here again, with this long, protracted battle for repeal, the need for a strong, effective, aggressive, GLBT rights umbrella advocacy group is glaringly obvious. Is this really the most effective lobbying effort we can cobble together, with literally dozens of organizations, many with overlapping areas of advocacy, shouting from dozens of little soapboxes? We need to decide now whether the HRC can be that much needed central hub for activism or whether we want to coalesce around a new one. It's obvious that Joe Solmonese does not have the support of much of community at this point. Can we work with the infrastructure in place at the HRC minus it's leadership? Is there someone we can all rally around to lead us to full equality? The demographics all point to full equality on the horizon, how quickly we get there will largely depend on how effective our lobbying efforts are going forward.
 
       pridedk

DOMA News -

tnichlsn-
DOMA repeal lawyers David Boies and Ted Olson receive the 15th annual International Role Model Award at the International Equality Dinner on May 23rd. The case for overturning prop 8 sounds like a slam dunk as described here.

                       

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musing85-

Steve King (R-Iowa) is peeved that out-of-state gay and lesbian couples are turning his state "into the gay marriage Mecca." The Iowa Department of Public Health recently reported that of the more than 2,000 same-sex couples married in Iowa between April 27, 2009, and March 31, 2010, sixty percent were from out of state.

I'd have thought that Rep. King, being a conservative Republican and therefore in favor of allowing the "invisible hand" of "the market" to control, well, just about everything, would be in favor of anything that brought money into Iowa's coffers. But apparently it's more important to be a discriminatory bigot than it is to promote businesses in Iowa. Wonder how well that's going to sit with his constituents?

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jpmassar-

Marisa Tomei, Josh Lucas and other actors and actresses have begun to reprise key scenes from the Proposition 8 trial that took place back in January, and whose final arguments are (finally!) scheduled for June.

         

Called "Testimony: Equality on Trial," the novel campaign launched Thursday encourages people across the country to videotape key scenes from the trial and post them on a website alongside performances by Tomei and other professional actors.

see - jpmassar

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HIV/AIDS Roundup -

FogCityJohn-

Palmetto Fans

On May 27, AIDS advocates will gather for a protest in the Palmetto State's capital, Columbia, to call for emergency funds for South Carolina's AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

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Once More, Without Feeling

After making headlines recently for an abominable proposal that could make gays and lesbians subject to the death penalty, Uganda is again in the news, and not in a good way.  Agence France-Presse reports that Uganda's new HIV/AIDS bill, which calls for mandatory testing of pregnant women, compels people to disclose their status to their sexual partner and allows medical practitioners to reveal a patient's status to others.  After protests from human rights organizations, however,
Afrique en ligne reports that a provision providing criminal penalties for the transmission of HIV from mother to child through breastfeeding has been dropped.  Cold comfort to HIV+ mothers in Uganda.

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Wait Listed

TheBody.com reports that as of May 20, there are 1,143 people in 10 U.S. states who are on waiting lists for their states' AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs), which help low-income HIVers who are often uninsured pay for HIV/AIDS medications. In South Carolina, which proposed eliminating all ADAP funding, one person has already died on the waiting list.

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Beyond BP

As if Louisiana didn't have enough to worry about right now, The Advocate of Baton Rouge reports that a bill that would add sex education to the public school curriculum for students in grades 4-12 was crushed in the state house by a vote of 67 to 23. The bill would require "age-appropriate" instruction on human sexuality, including the benefits of abstinence and the importance of "effectively using contraceptives and barrier methods" as a way to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.  The measure failed even though Louisiana has the fourth highest rate of HIV infection in the nation.

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Elton John's letter to Ryan White, 20 years after his death from AIDS -

Twenty years ago this month, you died of AIDS. I would gladly give my fame and fortune if only I could have one more conversation with you, the friend who changed my life as well as the lives of millions living with HIV. Instead, I have written you this letter.

I remember so well when we first met. A young boy with a terrible disease, you were the epitome of grace. You never blamed anyone for the illness that ravaged your body or the torment and stigma you endured.

When students, parents and teachers in your community shunned you, threatened you and expelled you from school, you responded not with words of hate but with understanding beyond your years. You said they were simply afraid of what they did not know.

When the media heralded you as an "innocent victim" because you had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, you rejected that label and stood in solidarity with thousands of HIV-positive women and men. You reminded America that all victims of AIDS are innocent.

When you became a celebrity, you embraced the opportunity to educate the nation about the AIDS epidemic, even though your only wish was to live an ordinary life.

Ryan, I wish you could know how much the world has changed since 1990, and how much you changed it.

Young boys and girls with HIV attend school and take medicine that allows them to lead normal lives. Children in America are seldom born with the virus, and they no longer contract it through transfusions. The insults and injustices you suffered are not tolerated by society.

Most important, Ryan, you inspired awareness, which helped lead to lifesaving treatments. In 1990, four months after you died, Congress passed the Ryan White Care Act, which now provides more than $2 billion each year for AIDS medicine and treatment for half a million Americans. Today, countless people with HIV live long, productive lives.

It breaks my heart that you are not one of them. You were 18 when you died, and you would be 38 this year, if only the current treatments existed when you were sick. I think about this every day, because America needs your message of compassion as never before.

Ryan, when you were alive, your story sparked a national conversation about AIDS. But despite all the progress in the past 20 years, the dialogue has waned. I know you would be trying to revive it if you were here today, when the epidemic continues to strike nearly every demographic group, with more than 50,000 new infections in the United States each year. I know you would be loudly calling for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy that was promised by President Obama but has not yet been delivered. I know you would reach out to young people. I know you would work tirelessly to help everyone suffering from HIV, including those who live on the margins of society.

It would sadden you that today, in certain parts of the United States, some poor people with AIDS are still placed on waiting lists to receive treatment. It would anger you that your government is still not doing enough to help vulnerable people with HIV and populations that are at high risk of contracting the virus, including sexually active teenagers. It would upset you that AIDS is a leading cause of death among African Americans.

It would frustrate you that even though hundreds of thousands of HIV-positive Americans are receiving treatment in your name, more than 200,000 don't know their HIV-positive status, largely because a lingering stigma surrounding the disease prevents them from being tested. It would disappoint you that many teenagers do not have access to science-based HIV-prevention programs in school, at a time when half of new infections are believed to be among people under 25.

I miss you so very much, Ryan. I was by your side when you died at Riley Hospital. You've been with me every day since. You inspired me to change my life and carry on your work. Because of you, I'm still in the struggle against AIDS, 20 years later. I pledge to not rest until we achieve the compassion for which you so bravely and beautifully fought.

Your friend,

Elton

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Immigration News -

smellybeast-

Next week the D.C. Council will discuss a resolution showing support of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) pending in Congress.

Councilman At-Large David Catania authored the resolution last week, and the other 12 members of the council co-introduced it.

===================================================================

In addition to being included in the Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform outline, Rep. Gutierrez, who leads the effort in the House, now supports adding the UAFA to the House bill.

Rep. Gutierrez, who leads the effort in the House, now supports adding the UAFA to the House bill.

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Democratic Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL-19) has signed on as the 124th co-sponsor to the UAFA, leaving us only 4 short of the 128 usually needed to push for a floor vote.

Democratic Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL-19) has signed on as the 124th co-sponsor to the UAFA

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International News -

dirkster42/tnichlsn-

Gay magazine launched in Morocco. Homosexuality is illegal in Morocco but the publishers of the magazine feel its launch is a sign of progress. The European Union sees Morocco's defence of individual freedoms as vital to talks on closer trade and investment ties. Abdellah Taia, a gay Moroccan author who lives in Paris, said: "It seems that something is happening in Morocco that does not exist elsewhere in the Arab world. A new generation ... has achieved a certain freedom of expression thanks to the internet, and this magazine is a result of that freedom."

With gay rights under attack across Africa, it might not seem the best time to launch a magazine for homosexual people there.

But the owners of Mithly believe the launch of the magazine in Morocco is a sign of progress in a country where most gay men and lesbians tend to keep their sexuality secret.

Since its launch last month, Mithly – the title is an Arabic word meaning "the same as me", signifying gay – has covered subjects including the controversy over Elton John playing at a music festival in the country, a study of suicide among gay Moroccans and a book by an Algerian transsexual named Randa. The Arabic-language publication has sold 200 copies so far.

The paper edition circulated informally because it lacked a distribution licence from the government, said Samir Bargachi, general co-ordinator of Kif-Kif, Morocco's only gay rights group and the magazine's publisher.

He told the website Afrik.com that Mithly could reduce the stigma of being gay. "For over five years now, there has been a debate surrounding homosexuality in Morocco. But the mainstream media has the tendency to sensationalise the subject. With Mithly, we have the opportunity to give the views of homosexuals, and the opportunity to interact directly with society."

Homosexuality is taboo in the Arab world, and Moroccan law punishes "lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex" by jail terms of up to three years and a fine, although in practice convictions are rare.

===================================================================

Quote: Tiwonge Chimbalanga of Malawi- "Freedom without him is useless and meaningless".

Madonna issued a statement last week condemning the Malawi court decision to sentence same-sex couple Steven Monjeza and Tinwonge Chimbalanga to 14  years in prison for "gross indecency" and "unnatural acts." Now the singer, who has adopted two children from Malawi, is asking fans to add their names to her statement.

The website for Raising Malawi, a charity Madonna helped form in 2006, lists her statement regarding the antigay court decision and asks visitors to "stand with Madonna in support of equal rights and the freedom to love in Malawi." Please consider signing her petition.

"We must not sit back and allow this injustice to continue," a statement on the website reads after supporters add their email address to Madonna's statement. "Everyone deserves to have the freedom to love. Ask your friends to get involved, too."

from the Advocate.

I am shocked and saddened by the decision made this week by the Malawian court, which sentenced two innocent men to prison.

As a matter of principle, I believe in equal rights for all people, no matter what their gender, race, color, religion, or sexual orientation.

This week, Malawi took a giant step backward. The world is filled with pain and suffering; therefore, we must support our basic human right to love and be loved.

I call upon the progressive men and women of Malawi—and around the world—to challenge this decision in the name of human dignity and equal rights for all.

—Madonna

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Politics and Elections News -

musing85-

Donna Milo is a transgender Cuban-American candidate running for Congress in Miami (FL-20), where she is trying to unseat liberal Democrat (and vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee) Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Milo, 48, is a conservative Republican who transitioned ten years ago. She's a licensed pilot, a member of the NRA, and the owner of boat fabrication business. She is divorced with two grown children.

She recently appeared on Michelangelo Signorile's Sirius radio show for an interview, in which she stated that she's in favor of ENDA, and she's opposed to marriage equality for religious reasons ("marriage is between a man and a woman"). While she does favor allowing gay and lesbian parents to adopt, she thinks that "traditional families" should take precedence. And she doesn't think that the government has any place paying for sex reassignment surgery (SRS) for transfolk.

So what's a politically active LGBT person to make of this woman and her candidacy? On the one hand, it's epic to be the first openly trans candidate for national office. On the other, do we really want to support someone so significantly out of synch on issues of importance to the LGBT community? (In other words, is it more important to support LGBT candidates regardless of their politics, or do the issues matter more than the personalities?)

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tnichlsn-

Democratic Senate Candidate Alex Giannoulias has started a petition drive to repeal DADT on his website. The latest polls have Giannoulias pulling even with Former Republican Congressman Mark Kirk in the Illinois Senate race.

What's Wrong:
Currently, Americans in same-sex relationships are denied inheritance rights, hospital visitation rights, equal pension and health care benefits, and all of the other legal protections that the government grants married couples.

Alexi's Plan to Make it Right:
Alexi believes that all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, are part of the American family, and that the federal government should extend the same rights and responsibilities to all of its citizens.

Marriage Equality

While marriage as a religious institution should be governed by people's faith and the tenets of their religion, marriage as a civil institution should be governed by principles of fairness.
Civil marriage should be equal for all people and provide the same protections under the law, with all legal rights and responsibilities.
Alexi supports the right of individual states to give same-sex couples the right to marry, and would work to ensure that the federal government recognizes these marriages by supporting the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Brave men and women who are willing to fight and die for our country should be asked only one question: can they do the job? That is why Alexi supports the repeal of the military’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy.
Hate Crimes

Hate crimes target individuals, but inflict pain on entire communities. All people are entitled to live in dignity without fear of violence. Alexi fully supports the recently-signed Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention/Matthew Shepard Act, which increases the federal government’s power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence and expands the law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
Promote Employment Non-Discrimination and Tax Equity

Workers should be evaluated on their ability to do a job, not on their identities. Alexi supports efforts, modeled after existing civil rights and disabilities legislation, to prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. As State Treasurer, he ended years of a misguided policy in his office by extending health coverage to domestic partners. As a U.S. Senator, he would also work to end the double taxation of couples.

I'm sure a few bucks would be welcome by Alex's campaign. He's not yet got an ActBlue page.

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Culture News -

ajewella-

DADT Fight Puts a Renewed Spotlight on Yank!

In 2005, the musical Yank! A WWII Love Story was struggling as a workshop production  written by gay brothers Joe and David Zellnik (music and lyrics, respectively) at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. But thanks to a very successful Off-Broadway run Yank! is headed to Broadway for the 2010-2011 season.

Set in WWII, it's the story of a war reporter named Stu and an army private named Mitch who fall in love and struggle to survive in a time and place where the odds are stacked against them. Yank! features songs in period style (swing, big band, boogie-woogie) and explores the stories that usually don't get told about wartime - especially how WWII became a great catalyst in bringing gay men and women together. Producer Stuart Wilk says that while Yank! isn't "an overtly political musical, we've been mindful of 'don't ask, don't tell' moving right to the center of the national discussion. There has never been a better time on Broadway for a musical wartime love story that just happens to involve two GIs."

A recent cache of award nominations (including seven Drama Desk Award nods) and big name director David Cromer leading the Broadway production is increasing the buzz that Yank! could be a huge hit - especially in the wake of the dismal lack of hit musicals last year.

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GLBT Sports News -

tnichlsn-

Openly Gay College Coach Makes a Low-Profile Role Model-

Tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac in a leafy suburban neighborhood, Kirk Walker lives the life of a role model quietly.

Walker told his Oregon State players he was gay in 2005, when he and his partner, Randy Baltimore, were in the process of adopting their daughter, Eva, now 4.

                   Kirk Walker

No rainbow flags hang from the front of his house; political causes have never stirred him. And truth be told, Walker, the longtime Oregon State softball coach, has always been so absorbed by his work that he has not given much thought to being possibly the only publicly gay man coaching a Division I sport.

And then the phone will ring. Or an e-mail message will pop up in his inbox.

It will be from someone wanting to talk, and Walker is eager to listen.

"Although it’s only my story, it has definitely changed a lot of people’s perspectives — just internally, of how they view themselves," Walker said. "It tells them there’s a little bit of hope. ‘It may not be the right time for me, but this can happen.’ "

To be gay in 2010 is something met with a shrug of the shoulders in many places. Though court and legislative battles are still being waged over same-sex marriage and other civil liberties, acceptance has become the norm.

Sport, though, is one of the last quarters where many gay people are not comfortable enough to step out — particularly men. The former N.F.L. players David Kopay, Roy Simmons and Esera Tuaolo came out after their careers were over, as did the former baseball player Billy Bean and the former basketball player John Amaechi.

Even though Walker is in a low-profile sport played by women, his being out is significant, according to Jim Buzinski, a founder of Outsports.com.

"It’s probably not as sexy as if he were coaching a men’s team — that’s a different dynamic because people always freak out about the locker room," Buzinski said. "But Kirk’s value is in putting a name to the concept that ‘Oh, we know there’s gay coaches and gay players.’ Here’s one you can identify with. By being himself, he is trail-blazing."

from the NY Times.

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  Have you signed our petition to encourage the World Cup organizers to honor Eudy Simelane and all of the South African women who have suffered "corrective rape" at the hands of homophobic thugs? The 2010 FIFA World Cup is being held in South Africa and Eudy was raped and murdered in part for her love of the game of soccer/football and in part for her living an open life as a lesbian. We're at 233 signers to date. PLEASE take a second and add your voice! I'll turn the signatures in to FIFA over the weekend, so this is your last chance to be heard and show support for the women of South Africa being so brutally abused for expressing their sexuality.

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Obama Puts "More Muscle" Behind DADT Repeal-

On May 28, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Per DNC spokesguy Hari Seguvan: The White House push to repeal DADT (Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell) just got more muscular (Mmmmm... muscles.). The DNC is tapping the 14 million-folks-strong Organizing for America (nee Obama for America) mailing list, asking supporters to lobby their senators for repeal. Last night (as I was watching Glee, if you must know), the House passed an amendment that would legislate repeal with a surprisingly strong 234-194 win. Hill-watchers (including the White House) have known that the Senate vote will be closer, though with traditionalists like Robert Byrd now saying they'll support repeal, the White House's stepping in more forcefully does not seem like the waste of political capitol it might have been.

Text of email to OFA members.

Subject: Keeping the President's promise
Friend --

This is big news: Yesterday, the full House of Representatives and the Armed Services Committee in the Senate voted to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

In his State of the Union address, President Obama pledged to end the law that denies gays and lesbians the right to serve their country. Now, we are closer than ever to making good on that promise.

The full Senate will soon start its debate on repeal. But some Republicans are digging in their heels. Senator John McCain said, "I'll do everything in my power" to block a vote. And Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker called the repeal bill "a major mistake" -- announcing that the GOP plans to filibuster.

We can defeat those who'd stand in the way of history. But we must show our senators that Americans -- in every state -- overwhelmingly support repeal.

Stand with the President and join the pledge to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

From the Recovery Act to health reform to Wall Street reform, one by one President Obama is delivering on his campaign promises. And, now -- if we can overcome Republican obstruction -- we have a chance to deliver on another: bringing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to an end.

As the President has said, this is about more than just living up to his word. We must end this law because "it's the right thing to do."

Any policy that punishes brave men and women who step forward to serve their country simply for being who they are isn't just misguided -- it's discrimination.

That's why President Obama didn't just campaign on ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"; he made it a priority. And it's why it's now a matter of how and when -- not if -- we will repeal this law.

But as the Republicans prepare to block a vote on this historic legislation, we must do all we can to help deliver on the President's promise.

Add your name to the pledge today -- and then please pass it on:

http://my.barackobama.com/...

Thanks,

Mitch

Mitch Stewart
Director
Organizing for America

— Ana Marie Cox

Originally posted to GLBT and Friends at Daily Kos on Fri May 28, 2010 at 08:29 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How fucking pathetic is it that we have to go (64+ / 0-)

    through these machinations in order to put our lives on the line to defend this country? Please write to the folks at ActBlue and demand that they remove Senator James Webb from their candidates being supported list, in light of yesterday evening's disgraceful, homophobic vote on DADT. Someone please check the list of House Democrats voting against us last night to see if we need to remove any of them from ActBlue as well.

      On a happier note, next week we will catch up with Brian, Benjamin and Bryce, aka the 3B's as they fill us in on some exciting new developments in their ongoing story of single gay fatherhood.

    http://www.actblue.com/page/wglb-dailykos

    by GLBT and Friends at Daily Kos on Fri May 28, 2010 at 05:55:15 AM PDT

  •  Gay Cheers & Jeers from the Left Coast (38+ / 0-)

    Cheers to the House and the Senate for at least passing something even if it is NOT a complete and automatic REPEAL.

    Jeers to the President,House & Senate for not passing a Bill that automatically recognizes the Civil Rights of Gay Soldiers while they continue to give their lives for this Country, no.. Shame.

    When you've got 78% of the American Public for Repeal including 60% of Republicans (CNN Poll) then we should not have been served a platter that hands over action/approval to a Pentagon overrun with Bushites to make the final decision. It reeks of political cowardice and shows a lack of moral courage and a lack of "fierce advocacy".

    Cheers to Rep Patrick Murphy-D PA-08 for taking the lead pushing something through, albeit..

    Cheers to Rep. John Lewis-D GA-05 for his eloquence on the House Floor

    Cheers to the following Republican Congressmen and one Gop Senator:

    Susan Collins-R ME

    Biggert IL-13
    Cao LA-02
    Djou HI-01
    Paul  TX-14
    Ros-Lehtinen FL-18

    Jeers to the following Democratic Congressmen and One Senator:

    Jim Webb-d VA (You'll not see a cent from me in 2012 after giving to you from Primary through General in 2006)

    Democratic Members of the House who voted No

    Berry  AK-01
    Bishop GA-02
    Boucher VA-09
    Bright  AL-02
    Carney PA-10
    Childers  MS-01
    Costello  IL-12
    Critz PA-12
    Davis TN-04
    Donnelly  IN-02
    Edwards TX-17
    Etheridge NC-03
    Green, Gene  TX-29
    Lipinski IL-03
    Marshall  GA-08
    McIntyre  NC-07
    Ortiz  TX-27
    Peterson  MN-07
    Pomeroy  ND-AL
    Rahall   WV-03
    Ross
    Shuler NC-12
    Skelton MO-04
    Spratt  SC-05
    Tanner  TN-08
    Taylor MS-04

    Final Jeers to Sen John McCain-R for making everything worse and being a lying backstabbing hypocrite.

    Lots of work to do, if this is the stellar treatment we get on an Issue overwhelmingly favored by the American Public then I have little "Hope" over DOMA,ENDA or UFA or ever seeing full Equality in my Lifetime. After my 34 Years out of the closet fighting every day it seems...this is truly Pathetic.

    (-8.50/-7.44) "Real Democrats don't make promises they can't keep." Dr. Howard Dean

    by Predictor on Fri May 28, 2010 at 08:32:56 AM PDT

  •  I know the DADT struggle has been front and (23+ / 0-)

    center on most political radars of late... this whole thing is just getting ridiculous.  60 days this, sign-off that.  Didn't take any of that to get it passed in the first place.

    Terry, did you ever get that YouTube I sent of the British special that Gareth Thomas hosted?  It was marginally sports related but extremely GLBT related.

    "When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long/and you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong.."

    by Texas Blue Dot on Fri May 28, 2010 at 08:33:36 AM PDT

  •  I'm very glad to see (20+ / 0-)

    that someone supports reparations for discharged LGBT service members. Even more interesting: I made that point on a comment thread about a month ago. I got flamed.

    Vote Rowe in the Maine Dem primary.

    by commonmass on Fri May 28, 2010 at 08:40:24 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for these terrific diaries. (13+ / 0-)

    not another dime to the dnc, dscc, dccc until i have my civil rights.

    by scooter in brooklyn on Fri May 28, 2010 at 08:42:32 AM PDT

  •  About the Malawi thing. (14+ / 0-)

    That's a heterosexual relationship, since Tiwonge Chimbalanga identifies as a woman.  A correction might be in order.

  •  At some point, (17+ / 0-)

    because it's well-established that I am that shallow, Alexi Giannoulias will get some money from me, for the simple reason that he is the sexiest Senate candidate I've seen in a while.  Scott Kleeb ain't got nothing on this dude.

    But first, there has to be some money in my bank account to share.

  •  You know we never would have... (10+ / 0-)

    even had this chance to have LBGT serve equally in the military today if we had not had the great forethought of WJC put DADT in place...it proved that gays can serve in the military with no issues...

    Obama - Change I still believe in

    by dvogel001 on Fri May 28, 2010 at 08:48:57 AM PDT

  •  I don't know how I feel anymore (13+ / 0-)

    about assimilation given that I have it (after wanting it) and find it deeply stifling.

    (this is in response to the Oregon coach article.)

    black kos tue-fri/ sistahspeak fri/wglb fri/c&j daily!

    by terrypinder on Fri May 28, 2010 at 08:50:56 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for this very important and very (11+ / 0-)

    powerful diary. I look forward to every Friday when I get a chance to stop by and read it.

  •  Who were the DINOs that voted against DADT? (8+ / 0-)

    They ALL should be removed from any support of ACTBLUE or any other progressive fund raising efforts.

    Gay Agenda: 1. Equality 2. See #1

    by skip945 on Fri May 28, 2010 at 08:53:00 AM PDT

  •  you may not be happy yet but, (10+ / 0-)

    I am happy for you about dadt.
    It is a blow against prejudice and  hate.  A win for fairness and equality.
    Just stay focused and take each one and knock it down.

  •  For Ryan White (16+ / 0-)

    and that beautiful and moving letter from Elton John.

    Burning candle Pictures, Images and Photos

    As always, thank you for these amazing diaries.

    Those that are most threatened by us are those that are most unsure of themselves.

    by Steven Payne on Fri May 28, 2010 at 08:54:38 AM PDT

  •  While I am glad that the amendment made the (16+ / 0-)

    bill last night in the House, I wish that it weren't a case of fighting tooth and nail to get it through. Of course, it would be even better if there had been nothing to get through to begin with. Why do we really have to, as a nation, be so homophobic and pedestrian?

    Economic: -7.62 Social: -5.74
    Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!

    by triciawyse on Fri May 28, 2010 at 09:00:34 AM PDT

  •  80% public support. (20+ / 0-)

    Let me see...other things that get 80% public support: puppies are the cutest creatures in the animal kingdom, ice cream is delicious, your mom is the best mother in the world, and I dunno...Angelina Jolie is hot.

    This is your 80% company...about as uncontroversial as it gets. So if DADT repeal is that uncontroversial, and all the administration and Congress dragged kicking and screaming into this faux repeal compromise...16 months after the inauguration of this Congress and administration, what does that tell you about the other agenda items on gay equality that do not have company of puppies, mothers, ice cream and Angelina Jolie?

    It's really really depressing.

    "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

    by michael1104 on Fri May 28, 2010 at 09:02:28 AM PDT

  •  I was going to comment about HRC, but Olson... (8+ / 0-)

    Ted Olson? Really? So, heckle the current President, but give Ted Olson an "International Role Model" award?

    Ted Olson, the Bush Administration's Solicitor General?

    Ted Olson, who installed George Bush in the White House?

    Come on. Priorities. I don't care how much Ted Olson is getting paid to showboat the Prop 8 repeal case-- it's a slam dunk on the quality of the legal argument, and it shouldn't take a ridiculous, self-effacing moral compromise like having Ted Olson argue the case to make it look legitimate. Why aren't the lawyers who have been putting their asses on the line for lgbt rights for decades getting pushed to the front of the line to take the credit for this case? Instead, Ted freaking Olson is swooping in to save the day. This is ridiculous, and speaks to the utter lack of any sense of principle (or strategy) in the movement for "equality" right now.

    Republican "party": Party like it's 1929.

    by noabsolutes on Fri May 28, 2010 at 09:06:43 AM PDT

  •  Donna Milo (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, commonmass

    She sounds like the perfect candidate for the right-wing Cubans in Miami.  Along with the Florida politicians who are trying to unseat a progressive candidate.

    I think maybe some investigative journalism on her ties can help uncover her misrepresentation and fraud for the transgender community.

    I don't care if she's transgendered physically, she isn't mentally, and that's the problem with people controlled by power and money.

    IMHO...

    "Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize we can't eat money " -- Cree Proverb

    by pcl07 on Fri May 28, 2010 at 10:12:31 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this news round-up (9+ / 0-)

    I'm glad to see more discussion of these issues. This format is interesting, and I like that it brings together the work of various people. It's like a newsletter, but actually far more interesting than most newsletters I've seen :-)

    Please support equality in California: http://www.couragecampaign.org

    by Curiosity on Fri May 28, 2010 at 10:23:49 AM PDT

  •  Something just occurred to me: (6+ / 0-)

    Why does the female NCO in the opening paragraph of this diary rank below the male?

    Just asking: could this be unintended sexism, or does Corporal Dyke just sound better?

    With tongue firmly planted in cheek, I remain, as always,

    Running Quickly for Cover.

    Vote Rowe in the Maine Dem primary.

    by commonmass on Fri May 28, 2010 at 11:33:45 AM PDT

  •  I guess the more militant WGLB is turning some (7+ / 0-)

    of our regular supporters off. --- not sure what to make of that.?

    What do we want??? Equal rights! When do we want them??? Now!

    by tnichlsn on Fri May 28, 2010 at 12:50:43 PM PDT

  •  Sorry I missed the fun this morning (9+ / 0-)

    I slept in late. I just put up today's diary on DADT. It's a really special one. Please check it out, I'm sure you'll agree.

    It's here. Oh no! There's gays in the military! And there always has been.

    We will remember in November.

    by Scott Wooledge on Fri May 28, 2010 at 01:20:53 PM PDT

    •  you are entitled to sleep the weekend away! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, alicia, Predictor

      Thanks for all your hard work Clark and I'm so sorry the end result wasn't more satisfying and just. There wasn't anything any of us could have done differently that would have changed the outcome. I think the only reason we got anything at all was the actions of the activists on the west coast challenging our allies Pelosi and Boxer. And I'm convinced your hard work contributed to this result, it ain't great but it's better than nothing. So, Thank you, thank you very much!

      What do we want??? Equal rights! When do we want them??? Now!

      by tnichlsn on Fri May 28, 2010 at 04:07:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry I'm late (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, tnichlsn, Predictor, GreenDog

    Once again, they are slamming me at work and I've got the post-vacation fibromyalgia flare happening. I was looking forward to a 3-day weekend, but now it looks like I may have to work.

    I'm really liking the new diary format.

    Love to all and have a good holiday weekend.

    The worst thing about being lied to is realizing that you weren't worth the truth.

    by ajewella on Fri May 28, 2010 at 01:34:18 PM PDT

  •  Great diary. I like the format, and I want to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tnichlsn, alicia, ajewella, Predictor

    thank each of the contributors! Good job!

    "..the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." Kurt Vonnegut

    by GreenDog on Fri May 28, 2010 at 02:02:14 PM PDT

  •  Love, love the diary, the format.... (0+ / 0-)

    and I remain ever hopeful and completely supportive.  I watched Rachel Madow as the House votes came in and while it isn't repeal, it was comforting to see us moving forward with Congressional support.  ♥, one and all.

    We're walking temples of noise, and when you add tender hearts to this mix, it somehow lets us meet in places we couldn't get to any other way.-Anne Lamott

    by alicia on Sat May 29, 2010 at 06:41:44 AM PDT

  •  - (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Predictor

    This morning we catch up with our friends the 3B's, aka as Brian, Benjamin and Bryce. For those of you unfamiliar with the 3B's story here at WGLB, we'll rehash a bit before jumping into the exciting new lives they currently find themselves settling into and the exciting new endeavor Brian is diving into to help perspective new parents as they embark on the journey he has navigated so adeptly these past few years. Brian is a good friend, although we've only met/dated once, but he is every bit the Superhero Dad these previous two diaries portray him to be. I'm sure He and the Boys will inspire you if not capture your hearts they way they have mine. The following chapters detailing Brian's journey into single fatherhood were originally posted on the website/community blog ProudParenting. Brian is in the process of setting up his own website where he will continue his work and promote his new foundation- The Intentional Father.

      Thu, 08/09/2007 - 6:09pm
      There are only two things I ever wanted to be in this life, a husband and a father. Now, imagine watching men run for the next county when you tell them. To shorten a very long story, I decided to become a father since becoming a husband was proving much more difficult. I was beginning to think I had a better chance at pregnancy. So after a period of interviews and navigation through the complex legal and emotional process I got a call on the day before Thanksgiving 2004, telling me that there was a little boy who was two years old. So begins the saga.

      In the initial visit with my son, I witnessed a child who was bright, smiled, yelled, stomped his feet and screamed. It was not that he could not talk, he would not talk. He had his own language, created in his mind to get his needs satisfied as a result of them not being met prior. I was told that he could only say seven words, all in Spanish. I went to a corner on this initial visit and sat there with a book and a stuffed bear and waited. Ever so slowly, he approached me, would touch me and run away and giggle. Eventually, he sat in my lap and looked at me for a while, with his social worker, the foster mother and my adoption worker looking on, he put his hand on my face and said “daddy”. This was not one of the words that he knew and it was not in Spanish... so it began.

      We finalized the adoption in July of 2005, after paternity leave, teaching him to speak, potty training (I would gladly take any bar exam again to never have to potty train again) where he would sit on the toilet and sing and practice his words when he thought I was out of ear shot. I sat around the corner from the bathroom and cried as I listened to his words, imagination and person come alive. Now, we are deep in the threes and he talks constantly, questions everything and wakes each morning with "Love you Daddy” and leaves me each night with what we call a “forever” hug, as he knows I will be his daddy forever. Every night my son picks a book to read, recently he asked for a book with a mommy in it. You are never quite prepared to answer certain questions and despite all my best efforts to be as prepared as possible to counter the mind of a toddler, I am inevitably stumped at times.

                                           The3Bs

      We found a book with a mommy in it and climbed into his big boy bed to read. Once in bed, he asked me if he would have a mommy (the lump in my throat and holding back tears) I started that there are families out there who have mommies, daddies, and all various combinations but a family is about all the people who love you. My son started to recite all of the people who are in and who touch both his and my life... the list is rather long but I let him go on. He finished with “all people”, “yes, all people” I said, “Love me” he said, “My family” he stated. I held my son against my chest and he gave me a forever hug, I cried as I heard “love you daddy”.

      I am sure this is not the last time I will be asked about this issue, but never did I think I would be asked about it at three. Knowing my son, had I not satisfied his need for an answer he would have pressed me for a better answer. However, in his mind his family is all the people who love him. There is much to be learned from children, I learn daily and for that I am thankful.

    **********************************************************************************

      Thu, 08/09/2007 - 6:12pm
      Ok, I am crazy. I am in the process of adopting another son. Adopting Benjamin was about me and wanting to be a father. Adopting his brother is about wanting him to have a family and a sibling. So at this juncture I am immersed in the process again and riding the roller coaster associated with expecting another child. Home construction, home-studies, a second car, interviewing au pairs, new schools, and the list is endless but at least I have learned some things to make this time easier.

      Sometimes I think this parenting thing is more creative thought than anything else and you will do things that you never thought you would and say certain things you “VOWED” you would never say. I remember calling my mother feeling like a complete hypocrite after my son learned the word “WHY”. The incessant questioning led daddy to a need for a martini and a call to mom. “I said it” were my first words to her... she laughed. He kept asking me “why” and finally, it came... ”Because I said so that’s why.”

      I also vowed I would never lie or deceive my son, until we hit the monster nightmare phase of toddler hood. You might be amazed to know that statistically nightmares take place between the hours of 3 and 6 a.m. My son was a virtual statistical prodigy. Imagine being awoken at 4 a.m. for a period of 3 weeks while your child SCREAMS that there are monsters in the room. I bought a book. The books say this is a direct result of a 3 year old imagination turning on and the internal struggle that results from the need to separate from the parent and conflict as a result of still needing their parent. The book stinks, I wanted to club the author with the book or at the very least make her sleep here for a month. Despite all the consoling in the world and the fact that there were no monsters; I get from him, Elmo? “Elmo is a good monster”, I replied ”good people and bad people” he stated, I was beginning to follow his logic in my sleep deprived state.
    I guess I was teaching him something.

      I told him we were going to the magic store (Wal-Mart), so he could pick out a magic light (nightlight of his choosing). We got one that “magically” comes on when it gets dark. I told him that the magic light would keep monsters away. This worked for 3 nights, now we have bigger monsters. So, I created the story of Monk. My grandmother had a statue of a monk that was a family heirloom, one night I took monk and told Ben the story of Monk and how only little boys could talk to him but only Daddy could hear him. I told him that every night he needed to say good night to Monk and to say “keep me safe”. He does this nightly and magically we are getting some sleep, never say never.

                   Ben1

      Toddlers are also neurotic, once they learn certain words you never seem to get them off them. From the time my son learned BOO-BOO and ITCHY, I think I have gone through more tubes of aquaphor than any man on the planet. However, taken in the time frame of nightmares a simple itch can lead to an hour of wrangling and arguing with a toddler who has developed a psychosomatic illness that is bound to put daddy in the booby hatch. The best plan is a counter attack. On one particular evening, my son developed an incurable itch which prevented him from going to sleep. No amount of cream solved the issue... UGH! The kid was like a greased pig at a county fair, I was afraid to pick him up for fear I would drop him. None the less, the itch would not abate, neither would the clinging and crying all to avoid the inevitable bedtime. So, I reached into the parental bag of tricks. I lied.

      Did you know when you become a daddy you get a magic pair of socks? They have to be red, (who would wear red sox anyway, they do not match any of his clothes, what can I say I am still gay after all) So, I told him they were magic red sox. When daddy puts the magic red sox on before bed, they will work all night long to cure any ill, and in the morning you will be all better. Every time we put them on the tears subside and in the morning I get, a hug and am told we are all better. I want my own pair.

      My house has been under construction in preparation for the new arrival. I am thankful it is almost done. I am staring at the wall in my kitchen which contains the 40th birthday present I got for myself. Every one wanted to throw a pity party when I turned 40, I felt as though I was just hitting my stride. I have a favorite artist, Donna Estabrooks, in whose paintings I always took comfort and a message. There are three things I had her paint.

      First, a painting about Ben, who has always been my wish; If you ask him who he is he will tell you his name and add I am “daddy’s wish”. Second, I had her paint one about his brother, to be named Bryce, who is my dream. I never could have dreamt the joy I get from being a father and his name came to me in a dream. Bryce means son of a noble man. Third, I had her paint my hope, that someday I will find another to share in all of this. The paintings are individual, so I can give each child their painting at a special time in their life to know how special they are. However, I shall never give up hope. The three paintings fit together and shall always remain interconnected and committed to one another, like family, each having a separate unique value when removed from the whole.

      So are my ramblings as my son tells me his pasta is not cooked correctly (My next entry will be how to tell that a child was raised by a gay man, for instance at 4 they only want pasta al dente, know about art and sculpture and have traveled a bit to name a few things) In the interim, I wait for my new son and enjoy the adventures in parenting.
    **********************************************************************************

      02/11/2008 - 6:50am
      Ok, so I am getting to the point where this is almost becoming a monthly occurrence to get something posted. As life is speeding along at a rapid pace; I feel like I am paddling as fast as I can. However, is it ever fast enough?

      The January Blues- January was the supposed month that we would be done with Bryce’s adoption, on the 7th. Once again another snag in this quagmire we are in as I struggle to get out of it. We proceed to court on the 11th of this month to a full trial and I am hopeful we will prevail with no issues. Frankly, I am just plain tired and I need this to be over and done with and close the door on this part. I did learn from Benjamin’s adoption that no matter what, you do not relax until you walk out the door after the gavel comes down and you take back your life and settle into a routine of no social workers, watchers, court dates, parents who pop up and then disappear into the night again. I will just be thankful when it is over. I have made it this far now if I can hang in there until the end of March... I can schedule a nervous break down then!

                  BenBryce_114.preview

      January was also the month of personal roller coasters. Business travel used to be fun, now it is not fun it is EXPENSIVE. I recently had to travel to Toronto to deliver a training program that was developed. I was so excited to go, until I was running around the night before with sick kids, packing like a maniac and writing notes. The usual cool calm collected dad was a disaster in the making. I had to juggle day care, after care, cold care, limos, Boss care, making sure all the materials got there. The benefit of flying without kids is that you can sleep on the flight and then there is room service, there is no fight for the remote control and you are not subjected to Sponge Bob. I actually got to sleep by myself until 6:30 one morning. I was almost late for breakfast with my boss and other colleagues but it was worth it. Whatever rest I got was quickly over as soon as I walked in the door and again tried to jump on the raft that is my life, rushing
    along this uncharted river of intentional fatherhood.

      The kids are doing fine. I had a parent teacher meeting about Ben, he continues to progress and excel in school. However, he had the unfortunate incident of running into his first bigot in kindergarten. Man kids are mean. This little girl Julia, told Ben that he had a mommy and a daddy and they did not want him so they gave him away that is why he is adopted. Needless to say my heart broke hearing that and thankfully it was repairable as I had always prepared for this despite not thinking it was going to be from some little brat whose parents ought to teach their kid kindness. Ben is fine, albeit acting out a bit. However he is five and he knows everything.

      Bryce turns 2 in a week and he is coming along fine. He is much happier as he really begins to learn to talk and express himself. Today is the trial date and I could not sleep well. I just want it to be over. I would love to be in the courtroom to see what transpires and know what is happening. I am hopeful that his bio mom is still on the run to try to avoid the multiple warrants out for her arrest. Bryce is safe and happy and I just want closure today. Despite the fact that there is a period for appellate review, I just want it over as I know the likelihood of it going up on appeal is almost impossible. However, it is always there and until it passes and we are able to go into court and have this adjudicated, I keep paddling.

      How am I doing? I am paddling. I have actually been dating. I did meet a man who has all the qualities I could want in a companion and boyfriend. He manages to deal well with the kids and places them first. He managed to survive a weekend of sick kids, sick dogs and did not run for the hills. I really care for him... he has been gone for three weeks and returns home this evening. I can tell through the phone and e mail exchanges that something has changed. I think perhaps the phenomena I call “Merry-Go-Round” has set in. What I mean by that is that there are men who want children (or at least they think so) and they want to buy a ticket to try. The reality is that the ride is fun for a while and then there is the desire to get off. What they do not realize is that those of us who bought a lifetime pass, jump on and off and back on again repeatedly. It is not bad, it is what I have chosen and I have learned to get off and return to the ride and
    jump right back on. The simple fact is that as an intentional father you must return to the ride. As a ticket holder, you have the choice to not return as you weigh all you will give up if you were to stay. Something tells me that the price of a lifetime ticket may be to much for him. Now I may be surprised, but I will have to wait and see if the allure of “Gay Life” is greater, for most it is. I can not change that and I will go on, like I always do. However, it was nice to have a taste of what could be and in the end be satisfied if that taste is all there is, as a steady diet of instability is not in my best interest or that of the kids.

      Well, that is it. It is almost 6 a.m. and the merry go round is about to start this morning. I have bus duty today and have to get the kids off and myself ready for work. In the interim I thank god my kids are alright and the river is calm for the most part right now, and the laundry is done!

                     The3Bs

    **********************************************************************************
      Sat, 11/29/2008 - 5:52pm
      It has been a wild ride since I last wrote anything substantive. The boys are upstairs watching a movie and I am in the living room trying to think all of what is running through my mind as I am cooking a turkey. We were at my parents for Thanksgiving but I cannot live without leftovers and soup and Turkey pot pies so the boys and I are having our own dinner today. So, we finalized Bryce’s adoption in May and that was all said and done. I launched into the summer with 2 kids and new central air conditioning. Well the installers screwed up the installation and as a result that unbeknownst to us there was Mold growing and proliferating through the house.

      We were all pretty sick through May, June but we had no idea why. My mother’s health continued to deteriorate and still does to present.  The kids lost their Nano (another grandfather from my “Chosen” family and were hit pretty hard with that. All I have been able to do is navigate water with them that is uncharted. However, the preparation was worth it and they are doing ok with it and appear to be doing ok with my mother’s continued state of decline. This holiday led her to the ICU and her checking out against medical orders to be with the kids. It is her life and she needs to choose to live it how she sees fit and all I can do is be a support to her and transition my kids through it. The mold situation continued to escalate and when we returned home from our July vacation we closed up the house and switched on the central air. Little did we know that we were living in a toxic environment cause by the negligence of others.

      We all became ill. Ben with terrible persistent nose bleeds Bryce and I with upper respiratory issues accompanied by rashes, conjunctivitis and breathing issues. It was not until the 28th of July that I discovered the mold. After consultation with specialists and others, I packed up the kids and left my home not knowing if I would or when we would return. We left first for Wisconsin for a family fishing holiday. It was spectacular. We enjoyed the time together and we all healed. We were all better within hours of leaving the house. This proved we could not come home. Upon our return we moved in with the wonderful man I was dating and proceeded to try to normalize life. It was great for the kids but most assuredly a disaster for our relationship.  I discovered my true parental instinct and was running constantly to keep the boys in their normal routine. I poured my life savings into this house and sit on the brink of financial disaster but we made it
    home in October.

      The house not completely ready and torn apart, we lived absent heat and furniture. However, the boys were happy. I was just anxious, waiting for the next bomb to drop. The economic situation did not help with mass layoffs at my company and more to come. All the while my only focus is and was the kids. Like a bear I am, ensuring their safety to my own detriment and their happiness is paramount. I discovered that my life is complete with those kids and that you realize what you are made of when you are in hot water (attribution to Eleanor Roosevelt).

      I realized that a home is filled with more than furnishings and other things. Despite the tears over lost stuffed animals and other things we have returned to a tonic state. Despite repeated trips to Children’s Hospital in Boston and scary moments like the thought there was a cardiac effect on Bryce as a result of the mold and the creeping doubt about if you are doing the right thing, parental instinct is an amazing thing. Remarkably, we are all fine, the house is getting somewhat restored and I have learned that even if I do have to throw out all the old (which I basically did) I can begin a new and my kids will be fine as long as I am fine, or at least never let them see you sweat!!!

      Ben is now almost half done with first grade and he is a remarkable and loving little boy and I am very proud of him as a person. I respect my son. Bryce is growing in leaps and bounds on a daily basis and his personality has emerged in full force along with all of the things about a three year old that makes me cry for a martini and a night off. Christmas is fast approaching and so is the new year which I hope is better than this one, but this is the year that I became a dad again so that far outweighs all the tragedy that befell us.

      I also know I can make it through, alone if necessary and the boys and I will be fine. I would rather not proceed that way but as much as I strive for balance there are times that there is no balance and life is weighted totally to the children and that is the way it is... so someone out there has to understand that what few precious moments we get alone as parents, whoever we share those precious moments with should or has to realize just how special those moments are.

                 The3B's

      As we were wrapping up this first installment of the 3B's story, Brian got sidetracked by a serious and life altering event, the ramifications of which are still playing out both in their home lives and in the courts. Literally within hours of my putting the finishing touches on this first installment of the 3B's diary I received word from Brian, that he was rushing the boys to the hospital, with a new bout of very serious, mold related illness. So what had started as an inspirational story with a happy ending had suddenly been turned upside down...

    **********************************************************************************

      Mon, 02/02/2009 - 12:14pm
      So I find myself with a few minutes between conference calls and the like, while Bryce is working with his teacher, to gather my thoughts and continue writing about this journey. I am calling it a journey as the ground is too uncertain right now to call it anything else and we just keep moving it along.

               BrianBenBryce1

      The boys are doing well. Bryce is almost 3, his birthday is in a few weeks, and we are having a family party for him. He is FINALLY getting potty trained and I can actually see an end to diapers. I will be so happy for that moment when I can be done with that portion. We finally got all the kids clothes back into the house only to find out that almost everything in the bags was too small. I moved out of the house in July and took little with me and just bought as well went along and continued to wear what we had.... Well in 6 months the boys are HUGE. Bryce skipped along and went right to 4 t and Ben is now in 6/7 as he is so tall. He is as skinny as a rail again as he has been going through growth spurts. All my boys do is eat...last night they each managed to shell and consume 2 bowls of pasta and 2 POUNDS of mussels each! It is pretty funny actually. They are happy healthy boys whose imaginations and vocabulary grow daily.

                                     Bryce

      I survived Ben’s surgery. I say I as it was probably the most terrifying thing I have ever been through. I have had open heart surgery but to go through it with your child is probably the most terrifying thing that a parent could do. There are very few times that I loathe being a single parent but this was one of them. No one prepares you for certain things in parenting and you just deal with them when you get there, like when you hold your son down while he screams into a gas mask as he is being put out. I will never forget that. I must have hit the door to the OR at 100 miles per hour and broke into tears the minute I was out of there. But, there was no one there to console me. It is a moment like that where one realizes the bravery it takes to do this and that there are many ways to test a person’s strength, single parenting being one of them. Ben made it through it fine. I was traumatized for about 2 weeks after however. All because of the negligence of others and the failure of a huge bonus paying company to live up to what I pay them for, protection.

               Ben

      Well, my first children’s book is back from the artist. It is beautiful and the testing with folks have been positive. I am hoping to find someplace to get it published. Any Ideas? Work is horrible and layoffs are a weekly occurrence at this point. The environment is toxic and I do all I can to shield myself from it. The lawsuits against the insurance companies are progressing at a snail’s pace and I now know why everyone jokes about lawyers. It seems all is in slow motion. So, we trudge along. Additionally, I am tired of winter. My lord, I am such a whiner at this point....LOL!

      My mother is having surgery this month and Bryce will turn three. I am hopeful for her but not overly confident at her ability to make it through the surgery and the recuperative period. Think she is just tired and wants to go. I am taking 7 kids for Japanese food on Valentine’s Day as I am giving that as a gift to 4 close friends of mine. I have had my kids out for “Food Adventures” since they were little and I am doing the same with my friends Children. Ben picked the restaurant... LOL, he wants Sushi! We went for Indian food the other night and it was a riot. The waitress was stumped as to how to deal with my little eaters and as to where their mother was. She said to Ben, so where is your mama....to which he replied...”Not everyone has a mom, ya know!”....He was rude and she was presumptuous so I called it even and chuckled as we left. He knows how to stand up for himself.

      Oh well, here is to another day and the kids being alright! May your days be filled with “peace of love” and your children happy and healthy! Lastly, may you remain sane during the rest of the winter!

    **********************************************************************************

      Mon, 03/02/2009 - 5:02pm
      So I used to think that there were 2 things in a little boy’s arsenal that could leave you swearing in the middle of the night after you stepped on it, a matchbox and a Lego. Well, there are new dangers from a toy, seemingly smooth, round and innocent; a Bahukgan. Well that is until you find out that during your 3 A.M. trips to the bathroom that these little jewels, with their little weapons, lie open on the bathroom floor, complete with their little spears and you step down on one and draw a pint of blood and more than a few choice words from me. So, I am up earlier than normal and with the little time I have had, I thought I would catch up on the past month and what has been going on.

              Bryce2

      The kids are great and growing in leaps and bounds. Bryce is completely conversant and also just as obstinate as ever. He is the cutest little shit on the planet. We celebrated his third birthday with friends and chosen family. His brother hosted the party. I thought by putting each brother in charge of hosting the party it would give them a sense of ownership and then I could reward the host with a gift to avoid the inevitable (sniff....I did not get a present) that way it always give them the responsibility of taking care of each other’s birthday.

              Ben2

      I used to think Bryce would never talk, now I have 2 magpies who do not shut up. Benjamin the questioner, he is like living the Socratic method of law school on a daily basis. Bryce is the statement maker...only when he is done making an assessment does it spill out and then there is no changing his mind. They are both leaders in this family and on this planet and for that I am both cursed and thankful.

      Speaking of Birthday’s mine was yesterday and passed virtually unnoticed by all. The day before I was bitchy and morose. That was more due to the fact that I got hit with the flu so bad that I had been delirious the day before. My best friends came and took the kids for an overnight as I was too sick to care for my own kids. That was a first; it made me think I need a better disaster plan... but then again there is only so much one super hero single dad can plan for. I will add it to my list of what to do when locusts descend, and the rivers turn to blood. My birthday began with my mother having a heart attack at rehab and me throwing the kids at neighbors while I flew up there to see what was going on and facilitate a transfer to a local hospital.

      I spent most of the month of February with my mother in surgery or out of it in a state of constant pain and bad news just kept coming. I feel horrible for her but the basic fact is that she is in a death and dying process and she needs to attend to it. The rest of my family as usual are on the vacation property we have in Egypt along the river (de-nile) and playing the camel game, with their heads buried in the sand. No amount of reality seems to shake them from this constant state of being. I can say that my kids are at least prepared and are doing well and despite the fact I struggled with how to embark on the venture of explanation as it pertains to death and dying, they are both doing well and I think that has a lot to do with being raised in a spiritual way...OK so the leftist, gay radical dad who fought religion all his life takes comfort in it now as well as community!

    **********************************************************************************

      Sun, 03/29/2009 - 5:58am
      Well it is approaching April and we headed to the Beach House last night. The sleepy New England beach town is still covered in snow and the yard I thought I would be able to get cleaned up is far from awake. The boys slept longer than usual as did I. I always sleep better up here with the ocean air less than 2 blocks away.

      My mother’s health albeit abysmal, has stabilized and I am slowly returning to what I consider to be a normal life absent constant upset. I feel as though I have been doing a lot of cleaning up, both literally and figuratively. I let go of some useless relationships and made a decision that to pare down my life was in order. In furtherance of the events of last year, I guess I keep throwing things out so that they do not “Mold” in my life, relationships, fears, papers, old outdated notions and things that tie me back. I feel that it is a positive time in my life despite the constant letting go.

      However, I also feel that it is a time of amalgamation. I was recently going through my strong box as I continued to consolidate and protect things and get rid of things with little to no significance. In the box were lots of pieces of jewelry that I had accumulated over the years. Some of them were parts of my past, others a part of a loved person that had become an angel to watch over me. Through the years I had given some pieces of jewelry to “chosen” family as they had become part of my present (Besides, I am not the type to wear it and drag is, was, and always will be out of the question for me... I would look like Mrs. Doubtfire).

      I looked over all of it and realized that unbeknown to me I have all of our birth stones and the stones signifying destiny and eternal love, a diamond. So I bagged up all the stuff and took it to a favorite jeweler that I had admired for years. I explained that I wanted to create a family ring out of my past and reminding me of my present and the hope I have for my future. OK, so I gave myself a birthday present. The rendering is awesome and is being crafted now. So from the old, I convert useless into useful, the gay version of recycling.

      I took the day off yesterday to complete an entire page of errands that I have not been able to get to or I did not want to take the kids to. For instance imagine sitting at the DMV with your kids... NO WAY! I need a drink by the time I get done there, never mind if I had the kids with me. After a day there, having inspections done on both cars, sitting in waiting rooms, I then went onto shopping. I went to get the kids new bikes and ended up getting myself one as well... so with 3 bikes a new bike rack and the mini-van, I trod into the realization that I had become what the Christian Right Wing fears most and that, I was about to lose my membership card to the purple mafia!

                                     BrianBenBryce2

      I also bought Ben a piano (an inexpensive, electronic one) as he is a piano prodigy, and got Bryce signed up for T-Ball and got him the stuff he needed for that... and then resigned myself to having no weekends until July! Oh well, it is worth it, but I realized that they are growing up fast and yes perish the thought, I would like another baby! Someone save me from myself. Ok, the boys are hungry (so what else is new) and want to head out to breakfast, so , off we go into the last part of March and hopefully April will just bring flowers as I am so over this winter stuff!

    **********************************************************************************
      That brings us up to the latest installment of Catching up with The 3B's.------>
    **********************************************************************************
      Wed, 05/06/2009 - 1:39pm
      I feel as though this year is a race to the finish line as we approach the end of the second quarter of the year and the summer is upon us despite the incessant clouds and the persistent rain. Life has entered a little bit of a lull, until the craziness of the summer starts and me feeling as I am not sure I know where everyone is during the day, but the weather I will take. So, let us see…where to begin?

      Horseradish- Ben is growing and there are days that I look at him and wonder where my baby went, my first son. He is growing in every way and I am challenged to keep up with him. He is his own person and definitely has his own ideas about things. He is an amazing big brother, thoughtful and at the same time is the world’s biggest pain in the ass. I was stopped for speeding so he is going to help me by telling me what the speed limit as he reads it from EVERY SIGN! I am about to loose my mind and I need to stop teaching him the rules of the road…as I am reminded every time I break one! I know I wrote about the minivan and then end of my life….what is worse is that he can see the speedometer. UGH, I do love the fact I can actually have a conversation with him, he wants to hear the news and understand the world and is not afraid to speak up about what is right, even if it is ONLY right in his mind, which happens a lot.

      Anyway, Ben was being particularly evil on Sunday, I had given it my all in the punishment department, and I was LOOSING. Finally, exasperated, I lay down on the couch and sent him to his room. I told him I was out of ideas and he needed to go up stairs and no come down until he could tell me the rules he broke (we only have 3) and what should be done as “consequences”. Therefore, he heads upstairs and is down very quickly….HMMMMM, this should be good I think to myself. He sits down with his dramatic little politico self and says…”Ya know dad…..I broke rule 1 (do it/listen rule) and rule 3 ( naughty rule, NO kicking, biting, hitting, punching, swearing, name calling, flesh twisting, hair pulling….you get the idea).” “So, I am going to eat horseradish”….I almost died!

      The back-story to this is that his (Mitchell's) mom and dad tell his friend Mitchell that he would have to eat horseradish if he gets mouthy. Mitchell somehow got near horseradish and had such a reaction that his mom and dad added it to the parental bag of tricks. Well, all they have to do it threaten Mitchell with it and he backs down. He must have shared this with Ben…who LOVES to eat….probably thinking HOW BAD CAN THAT BE?

      Well, I love horseradish and being of Polish descent, I always have it. Therefore, I asked him if he was sure and he said yes dad! He strutted over to the table with a “Bring it on” walk and a shot eating grin and sat in his seat, adjusted his placemat and waited. I got the jar and a t-spoon out of the drawer….took some out and walked over to him. as he said, “I’m ready” and opened his mouth like a Baby bird. I stuck the spoon in his mouth, he closed his mouth, and then the reaction started. You would have thought his head was on fire, the look of shock and dismay. I did everything I could not to laugh! Finally, he asked if he could spit it out and I agreed only after making him promise he was going to behave. Worked like a charm and now all I have to do is say Horseradish and all is calm again!

                1

      Bryce is the complete three year old….moody…tyrannical and all the while he is FUNNY! Most of the time I am stuck with the invisible leash as he moves to break away from Daddy but remains close; he is fine and doing well. There is not much news to report on him other than he drives me crazy and I cannot wait for him to be a little older. He strives for independence yet still wants me to do for him. He is hysterical and as funny as Ben is Bryce is just a comic. I am sure that will come back to bite me later but he is funny. He is playing T ball, which is just organized chaos with sticks and hurling objects. I stand there on Saturday mornings and watch, as Ben has become the base coach! It is hysterical to watch, but I see the love between my kids and the encouragement that they give one another in their individual choices. They could not be more different yes, they have core values that I am very proud of and they are family.

      Speaking of family, mine is as nutty as ever. So, the remainder of fun things in snippet form. We are getting ready for beach season as the house opens up and the beach weather begins. I am wondering when that will be as the rain has put a damper on things. Ben is having his birthday party and I bought an outdoor gym set which cost more than my first car! OMG, who knew? I did get my new ring and I love it, the kids know which stone is theirs and can tell the story of the magic ring that holds dreams and wishes to anyone, they feel like telling it to.

      I am employed for the moment; I will keep you posted on that one. On the dating front, there is no one right now that I have met. I have been talking to a great person so we shall see and go from there. I get my “daddy” award on the 17th, and I do not have a thing to wear!

      To all of you I hope you are well and that your family is happy, healthy and filled with peace of love.

    **********************************************************************************

      Sun, 07/12/2009 - 6:28am
      Well we are fast approaching the middle for July and it is almost as if I can see the summer slipping by. The field behind the house was hayed yesterday. The process began in the early morning with the hay being cut, laid to dry in the sun, was tetted and then raked and baled by sundown. It is just before sun up the following morning and a gentle rain is falling on the field and I can now clearly see where the corn has been planted for silage for the fall.

      Since the last entry, we enjoyed Ben’s birthday party as 20 kids came here and planted for his garden party…..I can say that not much came up but in the way of fun they had a ball and learned a bit about planting and where food comes from. I look at the garden space and see the haphazard manner in which it was planted and smile at the memory of the kids digging finding dirt and works and artifacts like keys and old nails from what was once here before.

      I was actually called for jury duty and worse yet, had to sit on a 7 day jury trial. It was like watching my professional life played out before me, so I suppose there was some lesson in that. However, as a result of that, I had to hurry to prepare the house in Maine for rental and in building a deck by myself, I hurt my back in a way I did not think possible. The acupuncturist has helped above all and despite being a bit in pain I can at least walk and stand. Symbolically, he tells me it is an injury about being unsupported or the feelings associated with that.

      I am not sure I feel that way, I suppose there is a truth in it as I struggle along the road of single parenthood with two growing boys. However, I do feel the ache of my soul subsiding as it pertains to the desire to share all of this life with another. I dropped off websites and have all but stopped dating as I am not sure there is a person who is out there and until that time when he arrives on the scene.

      I have discovered that dating divorced men is no easier. For the most part they are weekend fathers and then weekend warriors. As much as I need a break from my role as Dad, I would not relinquish it. So while I have stopped actively searching I carry on with the 2 b’s as they have been come to be known as.

          The 3B's

      We were on vacation up in Maine and my house becomes the center of the neighborhood when we are there and the boys engage with all their summer friends. It is what I always wanted for my kids and I love it. I do not think there was a meal in a week where there was not at least 2 extra faces at the table. On one rainy day the kids were playing and I heard one little girl ask Ben where his mom was. Ben without missing a beat said he had a mom that could not take care of him and the angels brought him to dad. He continued and said someday he might have another dad but daddy had not met the right person yet. It was good to hear and an affirmation to me that he understood, the best part was that the little girl said “cool” and they continued to play. Kids are not born mean they are taught to be mean.

      The boys are good, all boy…growing…eating and are brothers, one minute they fight like hell and the next they are laughing at one another. We are struggling with the last bit of control over potty training and diapers are almost gone. Sadly, naptime is becoming a thing of the past but Bryce will actually go and take a nap if he is tired. Now that I can see the corn in the field I know that summer will continue and soon we will be in fall. I am hoping to remodel the beach-house this fall as it needs some updating and I want to create a little more Zen and a little less cottage.

      The family struggles on with my mother’s health and she is destined for a quadruple bypass on Monday but she is in a place of peach this time with it. I am not sure how that bodes, but at least I can say with an open heart the boys are prepared and I am ready to let go if the time comes. Between that and the drama surrounding the children of Michael Jackson, I managed to update my will and the trust for the kids. A piece of free legal advice if you have children and have not done that DO IT, don’t leave your kids future hanging without direction and absent you. If you are unsure ask me and I will help you find someone to assist you, it is really a necessity. Oh well, enough of that. To each of you, remember perseverance, faith and love will get you through…and a margarita once in a while can not hurt!

    **********************************************************************************

      Wed, 04/14/2010 - 7:18pm
      So, I just finally logged into my blog to see how much time has slipped by since the last entry and I realize it is coming up on a year. I am amazed to mark the time and wonder how I have survived. The kids are playing out back and laughing and happy. I am trying to convey all that has happened to our family since the last entry in July of 2009, as the true nightmare began not long after that and it is just now that I feel like I can breathe. So, in my usual format I will take you through our journey and bring you up to date in snippet form.

      August 2009- As I had written previously, our house in Massachusetts got black mold as a result of the negligent installation of central air conditioning. This caused us to be homeless; me to file bankruptcy and ultimately after a period in August 2009 right after my last post we all became very ill again. We left the house and headed to my parents as I needed help as we all had contracted pneumonia and Ben was reacting to the toxins caused by the mold. While at my parents, I had to rush Ben to the ER in the middle of the night. While he was being treated I was consulting with the Pediatric Toxicology unit at Children’s Hospital in Boston. The doctor I was working with made a statement that confirmed what I needed to do, abandon the house in Massachusetts, the remaining things there and move the kids to Maine where they would be healthy and safe. I left my parents the next day and went straight to Maine.

      From August to December 2009, I tried to keep the kids as stable as possible. I commuted over 1500 miles per week to keep the kids in school and get to the new job I had taken in the beginning of July. I was exhausted and struggled to keep up appearances. The kids were doing fine, I was not! Chest pain, anxiety, leaving my entire network of friends and family, I was really on my own. Finally, I decided to transition the kids to school up here. I gave up Ben’s seat in the Montessori Charter and prepared to enroll him in public school here. He is still having trouble in school, but it is related to the transition not the school. However, things are not as diverse up here and I have had to intervene on a number of occasions. Bryce is doing well. They are both happy and healthy and could not be better. Looking at them the transition was easier than I thought, to them we just moved to another one of our houses.

                 2

      For me it was hell. My new job was not as receptive to a single working father as they promised they would be. Well actually, my direct manager was but the Senior Vice President was not. After a scathing e mail at 7 p.m. on a Friday night indicating how disappointed (angered) she was that I was not in the office….I knew the saga would not be pretty. I confronted her on the e mail and was told to find another job. In the time since then I have been told to choose between my job and my family, written up for my misuse of comma’s and told to not discuss, or come out to my colleagues, as some found it uncomfortable given I was a single gay father. Thus, the handwriting is on the wall with that.

      We are now in April, have survived the winter, a renovation to take a cottage to a home and for me many sleepless nights trying to get it all done. For the time being I am working remote from here and balancing the kids, career and karate for them am finally seeing some light, but as usual, as long as the kids are OK…..I am ok. Hope you are all doing well and I do have some other news to share but now it is time to start the bedtime routine.

    **********************************************************************************

      Tue, 05/25/2010 - 9:28pm
      I started writing here what seems long ago and as life has changed and moved it is time for me to move this ongoing diary as well. With one book out, The Greatest Wish, another, The Intentional Father, due in August and a newly launched Charity, We Hear The Children, I am moving my ongoing diary to that site. In the continuation to reach out to people who desire to become parents and to assist them in any way that I can. I have been consistently touch by the comments and e mails I have gotten from around the world for you all and hope that as life changes, my kids grow and I venture into new things you will take the time to follow our growth as a family.

      So as the dust settles on all of this and I look back at all that has transpired, what has been lost and notions that have been thrown out as well I can only take heart in the advice I was given by my sons. We had our first grill out a few nights ago, and we went to the store to get some things for BBQ season. Ben got some mustard and Bryce relish. As we were eating the boys were trying the condiments....Ben went on to state that he likes relish, despite the fact he did not like it before. Conversely, Bryce now likes mustard, when I asked the kids about what they thought changed Ben answered, “Dad, it is like life...things just change and change is good”, Bryce agreed. Now, coming from two little boys who started life in both hostile and unforgiving environments, whose lives were forever changed on many levels, this made the father in me proud. I guess this was one of the times I could feel like a success and no amount of money, real estate, possessions or material wealth could replace that reward. They had made it through, guided by me and we were truly a family unit. I had become the father I always intended to be.

    **********************************************************************************
      A look back-with an eye to the future-
    **********************************************************************************

      As I sit to write this it is almost a decade after I began my journey into fatherhood. I can say that the beginning portion of it was haphazard and unintentional, at least to my conscious mind. However, not to recap every decision I made or turn I took, I can see that I was on a course toward where I am today.

      It is amazing to think of how much has changed in this post Will and Grace world. I still think that show did more to shape the view into gay life than any other. It is now that I can marry and I have children. In fact there are few states where I would be prohibited from becoming a father. If you live in one of those states, move out or work toward change. In the first few years of being a father, I heard over and over again of those who gave up the dream of becoming a parent. This lament came from men, women, those who are both gay and straight and folks from every walk of life. What I came to realize is that as much of a radical departure I had made from the so called “Gay Lifestyle” (whatever the hell that is), I had moved in a direction that has less to do about sexuality and more to do with evolving as a person.

      While I am not a scientist, I do feel there is an innate ability and desire in all of us to want to parent and nurture, to leave a legacy of love and in some way become immortal through our children. As usual, perhaps I am romanticizing all of this, but what the hell, it is my reality after all. The question for you to answer is what is yours? My reality has been less than easy to date but I would not trade a moment of it, well some of it I could do without.  

      I could do without, loosing a home to black mold, all of the furnishing, clothes, and having to move to another state. I could do without all of the health issues that the kids and I went through as a result of insurance companies greed. I could do without having to hold Ben down in the operating room as they put him under to cauterize his nose to stop him from bleeding as a result of his reaction to the mold. I could do without all the nights I spent up, crying wondering if I was going to make it through all of the mess that was going on. I could do without working in an environment where the almighty dollar comes before both family and spirit.  I could do without the months I lost driving 1300 miles a week to work and the endless hours in the car with constant anxiety. I could do without the scar of bankruptcy on my credit history as a result of having sunk all the available cash I had into trying to save a home. I could do without all of that, but never could I do with out my kids.

      I have come to feel the instinct to protect our young is perhaps as strong as our instinct to breathe. I can not imagine doing the things I did if I had not been a father and needed to protect my kids. One of the first pieces of advice I got from my mother regarding being a parent is that you will more often feel like a failure rather than a success. While that is true and the doubts about whether you did the right thing and if your kids are ok will be there regardless of the circumstances. Kids are resilient, a fact and the truth.

      So as the dust settles on all of this and I look back at all that has transpired, what has been lost and notions that have been thrown out as well I can only take heart in the advice I was given by my sons. We had our first grill out a few nights ago, and we went to the store to get some things for BBQ season. Ben got some mustard and Bryce relish. As we were eating the boys were trying the condiments... Ben went on to state that he likes relish, despite the fact he did not like it before. Conversely, Bryce now likes mustard, when I asked the kids about what they thought changed Ben answered, “Dad, it is like life... things just change and change is good”, Bryce agreed. Now, coming from two little boys who started life in both hostile and unforgiving environments, whose lives were forever changed on many levels, this made the father in me proud. I guess this was one of the times I could feel like a success and no amount of money, real estate, possessions or material wealth could replace that reward. They had made it through, guided by me and we were truly a family unit. I had become the father I always intended to be.

          The Intentional Father

      So, at this point, what is stopping you?

    What do we want??? Equal rights! When do we want them??? Now!

    by tnichlsn on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 12:56:44 PM PDT

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    Predictor

    This morning we catch up with our friends the 3B's, aka as Brian, Benjamin and Bryce. For those of you unfamiliar with the 3B's story here at WGLB, we'll rehash a bit before jumping into the exciting new lives they currently find themselves settling into and the exciting new endeavor Brian is diving into to help perspective new parents as they embark on the journey he has navigated so adeptly these past few years. Brian is a good friend, although we've only met/dated once, but he is every bit the Superhero Dad these previous two diaries portray him to be. I'm sure He and the Boys will inspire you if not capture your hearts they way they have mine. The following chapters detailing Brian's journey into single fatherhood were originally posted on the website/community blog ProudParenting. Brian is in the process of setting up his own website where he will continue his work and promote his new foundation- The Intentional Father.

      Thu, 08/09/2007 - 6:09pm
      There are only two things I ever wanted to be in this life, a husband and a father. Now, imagine watching men run for the next county when you tell them. To shorten a very long story, I decided to become a father since becoming a husband was proving much more difficult. I was beginning to think I had a better chance at pregnancy. So after a period of interviews and navigation through the complex legal and emotional process I got a call on the day before Thanksgiving 2004, telling me that there was a little boy who was two years old. So begins the saga.

      In the initial visit with my son, I witnessed a child who was bright, smiled, yelled, stomped his feet and screamed. It was not that he could not talk, he would not talk. He had his own language, created in his mind to get his needs satisfied as a result of them not being met prior. I was told that he could only say seven words, all in Spanish. I went to a corner on this initial visit and sat there with a book and a stuffed bear and waited. Ever so slowly, he approached me, would touch me and run away and giggle. Eventually, he sat in my lap and looked at me for a while, with his social worker, the foster mother and my adoption worker looking on, he put his hand on my face and said “daddy”. This was not one of the words that he knew and it was not in Spanish... so it began.

      We finalized the adoption in July of 2005, after paternity leave, teaching him to speak, potty training (I would gladly take any bar exam again to never have to potty train again) where he would sit on the toilet and sing and practice his words when he thought I was out of ear shot. I sat around the corner from the bathroom and cried as I listened to his words, imagination and person come alive. Now, we are deep in the threes and he talks constantly, questions everything and wakes each morning with "Love you Daddy” and leaves me each night with what we call a “forever” hug, as he knows I will be his daddy forever. Every night my son picks a book to read, recently he asked for a book with a mommy in it. You are never quite prepared to answer certain questions and despite all my best efforts to be as prepared as possible to counter the mind of a toddler, I am inevitably stumped at times.

                                           The3Bs

      We found a book with a mommy in it and climbed into his big boy bed to read. Once in bed, he asked me if he would have a mommy (the lump in my throat and holding back tears) I started that there are families out there who have mommies, daddies, and all various combinations but a family is about all the people who love you. My son started to recite all of the people who are in and who touch both his and my life... the list is rather long but I let him go on. He finished with “all people”, “yes, all people” I said, “Love me” he said, “My family” he stated. I held my son against my chest and he gave me a forever hug, I cried as I heard “love you daddy”.

      I am sure this is not the last time I will be asked about this issue, but never did I think I would be asked about it at three. Knowing my son, had I not satisfied his need for an answer he would have pressed me for a better answer. However, in his mind his family is all the people who love him. There is much to be learned from children, I learn daily and for that I am thankful.

    **********************************************************************************

      Thu, 08/09/2007 - 6:12pm
      Ok, I am crazy. I am in the process of adopting another son. Adopting Benjamin was about me and wanting to be a father. Adopting his brother is about wanting him to have a family and a sibling. So at this juncture I am immersed in the process again and riding the roller coaster associated with expecting another child. Home construction, home-studies, a second car, interviewing au pairs, new schools, and the list is endless but at least I have learned some things to make this time easier.

      Sometimes I think this parenting thing is more creative thought than anything else and you will do things that you never thought you would and say certain things you “VOWED” you would never say. I remember calling my mother feeling like a complete hypocrite after my son learned the word “WHY”. The incessant questioning led daddy to a need for a martini and a call to mom. “I said it” were my first words to her... she laughed. He kept asking me “why” and finally, it came... ”Because I said so that’s why.”

      I also vowed I would never lie or deceive my son, until we hit the monster nightmare phase of toddler hood. You might be amazed to know that statistically nightmares take place between the hours of 3 and 6 a.m. My son was a virtual statistical prodigy. Imagine being awoken at 4 a.m. for a period of 3 weeks while your child SCREAMS that there are monsters in the room. I bought a book. The books say this is a direct result of a 3 year old imagination turning on and the internal struggle that results from the need to separate from the parent and conflict as a result of still needing their parent. The book stinks, I wanted to club the author with the book or at the very least make her sleep here for a month. Despite all the consoling in the world and the fact that there were no monsters; I get from him, Elmo? “Elmo is a good monster”, I replied ”good people and bad people” he stated, I was beginning to follow his logic in my sleep deprived state.
    I guess I was teaching him something.

      I told him we were going to the magic store (Wal-Mart), so he could pick out a magic light (nightlight of his choosing). We got one that “magically” comes on when it gets dark. I told him that the magic light would keep monsters away. This worked for 3 nights, now we have bigger monsters. So, I created the story of Monk. My grandmother had a statue of a monk that was a family heirloom, one night I took monk and told Ben the story of Monk and how only little boys could talk to him but only Daddy could hear him. I told him that every night he needed to say good night to Monk and to say “keep me safe”. He does this nightly and magically we are getting some sleep, never say never.

                   Ben1

      Toddlers are also neurotic, once they learn certain words you never seem to get them off them. From the time my son learned BOO-BOO and ITCHY, I think I have gone through more tubes of aquaphor than any man on the planet. However, taken in the time frame of nightmares a simple itch can lead to an hour of wrangling and arguing with a toddler who has developed a psychosomatic illness that is bound to put daddy in the booby hatch. The best plan is a counter attack. On one particular evening, my son developed an incurable itch which prevented him from going to sleep. No amount of cream solved the issue... UGH! The kid was like a greased pig at a county fair, I was afraid to pick him up for fear I would drop him. None the less, the itch would not abate, neither would the clinging and crying all to avoid the inevitable bedtime. So, I reached into the parental bag of tricks. I lied.

      Did you know when you become a daddy you get a magic pair of socks? They have to be red, (who would wear red sox anyway, they do not match any of his clothes, what can I say I am still gay after all) So, I told him they were magic red sox. When daddy puts the magic red sox on before bed, they will work all night long to cure any ill, and in the morning you will be all better. Every time we put them on the tears subside and in the morning I get, a hug and am told we are all better. I want my own pair.

      My house has been under construction in preparation for the new arrival. I am thankful it is almost done. I am staring at the wall in my kitchen which contains the 40th birthday present I got for myself. Every one wanted to throw a pity party when I turned 40, I felt as though I was just hitting my stride. I have a favorite artist, Donna Estabrooks, in whose paintings I always took comfort and a message. There are three things I had her paint.

      First, a painting about Ben, who has always been my wish; If you ask him who he is he will tell you his name and add I am “daddy’s wish”. Second, I had her paint one about his brother, to be named Bryce, who is my dream. I never could have dreamt the joy I get from being a father and his name came to me in a dream. Bryce means son of a noble man. Third, I had her paint my hope, that someday I will find another to share in all of this. The paintings are individual, so I can give each child their painting at a special time in their life to know how special they are. However, I shall never give up hope. The three paintings fit together and shall always remain interconnected and committed to one another, like family, each having a separate unique value when removed from the whole.

      So are my ramblings as my son tells me his pasta is not cooked correctly (My next entry will be how to tell that a child was raised by a gay man, for instance at 4 they only want pasta al dente, know about art and sculpture and have traveled a bit to name a few things) In the interim, I wait for my new son and enjoy the adventures in parenting.
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      02/11/2008 - 6:50am
      Ok, so I am getting to the point where this is almost becoming a monthly occurrence to get something posted. As life is speeding along at a rapid pace; I feel like I am paddling as fast as I can. However, is it ever fast enough?

      The January Blues- January was the supposed month that we would be done with Bryce’s adoption, on the 7th. Once again another snag in this quagmire we are in as I struggle to get out of it. We proceed to court on the 11th of this month to a full trial and I am hopeful we will prevail with no issues. Frankly, I am just plain tired and I need this to be over and done with and close the door on this part. I did learn from Benjamin’s adoption that no matter what, you do not relax until you walk out the door after the gavel comes down and you take back your life and settle into a routine of no social workers, watchers, court dates, parents who pop up and then disappear into the night again. I will just be thankful when it is over. I have made it this far now if I can hang in there until the end of March... I can schedule a nervous break down then!

                  BenBryce_114.preview

      January was also the month of personal roller coasters. Business travel used to be fun, now it is not fun it is EXPENSIVE. I recently had to travel to Toronto to deliver a training program that was developed. I was so excited to go, until I was running around the night before with sick kids, packing like a maniac and writing notes. The usual cool calm collected dad was a disaster in the making. I had to juggle day care, after care, cold care, limos, Boss care, making sure all the materials got there. The benefit of flying without kids is that you can sleep on the flight and then there is room service, there is no fight for the remote control and you are not subjected to Sponge Bob. I actually got to sleep by myself until 6:30 one morning. I was almost late for breakfast with my boss and other colleagues but it was worth it. Whatever rest I got was quickly over as soon as I walked in the door and again tried to jump on the raft that is my life, rushing
    along this uncharted river of intentional fatherhood.

      The kids are doing fine. I had a parent teacher meeting about Ben, he continues to progress and excel in school. However, he had the unfortunate incident of running into his first bigot in kindergarten. Man kids are mean. This little girl Julia, told Ben that he had a mommy and a daddy and they did not want him so they gave him away that is why he is adopted. Needless to say my heart broke hearing that and thankfully it was repairable as I had always prepared for this despite not thinking it was going to be from some little brat whose parents ought to teach their kid kindness. Ben is fine, albeit acting out a bit. However he is five and he knows everything.

      Bryce turns 2 in a week and he is coming along fine. He is much happier as he really begins to learn to talk and express himself. Today is the trial date and I could not sleep well. I just want it to be over. I would love to be in the courtroom to see what transpires and know what is happening. I am hopeful that his bio mom is still on the run to try to avoid the multiple warrants out for her arrest. Bryce is safe and happy and I just want closure today. Despite the fact that there is a period for appellate review, I just want it over as I know the likelihood of it going up on appeal is almost impossible. However, it is always there and until it passes and we are able to go into court and have this adjudicated, I keep paddling.

      How am I doing? I am paddling. I have actually been dating. I did meet a man who has all the qualities I could want in a companion and boyfriend. He manages to deal well with the kids and places them first. He managed to survive a weekend of sick kids, sick dogs and did not run for the hills. I really care for him... he has been gone for three weeks and returns home this evening. I can tell through the phone and e mail exchanges that something has changed. I think perhaps the phenomena I call “Merry-Go-Round” has set in. What I mean by that is that there are men who want children (or at least they think so) and they want to buy a ticket to try. The reality is that the ride is fun for a while and then there is the desire to get off. What they do not realize is that those of us who bought a lifetime pass, jump on and off and back on again repeatedly. It is not bad, it is what I have chosen and I have learned to get off and return to the ride and
    jump right back on. The simple fact is that as an intentional father you must return to the ride. As a ticket holder, you have the choice to not return as you weigh all you will give up if you were to stay. Something tells me that the price of a lifetime ticket may be to much for him. Now I may be surprised, but I will have to wait and see if the allure of “Gay Life” is greater, for most it is. I can not change that and I will go on, like I always do. However, it was nice to have a taste of what could be and in the end be satisfied if that taste is all there is, as a steady diet of instability is not in my best interest or that of the kids.

      Well, that is it. It is almost 6 a.m. and the merry go round is about to start this morning. I have bus duty today and have to get the kids off and myself ready for work. In the interim I thank god my kids are alright and the river is calm for the most part right now, and the laundry is done!

                     The3Bs

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      Sat, 11/29/2008 - 5:52pm
      It has been a wild ride since I last wrote anything substantive. The boys are upstairs watching a movie and I am in the living room trying to think all of what is running through my mind as I am cooking a turkey. We were at my parents for Thanksgiving but I cannot live without leftovers and soup and Turkey pot pies so the boys and I are having our own dinner today. So, we finalized Bryce’s adoption in May and that was all said and done. I launched into the summer with 2 kids and new central air conditioning. Well the installers screwed up the installation and as a result that unbeknownst to us there was Mold growing and proliferating through the house.

      We were all pretty sick through May, June but we had no idea why. My mother’s health continued to deteriorate and still does to present.  The kids lost their Nano (another grandfather from my “Chosen” family and were hit pretty hard with that. All I have been able to do is navigate water with them that is uncharted. However, the preparation was worth it and they are doing ok with it and appear to be doing ok with my mother’s continued state of decline. This holiday led her to the ICU and her checking out against medical orders to be with the kids. It is her life and she needs to choose to live it how she sees fit and all I can do is be a support to her and transition my kids through it. The mold situation continued to escalate and when we returned home from our July vacation we closed up the house and switched on the central air. Little did we know that we were living in a toxic environment cause by the negligence of others.

      We all became ill. Ben with terrible persistent nose bleeds Bryce and I with upper respiratory issues accompanied by rashes, conjunctivitis and breathing issues. It was not until the 28th of July that I discovered the mold. After consultation with specialists and others, I packed up the kids and left my home not knowing if I would or when we would return. We left first for Wisconsin for a family fishing holiday. It was spectacular. We enjoyed the time together and we all healed. We were all better within hours of leaving the house. This proved we could not come home. Upon our return we moved in with the wonderful man I was dating and proceeded to try to normalize life. It was great for the kids but most assuredly a disaster for our relationship.  I discovered my true parental instinct and was running constantly to keep the boys in their normal routine. I poured my life savings into this house and sit on the brink of financial disaster but we made it
    home in October.

      The house not completely ready and torn apart, we lived absent heat and furniture. However, the boys were happy. I was just anxious, waiting for the next bomb to drop. The economic situation did not help with mass layoffs at my company and more to come. All the while my only focus is and was the kids. Like a bear I am, ensuring their safety to my own detriment and their happiness is paramount. I discovered that my life is complete with those kids and that you realize what you are made of when you are in hot water (attribution to Eleanor Roosevelt).

      I realized that a home is filled with more than furnishings and other things. Despite the tears over lost stuffed animals and other things we have returned to a tonic state. Despite repeated trips to Children’s Hospital in Boston and scary moments like the thought there was a cardiac effect on Bryce as a result of the mold and the creeping doubt about if you are doing the right thing, parental instinct is an amazing thing. Remarkably, we are all fine, the house is getting somewhat restored and I have learned that even if I do have to throw out all the old (which I basically did) I can begin a new and my kids will be fine as long as I am fine, or at least never let them see you sweat!!!

      Ben is now almost half done with first grade and he is a remarkable and loving little boy and I am very proud of him as a person. I respect my son. Bryce is growing in leaps and bounds on a daily basis and his personality has emerged in full force along with all of the things about a three year old that makes me cry for a martini and a night off. Christmas is fast approaching and so is the new year which I hope is better than this one, but this is the year that I became a dad again so that far outweighs all the tragedy that befell us.

      I also know I can make it through, alone if necessary and the boys and I will be fine. I would rather not proceed that way but as much as I strive for balance there are times that there is no balance and life is weighted totally to the children and that is the way it is... so someone out there has to understand that what few precious moments we get alone as parents, whoever we share those precious moments with should or has to realize just how special those moments are.

                 The3B's

      As we were wrapping up this first installment of the 3B's story, Brian got sidetracked by a serious and life altering event, the ramifications of which are still playing out both in their home lives and in the courts. Literally within hours of my putting the finishing touches on this first installment of the 3B's diary I received word from Brian, that he was rushing the boys to the hospital, with a new bout of very serious, mold related illness. So what had started as an inspirational story with a happy ending had suddenly been turned upside down...

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      Mon, 02/02/2009 - 12:14pm
      So I find myself with a few minutes between conference calls and the like, while Bryce is working with his teacher, to gather my thoughts and continue writing about this journey. I am calling it a journey as the ground is too uncertain right now to call it anything else and we just keep moving it along.

            Quack

      The boys are doing well. Bryce is almost 3, his birthday is in a few weeks, and we are having a family party for him. He is FINALLY getting potty trained and I can actually see an end to diapers. I will be so happy for that moment when I can be done with that portion. We finally got all the kids clothes back into the house only to find out that almost everything in the bags was too small. I moved out of the house in July and took little with me and just bought as well went along and continued to wear what we had.... Well in 6 months the boys are HUGE. Bryce skipped along and went right to 4 t and Ben is now in 6/7 as he is so tall. He is as skinny as a rail again as he has been going through growth spurts. All my boys do is eat...last night they each managed to shell and consume 2 bowls of pasta and 2 POUNDS of mussels each! It is pretty funny actually. They are happy healthy boys whose imaginations and vocabulary grow daily.

                                     Bryce

      I survived Ben’s surgery. I say I as it was probably the most terrifying thing I have ever been through. I have had open heart surgery but to go through it with your child is probably the most terrifying thing that a parent could do. There are very few times that I loathe being a single parent but this was one of them. No one prepares you for certain things in parenting and you just deal with them when you get there, like when you hold your son down while he screams into a gas mask as he is being put out. I will never forget that. I must have hit the door to the OR at 100 miles per hour and broke into tears the minute I was out of there. But, there was no one there to console me. It is a moment like that where one realizes the bravery it takes to do this and that there are many ways to test a person’s strength, single parenting being one of them. Ben made it through it fine. I was traumatized for about 2 weeks after however. All because of the negligence of others and the failure of a huge bonus paying company to live up to what I pay them for, protection.

               Ben

      Well, my first children’s book is back from the artist. It is beautiful and the testing with folks have been positive. I am hoping to find someplace to get it published. Any Ideas? Work is horrible and layoffs are a weekly occurrence at this point. The environment is toxic and I do all I can to shield myself from it. The lawsuits against the insurance companies are progressing at a snail’s pace and I now know why everyone jokes about lawyers. It seems all is in slow motion. So, we trudge along. Additionally, I am tired of winter. My lord, I am such a whiner at this point....LOL!

      My mother is having surgery this month and Bryce will turn three. I am hopeful for her but not overly confident at her ability to make it through the surgery and the recuperative period. Think she is just tired and wants to go. I am taking 7 kids for Japanese food on Valentine’s Day as I am giving that as a gift to 4 close friends of mine. I have had my kids out for “Food Adventures” since they were little and I am doing the same with my friends Children. Ben picked the restaurant... LOL, he wants Sushi! We went for Indian food the other night and it was a riot. The waitress was stumped as to how to deal with my little eaters and as to where their mother was. She said to Ben, so where is your mama....to which he replied...”Not everyone has a mom, ya know!”....He was rude and she was presumptuous so I called it even and chuckled as we left. He knows how to stand up for himself.

      Oh well, here is to another day and the kids being alright! May your days be filled with “peace of love” and your children happy and healthy! Lastly, may you remain sane during the rest of the winter!

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      Mon, 03/02/2009 - 5:02pm
      So I used to think that there were 2 things in a little boy’s arsenal that could leave you swearing in the middle of the night after you stepped on it, a matchbox and a Lego. Well, there are new dangers from a toy, seemingly smooth, round and innocent; a Bahukgan. Well that is until you find out that during your 3 A.M. trips to the bathroom that these little jewels, with their little weapons, lie open on the bathroom floor, complete with their little spears and you step down on one and draw a pint of blood and more than a few choice words from me. So, I am up earlier than normal and with the little time I have had, I thought I would catch up on the past month and what has been going on.

              Bryce2

      The kids are great and growing in leaps and bounds. Bryce is completely conversant and also just as obstinate as ever. He is the cutest little shit on the planet. We celebrated his third birthday with friends and chosen family. His brother hosted the party. I thought by putting each brother in charge of hosting the party it would give them a sense of ownership and then I could reward the host with a gift to avoid the inevitable (sniff....I did not get a present) that way it always give them the responsibility of taking care of each other’s birthday.

              Ben2

      I used to think Bryce would never talk, now I have 2 magpies who do not shut up. Benjamin the questioner, he is like living the Socratic method of law school on a daily basis. Bryce is the statement maker...only when he is done making an assessment does it spill out and then there is no changing his mind. They are both leaders in this family and on this planet and for that I am both cursed and thankful.

      Speaking of Birthday’s mine was yesterday and passed virtually unnoticed by all. The day before I was bitchy and morose. That was more due to the fact that I got hit with the flu so bad that I had been delirious the day before. My best friends came and took the kids for an overnight as I was too sick to care for my own kids. That was a first; it made me think I need a better disaster plan... but then again there is only so much one super hero single dad can plan for. I will add it to my list of what to do when locusts descend, and the rivers turn to blood. My birthday began with my mother having a heart attack at rehab and me throwing the kids at neighbors while I flew up there to see what was going on and facilitate a transfer to a local hospital.

      I spent most of the month of February with my mother in surgery or out of it in a state of constant pain and bad news just kept coming. I feel horrible for her but the basic fact is that she is in a death and dying process and she needs to attend to it. The rest of my family as usual are on the vacation property we have in Egypt along the river (de-nile) and playing the camel game, with their heads buried in the sand. No amount of reality seems to shake them from this constant state of being. I can say that my kids are at least prepared and are doing well and despite the fact I struggled with how to embark on the venture of explanation as it pertains to death and dying, they are both doing well and I think that has a lot to do with being raised in a spiritual way...OK so the leftist, gay radical dad who fought religion all his life takes comfort in it now as well as community!

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      Sun, 03/29/2009 - 5:58am
      Well it is approaching April and we headed to the Beach House last night. The sleepy New England beach town is still covered in snow and the yard I thought I would be able to get cleaned up is far from awake. The boys slept longer than usual as did I. I always sleep better up here with the ocean air less than 2 blocks away.

      My mother’s health albeit abysmal, has stabilized and I am slowly returning to what I consider to be a normal life absent constant upset. I feel as though I have been doing a lot of cleaning up, both literally and figuratively. I let go of some useless relationships and made a decision that to pare down my life was in order. In furtherance of the events of last year, I guess I keep throwing things out so that they do not “Mold” in my life, relationships, fears, papers, old outdated notions and things that tie me back. I feel that it is a positive time in my life despite the constant letting go.

      However, I also feel that it is a time of amalgamation. I was recently going through my strong box as I continued to consolidate and protect things and get rid of things with little to no significance. In the box were lots of pieces of jewelry that I had accumulated over the years. Some of them were parts of my past, others a part of a loved person that had become an angel to watch over me. Through the years I had given some pieces of jewelry to “chosen” family as they had become part of my present (Besides, I am not the type to wear it and drag is, was, and always will be out of the question for me... I would look like Mrs. Doubtfire).

      I looked over all of it and realized that unbeknown to me I have all of our birth stones and the stones signifying destiny and eternal love, a diamond. So I bagged up all the stuff and took it to a favorite jeweler that I had admired for years. I explained that I wanted to create a family ring out of my past and reminding me of my present and the hope I have for my future. OK, so I gave myself a birthday present. The rendering is awesome and is being crafted now. So from the old, I convert useless into useful, the gay version of recycling.

      I took the day off yesterday to complete an entire page of errands that I have not been able to get to or I did not want to take the kids to. For instance imagine sitting at the DMV with your kids... NO WAY! I need a drink by the time I get done there, never mind if I had the kids with me. After a day there, having inspections done on both cars, sitting in waiting rooms, I then went onto shopping. I went to get the kids new bikes and ended up getting myself one as well... so with 3 bikes a new bike rack and the mini-van, I trod into the realization that I had become what the Christian Right Wing fears most and that, I was about to lose my membership card to the purple mafia!

                                     BrianBenBryce2

      I also bought Ben a piano (an inexpensive, electronic one) as he is a piano prodigy, and got Bryce signed up for T-Ball and got him the stuff he needed for that... and then resigned myself to having no weekends until July! Oh well, it is worth it, but I realized that they are growing up fast and yes perish the thought, I would like another baby! Someone save me from myself. Ok, the boys are hungry (so what else is new) and want to head out to breakfast, so , off we go into the last part of March and hopefully April will just bring flowers as I am so over this winter stuff!

    **********************************************************************************
      That brings us up to the latest installment of Catching up with The 3B's.------>
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      Wed, 05/06/2009 - 1:39pm
      I feel as though this year is a race to the finish line as we approach the end of the second quarter of the year and the summer is upon us despite the incessant clouds and the persistent rain. Life has entered a little bit of a lull, until the craziness of the summer starts and me feeling as I am not sure I know where everyone is during the day, but the weather I will take. So, let us see...where to begin?

      Horseradish- Ben is growing and there are days that I look at him and wonder where my baby went, my first son. He is growing in every way and I am challenged to keep up with him. He is his own person and definitely has his own ideas about things. He is an amazing big brother, thoughtful and at the same time is the world’s biggest pain in the ass. I was stopped for speeding so he is going to help me by telling me what the speed limit as he reads it from EVERY SIGN! I am about to loose my mind and I need to stop teaching him the rules of the road...as I am reminded every time I break one! I know I wrote about the minivan and then end of my life....what is worse is that he can see the speedometer. UGH, I do love the fact I can actually have a conversation with him, he wants to hear the news and understand the world and is not afraid to speak up about what is right, even if it is ONLY right in his mind, which happens a lot.

      Anyway, Ben was being particularly evil on Sunday, I had given it my all in the punishment department, and I was LOOSING. Finally, exasperated, I lay down on the couch and sent him to his room. I told him I was out of ideas and he needed to go up stairs and no come down until he could tell me the rules he broke (we only have 3) and what should be done as “consequences”. Therefore, he heads upstairs and is down very quickly....HMMMMM, this should be good I think to myself. He sits down with his dramatic little politico self and says...”Ya know dad.....I broke rule 1 (do it/listen rule) and rule 3 ( naughty rule, NO kicking, biting, hitting, punching, swearing, name calling, flesh twisting, hair pulling....you get the idea).” “So, I am going to eat horseradish”....I almost died!

      The back-story to this is that his (Mitchell's) mom and dad tell his friend Mitchell that he would have to eat horseradish if he gets mouthy. Mitchell somehow got near horseradish and had such a reaction that his mom and dad added it to the parental bag of tricks. Well, all they have to do it threaten Mitchell with it and he backs down. He must have shared this with Ben...who LOVES to eat....probably thinking HOW BAD CAN THAT BE?

      Well, I love horseradish and being of Polish descent, I always have it. Therefore, I asked him if he was sure and he said yes dad! He strutted over to the table with a “Bring it on” walk and a shot eating grin and sat in his seat, adjusted his placemat and waited. I got the jar and a t-spoon out of the drawer....took some out and walked over to him. as he said, “I’m ready” and opened his mouth like a Baby bird. I stuck the spoon in his mouth, he closed his mouth, and then the reaction started. You would have thought his head was on fire, the look of shock and dismay. I did everything I could not to laugh! Finally, he asked if he could spit it out and I agreed only after making him promise he was going to behave. Worked like a charm and now all I have to do is say Horseradish and all is calm again!

                1

      Bryce is the complete three year old....moody...tyrannical and all the while he is FUNNY! Most of the time I am stuck with the invisible leash as he moves to break away from Daddy but remains close; he is fine and doing well. There is not much news to report on him other than he drives me crazy and I cannot wait for him to be a little older. He strives for independence yet still wants me to do for him. He is hysterical and as funny as Ben is Bryce is just a comic. I am sure that will come back to bite me later but he is funny. He is playing T ball, which is just organized chaos with sticks and hurling objects. I stand there on Saturday mornings and watch, as Ben has become the base coach! It is hysterical to watch, but I see the love between my kids and the encouragement that they give one another in their individual choices. They could not be more different yes, they have core values that I am very proud of and they are family.

      Speaking of family, mine is as nutty as ever. So, the remainder of fun things in snippet form. We are getting ready for beach season as the house opens up and the beach weather begins. I am wondering when that will be as the rain has put a damper on things. Ben is having his birthday party and I bought an outdoor gym set which cost more than my first car! OMG, who knew? I did get my new ring and I love it, the kids know which stone is theirs and can tell the story of the magic ring that holds dreams and wishes to anyone, they feel like telling it to.

      I am employed for the moment; I will keep you posted on that one. On the dating front, there is no one right now that I have met. I have been talking to a great person so we shall see and go from there. I get my “daddy” award on the 17th, and I do not have a thing to wear!

      To all of you I hope you are well and that your family is happy, healthy and filled with peace of love.

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      Sun, 07/12/2009 - 6:28am
      Well we are fast approaching the middle for July and it is almost as if I can see the summer slipping by. The field behind the house was hayed yesterday. The process began in the early morning with the hay being cut, laid to dry in the sun, was tetted and then raked and baled by sundown. It is just before sun up the following morning and a gentle rain is falling on the field and I can now clearly see where the corn has been planted for silage for the fall.

      Since the last entry, we enjoyed Ben’s birthday party as 20 kids came here and planted for his garden party.....I can say that not much came up but in the way of fun they had a ball and learned a bit about planting and where food comes from. I look at the garden space and see the haphazard manner in which it was planted and smile at the memory of the kids digging finding dirt and works and artifacts like keys and old nails from what was once here before.

      I was actually called for jury duty and worse yet, had to sit on a 7 day jury trial. It was like watching my professional life played out before me, so I suppose there was some lesson in that. However, as a result of that, I had to hurry to prepare the house in Maine for rental and in building a deck by myself, I hurt my back in a way I did not think possible. The acupuncturist has helped above all and despite being a bit in pain I can at least walk and stand. Symbolically, he tells me it is an injury about being unsupported or the feelings associated with that.

      I am not sure I feel that way, I suppose there is a truth in it as I struggle along the road of single parenthood with two growing boys. However, I do feel the ache of my soul subsiding as it pertains to the desire to share all of this life with another. I dropped off websites and have all but stopped dating as I am not sure there is a person who is out there and until that time when he arrives on the scene.

      I have discovered that dating divorced men is no easier. For the most part they are weekend fathers and then weekend warriors. As much as I need a break from my role as Dad, I would not relinquish it. So while I have stopped actively searching I carry on with the 2 b’s as they have been come to be known as.

          The 3B's

      We were on vacation up in Maine and my house becomes the center of the neighborhood when we are there and the boys engage with all their summer friends. It is what I always wanted for my kids and I love it. I do not think there was a meal in a week where there was not at least 2 extra faces at the table. On one rainy day the kids were playing and I heard one little girl ask Ben where his mom was. Ben without missing a beat said he had a mom that could not take care of him and the angels brought him to dad. He continued and said someday he might have another dad but daddy had not met the right person yet. It was good to hear and an affirmation to me that he understood, the best part was that the little girl said “cool” and they continued to play. Kids are not born mean they are taught to be mean.

      The boys are good, all boy...growing...eating and are brothers, one minute they fight like hell and the next they are laughing at one another. We are struggling with the last bit of control over potty training and diapers are almost gone. Sadly, naptime is becoming a thing of the past but Bryce will actually go and take a nap if he is tired. Now that I can see the corn in the field I know that summer will continue and soon we will be in fall. I am hoping to remodel the beach-house this fall as it needs some updating and I want to create a little more Zen and a little less cottage.

      The family struggles on with my mother’s health and she is destined for a quadruple bypass on Monday but she is in a place of peach this time with it. I am not sure how that bodes, but at least I can say with an open heart the boys are prepared and I am ready to let go if the time comes. Between that and the drama surrounding the children of Michael Jackson, I managed to update my will and the trust for the kids. A piece of free legal advice if you have children and have not done that DO IT, don’t leave your kids future hanging without direction and absent you. If you are unsure ask me and I will help you find someone to assist you, it is really a necessity. Oh well, enough of that. To each of you, remember perseverance, faith and love will get you through...and a margarita once in a while can not hurt!

    **********************************************************************************

      Wed, 04/14/2010 - 7:18pm
      So, I just finally logged into my blog to see how much time has slipped by since the last entry and I realize it is coming up on a year. I am amazed to mark the time and wonder how I have survived. The kids are playing out back and laughing and happy. I am trying to convey all that has happened to our family since the last entry in July of 2009, as the true nightmare began not long after that and it is just now that I feel like I can breathe. So, in my usual format I will take you through our journey and bring you up to date in snippet form.

      August 2009- As I had written previously, our house in Massachusetts got black mold as a result of the negligent installation of central air conditioning. This caused us to be homeless; me to file bankruptcy and ultimately after a period in August 2009 right after my last post we all became very ill again. We left the house and headed to my parents as I needed help as we all had contracted pneumonia and Ben was reacting to the toxins caused by the mold. While at my parents, I had to rush Ben to the ER in the middle of the night. While he was being treated I was consulting with the Pediatric Toxicology unit at Children’s Hospital in Boston. The doctor I was working with made a statement that confirmed what I needed to do, abandon the house in Massachusetts, the remaining things there and move the kids to Maine where they would be healthy and safe. I left my parents the next day and went straight to Maine.

      From August to December 2009, I tried to keep the kids as stable as possible. I commuted over 1500 miles per week to keep the kids in school and get to the new job I had taken in the beginning of July. I was exhausted and struggled to keep up appearances. The kids were doing fine, I was not! Chest pain, anxiety, leaving my entire network of friends and family, I was really on my own. Finally, I decided to transition the kids to school up here. I gave up Ben’s seat in the Montessori Charter and prepared to enroll him in public school here. He is still having trouble in school, but it is related to the transition not the school. However, things are not as diverse up here and I have had to intervene on a number of occasions. Bryce is doing well. They are both happy and healthy and could not be better. Looking at them the transition was easier than I thought, to them we just moved to another one of our houses.

                 2

      For me it was hell. My new job was not as receptive to a single working father as they promised they would be. Well actually, my direct manager was but the Senior Vice President was not. After a scathing e mail at 7 p.m. on a Friday night indicating how disappointed (angered) she was that I was not in the office....I knew the saga would not be pretty. I confronted her on the e mail and was told to find another job. In the time since then I have been told to choose between my job and my family, written up for my misuse of comma’s and told to not discuss, or come out to my colleagues, as some found it uncomfortable given I was a single gay father. Thus, the handwriting is on the wall with that.

      We are now in April, have survived the winter, a renovation to take a cottage to a home and for me many sleepless nights trying to get it all done. For the time being I am working remote from here and balancing the kids, career and karate for them am finally seeing some light, but as usual, as long as the kids are OK.....I am ok. Hope you are all doing well and I do have some other news to share but now it is time to start the bedtime routine.

    **********************************************************************************

      Tue, 05/25/2010 - 9:28pm
      I started writing here what seems long ago and as life has changed and moved it is time for me to move this ongoing diary as well. With one book out, The Greatest Wish, another, The Intentional Father, due in August and a newly launched Charity, We Hear The Children, I am moving my ongoing diary to that site. In the continuation to reach out to people who desire to become parents and to assist them in any way that I can. I have been consistently touch by the comments and e mails I have gotten from around the world for you all and hope that as life changes, my kids grow and I venture into new things you will take the time to follow our growth as a family.

      So as the dust settles on all of this and I look back at all that has transpired, what has been lost and notions that have been thrown out as well I can only take heart in the advice I was given by my sons. We had our first grill out a few nights ago, and we went to the store to get some things for BBQ season. Ben got some mustard and Bryce relish. As we were eating the boys were trying the condiments....Ben went on to state that he likes relish, despite the fact he did not like it before. Conversely, Bryce now likes mustard, when I asked the kids about what they thought changed Ben answered, “Dad, it is like life...things just change and change is good”, Bryce agreed. Now, coming from two little boys who started life in both hostile and unforgiving environments, whose lives were forever changed on many levels, this made the father in me proud. I guess this was one of the times I could feel like a success and no amount of money, real estate, possessions or material wealth could replace that reward. They had made it through, guided by me and we were truly a family unit. I had become the father I always intended to be.

    **********************************************************************************
      A look back-with an eye to the future-
    **********************************************************************************

      As I sit to write this it is almost a decade after I began my journey into fatherhood. I can say that the beginning portion of it was haphazard and unintentional, at least to my conscious mind. However, not to recap every decision I made or turn I took, I can see that I was on a course toward where I am today.

      It is amazing to think of how much has changed in this post Will and Grace world. I still think that show did more to shape the view into gay life than any other. It is now that I can marry and I have children. In fact there are few states where I would be prohibited from becoming a father. If you live in one of those states, move out or work toward change. In the first few years of being a father, I heard over and over again of those who gave up the dream of becoming a parent. This lament came from men, women, those who are both gay and straight and folks from every walk of life. What I came to realize is that as much of a radical departure I had made from the so called “Gay Lifestyle” (whatever the hell that is), I had moved in a direction that has less to do about sexuality and more to do with evolving as a person.

      While I am not a scientist, I do feel there is an innate ability and desire in all of us to want to parent and nurture, to leave a legacy of love and in some way become immortal through our children. As usual, perhaps I am romanticizing all of this, but what the hell, it is my reality after all. The question for you to answer is what is yours? My reality has been less than easy to date but I would not trade a moment of it, well some of it I could do without.  

      I could do without, loosing a home to black mold, all of the furnishing, clothes, and having to move to another state. I could do without all of the health issues that the kids and I went through as a result of insurance companies greed. I could do without having to hold Ben down in the operating room as they put him under to cauterize his nose to stop him from bleeding as a result of his reaction to the mold. I could do without all the nights I spent up, crying wondering if I was going to make it through all of the mess that was going on. I could do without working in an environment where the almighty dollar comes before both family and spirit.  I could do without the months I lost driving 1300 miles a week to work and the endless hours in the car with constant anxiety. I could do without the scar of bankruptcy on my credit history as a result of having sunk all the available cash I had into trying to save a home. I could do without all of that, but never could I do with out my kids.

      I have come to feel the instinct to protect our young is perhaps as strong as our instinct to breathe. I can not imagine doing the things I did if I had not been a father and needed to protect my kids. One of the first pieces of advice I got from my mother regarding being a parent is that you will more often feel like a failure rather than a success. While that is true and the doubts about whether you did the right thing and if your kids are ok will be there regardless of the circumstances. Kids are resilient, a fact and the truth.

      So as the dust settles on all of this and I look back at all that has transpired, what has been lost and notions that have been thrown out as well I can only take heart in the advice I was given by my sons. We had our first grill out a few nights ago, and we went to the store to get some things for BBQ season. Ben got some mustard and Bryce relish. As we were eating the boys were trying the condiments... Ben went on to state that he likes relish, despite the fact he did not like it before. Conversely, Bryce now likes mustard, when I asked the kids about what they thought changed Ben answered, “Dad, it is like life... things just change and change is good”, Bryce agreed. Now, coming from two little boys who started life in both hostile and unforgiving environments, whose lives were forever changed on many levels, this made the father in me proud. I guess this was one of the times I could feel like a success and no amount of money, real estate, possessions or material wealth could replace that reward. They had made it through, guided by me and we were truly a family unit. I had become the father I always intended to be.

          The Intentional Father

      So, at this point, what is stopping you?

    What do we want??? Equal rights! When do we want them??? Now!

    by tnichlsn on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 06:44:09 AM PDT

    •  I finally made it! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tnichlsn, Predictor

      All I can say is WOW!  It has been an amazing journey thus far.  As I look back over the diary and see what has become my reality, that of children and advocacy.   I am struck by some of the things that you don't see, that just get faced on a daily basis.  

      You don't see that there is an inherent bias that is slowly eroding that fathers can not be the primary caregiver.  That when I started this journey almost a decade ago, I was on my own.  As of this week, the last bunch of men, I was working with before relocating have all taken custody of children and embarked on the journey as intentional fathers.  

      You don't see that there is a tough road for any single working parent in a workplace and for men, gender roles are still there keeping some would be father's away.  

      That large corporations and insurance companies care more about profit than the people they hurt, whether they are a single parent, gay or not...greed discriminates against no one.  

      Lastly, what you don't see is how much gratitude I have for all of you who not only take an active interest but can help me promote this cause, which not all of us will see the benefits of perhaps...but my sons and your children will!  Thanks, because helping us, allows us to help others.

      Brian J Tessier Esq.

      by The3Bs on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 07:28:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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