>Coming out… and out… and out… and out…
>I remember when the internet “came out”. It was 1990 or 1991 and I was in 6th grade. Simultaneously our school library and my best friend who got everything before everyone else got “Prodigy.” I’m sure it had a lot of aspects to it, but I just remember that you could play really primitive computer games… with an actual human opponent who was somewhere else! Woah! Kids would wait their turn to play super lame games with a anonymous opponent who may as well been just the computer, but it was neat! Then came AOL with dial-up connection… this was our first internet at home. We probably got it in 1993 or so, maybe 8th grade? When I went to college in 1997 email was pretty mainstream… you got issued an nyu.edu email address and i got a brand new (really thick) laptop. I still had my AOL email address and used AIM and I kept in touch with a few high school friends. By a few – I think I mean 2 (T & N). I remember mailing actual paper letters to one or two more, but I really lost touch with most. I didn’t HAVE college emails, phone numbers for everyone – and certainly NO ONE had cell phones!
It must be so different for kids today, for us, the social scene of middle/high school kinda ended when the school day and after school activites ended… resumed on Friday and Saturday nights… but Sundays and school nights were family & private time. Nowadays, the gossip can continue all night long on Twitter, Facebook, etc. When kids go to college, this correspondence doesn’t change! Cell phone numbers don’t change. People may relocate, but you can get in touch with them the same way you always did.
So with the invention of all these social networking sites… MySpace and Facebook, etc…. we get reunited with the people of our past. For some people this is terrifying (and those are probably the ones that use fake names, don’t put their photos up, and have private profiles). For some it’s exciting to catch up… show off their wedding photos, their kids, photos of their new homes, their careers, etc. For some it’s about nostalgia, some people really do find a new spark in old friendships. For me, it’s all of those things and also just plain difficult. Because for every person I reunite with, I have to “come out” all over again. Yes, I have a daughter… and a wife… yeah, I said wife. Then I see the wheels turning “OK, if she has a wife, then how does she have a kid”… and so I then blurt out something along the lines of “she’s a donor baby!” Then I have the anxiety of wondering how they are going to react. Curious? Uninterested? Shocked? I “came out” over 10 year ago… and now I find myself doing it again and again and again on a weekly basis.
I’m the type to blurt things out, because I’d rather people just know than wonder! (And i wish more people were like this, I hate wondering things!) Usually the truth is way less scandalous than what people would dream up anyway. I’ve been with my wife for over 7 years, my daughter is almost 2. And when she told some people i was pregnant, a few people asked her if I cheated on her!!! I also don’t have an ex-husband, and I didn’t take our child and run away with a woman. My child was not conceived accidentally, she was made purposely, and with love. Yes, she has 3 parents… and yes she has 8 grandparents and at least 2 great-grandmothers… and yes, she may have siblings one day that she won’t grow up with… and yes, that all IS kinda weird, but it’s our life, and she has SO many people that love her, so in this circumstance, more IS better! I’m not ashamed of our family in any way, but I think I might be sick of explaining it over and over. But I guess I better just get used to it!
So while we’re here, since this is a new blog and my old one is locked up, sealed off, finished… I’d like to share our family’s story. (The short version.)
Missy and I met in 2003. I had a friend who I knew since 1998 and he was in a band…. and invited me to come see him play… and so I did a few times, and hung out with the band. And Missy was the bass player in the band… and so we hit it off! She lived in Brooklyn, I in Manhattan, and both of our leases were coming to an end, so we made the quick leap to moving in together, in Hoboken. I wanted out of NYC and I loved Hoboken, and she was willing to come with me! We loved it there! We lived in this awesome, huge apartment over a bar for a year and a few months, and then we bought a condo in Hoboken in October 2004 where we lived for almost 3 years. The mortgage was steep and I was ready for suburban life, so we decided to sell the condo and start the process of having KIDS! We got a civil union before we left NJ in 2007 (and later a marriage in Massachusetts in 2008) and we moved to the little beach cottage where we live now (about 65 miles from NYC). And so we started the decision process of… where were we gonna get sperm?!?!
Sperm bank? Known donor – friend? Known donor – family? (Hers obviously, not mine). We sent in the paperwork to register for a sperm bank (and it’s a lot of paperwork)… and even selected our choices… it was a hilarious few weeks talking about the merits of eye color versus musical talent versus good handwriting, etc. But through a lot of soul searching, we decided that wasn’t the route for us and we next went through the process of selecting a friend to ask. A friend not only chosen for his physical attributes (genetics), but for his intelligence, health, loyalty and character. Which of our friends would we be comfortable with being a part of our family forever. Which of our friends would be able to develop the kind of relationship with our child that both we wanted and he wanted, without crossing boundaries, etc. A thousand other questions and criteria, and so we made a choice… and asked. I asked him while we were both drunk at one of our most epic house parties ever… and said, don’t tell me now… just think about it. And think about it, he did. For 3 long months we waited for an answer… and we got our yes, and went forward with it! And in less than 30 days, Lilian was conceived and she’s perfect, like she was just MEANT to be. And here we are today, the family of the girl with 3 parents and 10+ grandparents, but it works for us!
And so I keep explaining our story over and over… and I’m sure that Lilian and her future-siblings will have to keep explaining too… but we’re all lucky to have each other.