“Hands, hands.” That one word, repeated twice, has big implications for our family. On a recent road trip it became apparent that everywhere we went, the little guy was going to rat us all out. The first and most blatant time was in Pennsylvania…rural, western Pennsylvania. We already look a little different, maybe curious–black man, white man, brown baby. After driving for nearly four hours we pulled into the local Bob Evans. I had never been to one before and it was described to me as a step above a Denny’s–good enough for breakfast. Traveling through rural areas of Pennsylvania and New York a lot of the towns have similar names. I am still not sure if we were in Williamsberg or Williamsport. It was small, monochromatic and we already stuck out.It was a beautiful day. I was beginning to let myself relax and get into the vacation groove. As we waited at the hostess station to be seated, we noticed all of the bunnies. It was Good Friday and there were pictures of Easter bunnies all over the lobby. After the nice lady handed us some crayons and a bunny picture for Ty, she picked up some menus and asked us to follow her. That’s when Mr. T said it, “hands, hands,” meaning Daddy you take one hand and Poppa you take the other and we will all walk together to the table. He’s been doing this for a few weeks now and it is very cute. I realized from the start that you have to be ready because he likes to swing as we walk. A few times I thought I was going to loose my grip and send him hurdling toward the ground.
On the street, in our community, in the grocery store, leaving his day care, no one bats an eye when we walk three across. But “hands, hands” in unknown, possibly unfriendly places is a whole ‘notha thing. So in the Bob Evans on a Friday morning, in the middle of rolling hills, P-A, there was no mistaking that we were unique, unusual, and very, very g-a-y. I realized as I reached down to grasp his hand that we were flanked by lovely little rural families at tables on both sides of us as we made our entrance. It’s not that I am in the closet, I just don’t walk around with it on my sleeve–being gay. I figure straight people don’t have to make a point of being straight, so why do I have to make a point of being gay. But as we walked to our table it wasn’t like we were getting catcalls, that mother’s were covering their children’s eyes, or that teenagers were catapulting their scrambled eggs at us with a spoon. It’s that sometimes you just want to eat breakfast and not have to be the “side-show”.
We three settle in at the table with a booster seat, crayons, bunnies and menus. I am really hungry at this point and am savoring a yummy scrambled egg breakfast, Darrow is looking over the blueberry pancakes and the little guy is doing everything with the crayons including whacking them against the plastic partition separating us from the next booth. I can tell as the waitress comes to the table that each time she is a little uneasy around the gay-dads-with-son. She is a little too cautious, a little too careful, fumbling a bit with what to say to us. Around us I can feel some of the attention, again nothing negative, just attention. Besides with Mr. T still in the incredibly cute stage, it isn’t surprising that people watch sometimes. If fact the other day a man complimented Darrow on how beautiful T was, not knowing of course that they aren’t biologically related. It is fascinating how much attention he draws. I hope that it doesn’t warp his sense of self.
It is a pretty normal breakfast. There is a little drama at the table, as there always is these days with the little one, but that’s all part of being two. We get the bill, pack up the little man’s paraphernalia and head out into the sunshine. After a quick diaper change, we began to play chase me on the sidewalk outside. People are coming and going and most of the women stop to look, and smile, and coo over the cute little toddler boy.
What I began to realize is that I will never know whether we draw attention because we are different; because he is so cute; or because we are a family with two gay dads. In spite of what some might think or feel about being gay, gay marriage or being gay parents, most people react positively towards us. We are happy, have fun and love each other very much. Sometimes in spite of your beliefs, those things are just irresistible.