Not sure how many of you will know Etta James’ excellent “Sunday Kind of Love,” but it’s become a little bit of a theme song for me, in a sense, as I find myself seeing my two darling sons (who I’ll call Louie and Otis) one-day-a-week, typically Sunday.
Why only one day? Well, it’s a long story that you can read in full the first time I wrote about helping my lesbian friends have a child, but the short story is that almost 8 years ago, a dear friend of mine from high school and her partner told me they wanted to have a baby and wondered if I’d help out. As I said in that article, “It’s a very flattering thing to be asked, to be desired for your genetic matter, like being the one guy in town the aliens decide to pull up with their tractor beam,” but it was also an incredibly fraught decision. I was 35, single, and straight; they lived 100 miles from my apartment in New York. And I still wanted kids to raise “conventionally” — how much would this interfere? And even more importantly, could I survive only seeing my child as often as I could make the 2-hour (each way) trip?
It took me six months to decide to give it a try, and I said afterward that the reason was that I felt I had “a surfeit of love to give and too few outlets.”
So we did it, much more easily — and perhaps comically — than you’d think. And two and a half years after that we did it again, again surprisingly easily (even though we were both in our late 30s. If you’re interested, here’s more on artificial insemination at home and also the argument for getting pregnant without having sex, even for married couples).
Now I can happily say that I’m wracked with guilt over how great everything is. I go down every weekend, the boys bounce up and down and clap when I arrive, squealing, “Daddy, daddy!” (yes, it’s not fair at all that absence makes them treasure presence that much more), and we play such pediatrician-approved games as Steamroller, Can I Hit You with the Giant Bouncy Ball, Push Daddy Down, and Beanie-Baby Dodge Ball.
Last night, I put them to bed, and Louie (6) asked for a story about money while Otis (3.5) asked for one about monster trucks. Yes, they’re my boys, I’m their dad, and I couldn’t love them more, even if it’s only on Sundays that I really get to show them.
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