April 28, 2010 - 9:59 pm
Hannah loves math, and I love that she loves math. She knows that some people think girls aren’t good at math just because they’re girls. ”DUMBHEADS!” she says to that one. She carries around her math notebook — a notebook that she uses, partly, to dream up math problems and partly to draw pictures of superheroes of her own devising, like Invisible Woman and Miss Fantastic. On the math pages, she scribbles problems to herself, like:
Ever since I showed her how to carry the 1, she’s had no end of fun. She loves addition and is champing at the bit to do division, but subtraction has proved more vexing. So, from time to time, I spin out subtraction problems for her.
“What’s 12-9, Hanner?” I say as we drive home.
“You got it. It’s like you’ve been doing this your whole life.”
“I have,” she says.
“Well, not exactly when you were a baby,” I say.
“Yes I have. What’s one scream plus one scream?”
“You’re right,” I say. ”You have.”
- 1:11 pm
Hannah begins the first of six performances tonight with Circus Juventas, the largest youth circus arts school in the country (if not the world), based right here in beautiful St. Paul under a permanent big top. Like just about every other adult, I attended my first Circus Juventas performance with a somewhat patronizing attitude — oh, now we can watch children do cartwheels — and like just about every other adult, I was totally blown away. They do it all, from unicycles to flying trapeze to some of the most remarkable juggling and aerial straps work I have ever seen, including at Cirque du Soleil. The spring show starts tonight and will involve more than 600 kids over the course of two weeks. Hannah will do Side by Side Trapeze and a Hip Hop-infused acrobatics routine. Now that we are “Circus Moms” (well, Jane has actually joined the Rigger Dads — setting up cables and hauling mats throughout the performances), we can sit with the other in-the-know parents and talk about how we wish there had been something like this when we were kids.
April 12, 2010 - 11:45 am
We’re just a few weeks out from the official publication date of my book, She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood. Boxes of books are starting to arrive on my front porch, which is both thrilling and slightly overwhelming. I’ve been scheduling events around the country where I’ll read from the book, share stories, take questions, nibble hors d’oeuvres, and sign the book. All events are open to the public.
April 9, 2010 - 12:03 am
For some time now, I’ve had some thoughts scratching around in the back of my mind about what it means to be a nonbio lesbian mom once the kid begins to grow up. The general consensus out there, such as it is, seems to be that it matters less and less who is the bio mom and who is not. Which is a pretty big change, really, since it matters very much during the pregnancy and first year of parenthood, when the bio mom is very busy doing things like gestating and laboring and nursing and the nonbio mom . . . isn’t.
And while I have never been asked whether I am (or am not) the “real” mom, it remains the case that the bio mom is generally seen as The Mother (capital archetype) during the pregnancy and first year. The nonbio mom is generally seen as, well, um, something else.
So, I think that I should feel good about the idea that it might just become less and less relevant who is who. And yet, I don’t.
Here’s the thing. When we look at straight parents, few people would suggest that it doesn’t matter who is the dad and who is the mom, since they’re both parents, after all. Even when those very same dads and moms are pushing the gender envelopes in how they define their roles, it still matters. Because, even though they might be stay-at-home dads or high-powered-executive moms, they’re still dads and moms. So why does it “not matter” in lesbian couples?
The bottom line is that I continue to feel a resistance to becoming subsumed into one big maternal entity. I also feel like saying that it doesn’t matter who is bio and who is not erases the reality of the nonbio mom. Yes, I’m a real mom and yes, I’m a nonbio mom. It matters because it matters to me. It matters because it is something different. It is who I am in relation to Hannah. That matters.