Last week, Catch was picking Charlotte up from school, and a little girl asked her, “Does Charlotte have two moms?”
Just a few weeks prior to that, I emailed the school’s director because the camp enrollment forms had fields for “mother” and “father.” I told her it felt uncomfortable to have to put one of our names next to “father.”
There are some women who walk in our neighborhood often, and we run into them from time to time. They think I’m Charlotte’s mother and that Catch is my sister. We’ve never corrected them because their English isn’t great and they mostly just marvel at how fast Charlotte is growing, but someday, Charlotte’s going to catch on to those little lies of omission.
While we were out shopping with Charlotte the other day, Catch ran to the restroom briefly. When Charlotte realized she was gone, she started screaming, “LITTLE MAMA! I NEED LITTLE MAMA! WHERE’D LITTLE MAMA GO?!” People stared at me as if I was kidnapping her.
I get so lost in my little “yay, gay!” cocoon sometimes that these little moments when I’m reminded that we’re different from other families are jarring—like a static shock. You’re just going about your business and then zap!
I remember the time (years ago) when Catch and I were crossing the street after a sushi date and someone threw a full water bottle at us from their car window as they drove by and screamed, “Fucking dykes!” We weren’t even holding hands. We scurried away as fast as possible—heads down, not making eye contact with anyone around us. We were hurt and embarrassed…. And now I think, what if Charlotte had been there? How long will it be until she witnesses a scene like that? How long before she’s made fun of for having two moms? How long before some unenlightened parent at school won’t invite her to a birthday party or include her in a play date because of her two moms?
Because really, it’s only a matter of time. It’s not if… it’s when. No matter how far we’ve made it, there is still so far to go. I forget sometimes… until that familiar zap reminds me. I’ve had 20 years of practice having my heart broken by society because of who I love. (Wow—20 years. When did that happen?) Who will be the first to break my daughter’s heart?
More importantly, who will bail me out of jail when it happens?