Based on some of the Pride month programming from the Sundance channel I’d recorded over this past week and a half, my TiVo now has been recording more and more suggestions with queer content on its own. Last night I watched “Daddy & Papa,” an episode of PBS’s Independent Lens series, and I found it very affecting.
Never having had any real angst about coming out and identifying as queer, for many years I did regret, however, what I thought was an implication that I’d never be a parent. More recently, of course, I’ve come to realize that I could become a parent–not necessarily easily, especially as a gay man living in Virginia, but it would be possible. I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about it, off and on, but haven’t done any more in-depth research, or joined any “maybe baby” groups. Five years ago I had told myself that I needed to decide one way or the other before I was forty, an arbitrary cut-off age in my own mind for bringing a baby or young child into one’s home. Now that I’m but six weeks away from 41, though, I’m not sure that I’m ready to cut myself off from the possibility just yet.
On the other hand, I’ve also come to realize that I’m not always even particularly successful at taking care of myself, my cat and my houseplants to the standards I think I should, so it might be best that I haven’t pursued the possibility of fatherhood more vigorously.
At one level, I think I’ve been hoping and imagining that someone who already has kids would fall into my life, and that I’d get the husband, kids and white picket fence all in one fell swoop. The armor and charger are completely optional, of course.
Kelly Wallace–one of the men in the documentary, who was single at the time of filming and according to the update on the PBS site is single still–just really tugged at my heartstrings. Earlier in the film, Kelly talked about his realization that bringing the two young brothers into his home would make it much more difficult to have a adult relationship of his own, and his conscious decision to become a parent even if it meant he’d never again be someone’s partner; but he also talked about how lonely the situation can be– “not for the sex, but just to wake up and have someone hold you.” Later, in a segment that even choked himself up–and I, who’ve been known to cry at fast food commercials, had tears streaming down my face as I listened, sitting there alone–he told about a story that his adopted son Jesse had told him:
Jesse woke me up and said, “You know what, daddy? When I was little I didn’t have a family… so I just walked around the street by myself and I went up to one house and I said, ‘No, that’s not my house.’ And then, Daddy, I came up to your house and I said, ‘That’s my house.’ So I knocked on the door and you answered it, and I said, ‘Would you be my Daddy?'” And I said, “You know, honey, I’d love to be your dad.” And Jesse said, “So then I moved in… and now I have a family.”
Too bad I don’t live in San Francisco, where Kelly and the two boys are… at the very least, I’d want to get to know them better. See? I do have a romantic side, surprising as that may be, albeit an unrealistic one (ah… the cynic you all know isn’t entirely absent today either). So… given that I know his name and his occupation, and therefore could probably fairly readily find his email address, would it be pro-active, friendly and bold–or creepy and invasive and stalker-like–to contact him and let him know that his words and actions touched me?