Daddy and Daddy
When he asked me why his friend had two dads, I’ll admit I was stumped. The way children talk, the way they present themselves, it’s very disarming to an adult; especially when it’s your own child. When I look at him, I don’t see the 7 year old boy he is today, I see the 7 second old new born, still covered in various undiscussables, crying, but looking so beautiful. He’s my boy, and I get that pride of a father every time I look at him.
So, yes, I was stumped when he looked at me, and in his most innocent and inquisitive voice, asked me bluntly, “Why does Kyle have two dads?”
I’m not afraid of the answer, by any means, but years of society pounding into my head what a father should say in this situation, opposed to what I had always said I would say, it was as if the two sentences were battling for their place on my tongue, and I had to wait for one of them to win, before I said, “Some kids are just lucky like that, I guess.”
It was difficult at first, because I wasn’t really answering the question, but honestly I had no idea how to answer it. I don’t know why, because I’m not sure Kyle’s father knows why. But telling Anthony “He just does” didn’t seem good enough. It seemed dismissive, and the question really was important. I could tell that the answer I’d given him hadn’t been good enough, either. His eyes squinted in the way they do when he’s thinking really hard, as if the mere presence of light in them would disrupt whatever chemical reaction is happening within his brain, and make it impossible for his thoughts to process.
Finally, he looked up at me, brow furrowed, and said, “But, one of them can’t be his real dad, right? I mean, he needs a mom, too, doesn’t he?”
That actually made me laugh, I could picture the thought he had to have had of one or both of Kyle’s dad’s walking around, belly plump with pregnancy, complaining about their hormones and how the baby was kicking their kidneys. It was an amusing image, and I couldn’t hold back the laughter. Once it subsided, I looked Anthony in the eye, and said, “Yes, Tony, he had a birth mother. His biological father, that’s Greg—he’s Kyle’s blonde dad—and Kyle’s birth mom used to be married, but after he was born, they agreed that it wasn’t working. Last I heard she was living in Portland, remarried. Greg—Kyle’s birth dad—met his other dad not long after she left. They fell in love, and now they’re married. And that, my son, is why Kyle has two dads.”
His brow went furrowed again, eyes fell back on the ground, and I could practically hear the wheels turning inside his mind. He didn’t speak the rest of the way to school, we just sat, I driving and he listening to the radio. When we’d parked, and was grabbing his things, he looked at me and grinned as he let himself slide out of the truck, and said, “Kyle is pretty lucky, isn’t he?”
“Yes he is, Tony. He’s got three dads and a mom that all love him. You? You’re stuck with just me and your mom.”
His smile widened, and he turned around, and shut the door. I heard him holler, without looking back at me, “I’ll manage.”