The Gift From My Two Dads


                                       


Most kids made fun of the fact that, after he and my mom divorced, my dad started dating another dude. Heck, I had a hard time accepting that my dad is gay, but it didn’t take long to realize that he’s the same as he always was.

I didn’t like the first guy he dated at all.  The second was just okay.  But when he started dating Devon, I was shocked. Devon is one of the coolest guys I have ever met. In fact, most of those kids who acted like jerks about my dad coming out shut up once they met Dev.

Devon is what you might call a guy’s guy. You know, the type of guy who is a hardcore football fan, likes to hunt and taking his Jeep off-roading, makes a killer grilled steak.  He is the kind of person that’s hard to hate, you know? Not only is he nice, someone who would give you the shirt off his back (literally!), but he’s living proof that being gay doesn’t mean that you act any different from anyone else.

Dev is himself first, regardless of what anyone expects or wishes.  “Be YOU with everyone, especially yourself” is his mantra.

I think that’s why he and my dad fell in love.  My dad had spent over forty years as hiding–who he really was, how he really felt–and waiting for society to grow up enough for him to admit his true feelings, not only to the community and his family but to himself.

A lot of people around town who know my mom say they feel badly for her.  Some even have the crazy idea that my dad “became gay” because of some crap about her not being woman enough.  I can’t figure out how that would even work.

Those people clearly never knew my mom or dad very well.  She was always awesome, and so was he, but sometimes divorce is the best thing for everyone involved.  That’s how it is with my mom and dad.

Well, anyways, my mom took the news about dad better than most.  In fact, it might have softened the pain from the divorce by finally explaining why their marriage went down the toilet. I’m not saying it magically took all the pain away, because it didn’t. I just mean now she knows that she didn’t make him unhappy.

I know she really did love him, and maybe still does in some way.  She’s said she has no hard feelings, as long as he stays in my life and my little sister’s.  Mom is happy seeing that Dad is so happier than he’s been in years.

Mom hasn’t start dating–yet!–but I have a feeling that when she does, those guys will have to be extra awesome.  Otherwise, they’ll have to answer to my dad and Dev. I bet you are beginning to see just how cool they are with each other, which is pretty sick, right?

Let me tell you something else about my dad: he loves Christmas!

Every year for as long as I can remember, when December 1st comes around, Dad starts going crazy.  Decorating, baking, gifting, throwing classy parties.  If there’s some way to make a big deal about the holidays, Dad does it.  He loves the carolers, and the concerts on the green, and watching when the town lights up the big old spruce in the center.  It’s like he was made to be merry.

And get this: Dev’s the same way. I swear, I never thought I’d see too grown men go as nuts over Christmas like they do.  They’re like two big kids.

Naturally, they had a blast their first season together. For those two, there is just nothing better in the world than Christmas.

I’ve only seen them act so giddy one other time.  Recently, the Marriage Equality act passed in our state. Finally, my dad and Dev can get married!  It hadn’t been more than a few hours that the news broke, and they were already planning a spring wedding—without either having actually, officially proposed!  They both wanted it and had no doubt the other did, too.

But then the other night, while Mom and I were was eating dinner with my little sister, she asked, “Why are Dad and Dev waiting until spring?”

My mom said, “I guess they like the spring, sweetie.”

Then my twelve-year-old sister, who I never thought too much about how observant she might be, said, “Wouldn’t they want to get married at their favorite time of year, though?”

None of us, not even dad or Dev, had thought about that!

This was way too good of an idea to hold on to, so Mom piled us all into the car to drive to Dad’s place.

We were all grinning and giddy, stumbling over each other to get to the door.  We knocked like maniacs and rang the bell until Dev opened the door, the most confused look on his face.

Luckily, Dad wasn’t too far behind him.  He thought something was wrong at first, until my sister blurted out, “You have to get married on Christmas!”

Needless to say, they loved the idea and couldn’t believe we would want to give up our Christmas day for a wedding.  Even if no one else could make it, Dad said, it wouldn’t matter: as long as we were there to celebrate with him and Devon.

As Mom started helping the guys plan for the change, I thought about Devon’s mantra: “Be YOU with everyone, especially yourself.”

It really makes sense.  I mean, how many times do we try fooling ourselves into being a different person, trying to fit what people want us to be? Even Dad and Dev thought they needed to have a spring wedding, to be traditional, when really they would be happier with a Christmas tree and eggnog and all that holiday cheer!

I used to think that my dad had changed after meeting Dev, even though it was a good change.  I have never seen him so confident, energetic and happy.  Now I realize that my dad didn’t change: he finally feels safe acting like his true self.

It makes me think about the ways I sometimes change who I am inside to fit what other people want or expect from me.  Because of my Dad, I’m trying to be aware of that and keep true to myself… I hope I do a good job and make him proud!

So, there you have it.  We have a little under a month to prepare for the wedding.  And, as much as I never thought I’d say this, I can’t think of a better Christmas gift than having two awesome, happy dads.

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