What does being a father mean? Is it any different being a gay father? What is a father to you? Maybe your father is actually your single mum. Or your uncle. Your carer perhaps. A father can be anyone.
We started our journey to becoming dads in July 2014. Not to bypass it in a blasé fashion as it is very intense and a bit of a roller-coaster, but within nine months our baby boy, aged 14 months, came home to us. It was like a full term pregnancy (and we definitely had our own labour pains at times). We were so amazed at how the process went and how quickly we found our little boy (but i like to think he found us too...). It was the most surreal thing i think i have ever been through. Rather quickly, we got into our flow. Or make that, we HAD to get into our flow. I took two and a half months off work and my husband took the year of parental leave off (and never returned...lucky bugger!) It was without a doubt the best two and a half months of my life. Also probably the most terrifying too, suddenly having to look after this beautiful little human. But from the get go i was learning to be a dad. What kind of dad did i want to be? I was suddenly thinking of so much more than what i had to think about before.
It was a steep learning curve. In at the deep end. There was no sleeping baby needing a boob every hour or so, but we had a cruising/crawling little boy who demanded every waking minute of the day. Luckily he came fully loaded with a routine which we’ll be eternally grateful to his foster carer for! He LOVES his sleep. Even to this day.
It’s now been two years since we became a family. Two years since we became dads. And we‘ve accomplished and learned a hell of a lot. The toddler groups, the playdates, dashes to A&E when he got a couple of peas stuck up his nose, the sleepless nights, the worry that they are still breathing, wonderful beach holidays, eating sand, getting sand in his eyes, nappy explosions, grabbing my willy when we have a bath together, the clinging onto our legs when he doesn't want to be dropped off at nursery, the “daddy cuddle!!“ when i head to work in the morning as he tries to stall me leaving the house and the “daddy home, daddy home!!“ as i come through the door at the end of the day... Something happens to you when you become a parent. You change.
This Father's Day i am realising that this is just the beginning. We have the rest of our lives together. New experiences, new challenges and the 'wonderful' teenage years all to look forward to. And i really do look forward to it and i don't take a single second for granted... the best role i could ever have been offered is this one. To be his father.
You see... I might be gay. I might be a dad. But i’m not that different to you. Gay dad? Straight dad? Single mum? We’re all just the same. We’re Fathers. We’re Mothers. Doing the biggest job there is in the best way we can.