Sara Whitman

We Are Enough

Filed By Sara Whitman | June 15, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: failed relationships, gay families, gay parenting, gay parents, lesbian parents

When long term relationships fail, rarely are the people involved surprised. It's been years of negotiations, of discussions, of trying to work out a plan that works for those involved.

No one is surprised that a final straw has been reached, or a last line crossed.

I have reached that point.

Not with my wife- calm down. My wife is the love of my life and while we've had our ups and downs, we are particularly tight right now.

Except when she wants to spend money.

I tried to create a family for my boys. An expansive one. I never had much family growing up and when I met Jeanine's clan, I was in awe.

And jealous. I wanted that for my kids.

I tried. Deep down, I didn't feel like I was enough. That I could not possibly give the boys all they needed, wanted. In some ways, I think that's true of any child, any where. More people, more love, is always a good thing.

For me, though, it was my mother's voice that said I wasn't enough. I had made a mistake. It wasn't fair to any child to bring them into this world in a lesbian relationship. They would suffer stigma and be outsiders. They would miss out on having a father.

As if that did me personally any good, having one who abused me but let's not go there right now. I knew I wanted a father. One who wasn't creepy, who didn't grunt and say disgusting things.

(She said that to me when I told her I was going to try and get pregnant. Right after she said she was going to move to Australia. I kid you not. She really did say the shame was so great she would have to move to Australia. Canada, clearly, was not far enough.)

Those words gnawed at me for years. My heart knew I did not make any mistake at all. But that voice lived on for many, many years. Even my mother retracted her words eventually. She loved her babies. By the time Jake was born, she was Grandma with a capital G and don't ever question that.

Not enough. I wasn't enough. Jeanine and I together, were not enough. I am not someone to sit by, so I made it happen. I fixed it. Or at least I thought I fixed it.

I don't believe that anymore. Over the last few months, major shifts have happened in our lives, in our kids lives. A final line was crossed. The last straw drawn. It has been devastating for me personally.

It didn't work. Too many unsaid things, too many disappointments, too many hurtful, clueless boundary crossings. When we saw our oldest son suffering, and understood where his pain came from? We slammed doors shut so fast Maxwell Smart wouldn't have made it through.

I can take a lot of shit. You can rain down on me. But my kids? Never. No way.

It's been a few months since that happened. Life has shifted for the kids, for Jeanine and I. The biggest lesson I learned? We are enough. We are most definitely, without question, enough. If I had one lesson learned that I wish I could shout from the rooftops to every two dad or two mom household, it is you are enough.

All those innuendos, and Madison Avenue images that barrage you every day, making you wonder if your kids are missing something in their lives... whispers of straight family members, or people in your community... They are wrong.

Two loving, committed parents (and I don't care if you're divorced- it's about loving and being committed to the kids) are what your kids need.

It took 14 years and a lot of struggle for me to realize that.

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There was a new study out last week that showed children of lesbian couples were in general better adjusted and more mature than their staright peers.

I know it is hard to mignore those voices from the past, but truly we sometimes have to just say fuck it, and learn to not listen to them anymore.
Easier said than done, but it is worth a try

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 16, 2010 8:47 AM

Beautiful, inspirational and very true!


Any time you need an ear, just pick up the phone and call. I'm always happy to help and/or listen while you vent.

I frequently enjoy reading what you have to say, but this post, maybe because it is SO personal, is by far the best thing that you have written. Thank you for your courage! And yes, you (and we) are enough.

Regan DuCasse | June 18, 2010 12:30 AM

Sara, my dear...that was amazing. I feel so honored and in awe of your thoughts and feelings about your family and what you go through. I'm in a mixed race marriage.
What people say about children and op sex parents, might as well say, a child of mine is 'deprived' of having a parent be the same color as the other.
Or, what of disparate abilities.

No one says a parent with disabilities shouldn't be one. That sort of very personal decision is just that, very personal.
But what it all comes down to, is how much there is TO SHARE.
How much wisdom, other family, sense of the wonders of the world?
How much love is there to give? What can I teach a child about colors, and swimming...and compassion for others?

Yes, there is enough, where love is. And, experience. The worldview from a tough woman, is exactly the kind of mother bear sensibility that will protect and care for a child, in ways many people cannot because little has tested their mettle for a difficult world.

Children do best with the adults they KNOW love them enough to stay in charge, watch their backs, and respect their intelligence. Children do best with the adults that show them those children are WANTED and are the most important things in the world.
Secure children are happy children, it's the kids whose parents are always disappearing on them, and offer no structure that turn out problematic kids.

I don't know a parent out there that wouldn't agree. And those qualities have no gender, or sexual orientation.
Best to you and your family Sara and thanks for sharing!