I was one of those people who knew they weren’t going to have children. I was never that big into babysitting, I didn’t have younger siblings or cousins running around, and generally speaking, I didn’t want to hang out with tiny, needy humans who couldn’t even wipe their own bums.
Kids are loud and messy, and they totally disregard social norms. How’s that supposed to be a good time?
But when I held my sister’s first kidlet to my chest the night she was born, my uterus started to twitch.
I quickly tried to think about babies crying on planes and going to work with poop on my shirt. No way!
Same-sex couples couldn’t get legally married in Utah then anyway, so the reality of starting a family where Elenor and I could both have a legal relationship to our child wasn’t within reach. So, it wasn’t gonna happen.
But within months, I was (shockingly and secretly) considering inviting my very own source of sleeplessness and endless worry into my life.
My hormones must have taken the wheel, and they were driving me right toward sperm bank websites and gently-lobbed suggestions at Elenor. (“Can you imagine us as moms? *scoff* I mean, how dumb would that be…”)
Fast forward seven years — past the realization of marriage equality (and thus legally recognized same-sex parenthood), past the jokes about having a kid that turned into real conversations and planning, past the birth of the world’s cutest twerp, and three years of bum-wiping — to last Sunday evening.
Little Harvey was cold and wet from some after-dinner kiddie pool time and wanted a hug to warm up. Elenor had turned on one of her world-class playlists and started dancing to Rosemary Clooney and Perez Prado’s “Mack the Knife.”
Between her hip swivels, shimmying and that mambo rhythm, I stood no chance of remaining a spectator. So, with Harv in my arms, I grapevined toward her and she shuffle-step-skipped our way.
Time stopped. The light was soft. The weather perfect. And we grooved to our little sunset backyard dance party.
My heart was full. I had my child’s chest to my own and my wife’s eyes locked on mine.
Precisely when I thought the moment couldn’t get any better, Harv lifted his head from my shoulder, smiled at us and said, “We’re a family, guys.”
Welp, call the hazmat crew because my heart just exploded. All over. And it’s a mess.
When I held Harvey to my chest right after he was born, I thought I’d never feel anything more intensely good in all my life. I’ve been wrong about that more times than I can count.
The profound and full-bodied joy of that moment keeps resurfacing in me, echoing through my thoughts of how I’ve changed and how the world for queer couples has changed too. How tragic it is that families are separated at our borders. How a small moment can shine so bright.
How Harv is tiny, messy, loud and doesn’t follow social norms. And yet, how a simple declarative sentence proudly exclaimed in his little voice can carry such truth.
We’re a family, guys.
Marina Gomberg is a communications professional and lives in Salt Lake City with her wife, Elenor Gomberg, and their son, Harvey. You can reach Marina at email@example.com.