When my husband and I got married we were not sure we could have children or that we even wanted children. So we didn’t give the idea of a family a whole lot of thought --- at first. And I, coming from a family of 5 kids (4 boys and me), went through a long period where I had no desire to ever have children, so I was quite content with just having fun and getting to know my husband those first few years of marriage. I was definitely not one of those people who’d spent her childhood dreaming of marrying and having a bunch of kids and a house with a picket fence.
But after a few years of marriage my husband and I decided we did indeed want children. And once we realized that, our desire became almost desperate.
The day I got confirmation that I was pregnant with our first son was the happiest day of both my husband’s and my life. We walked around for a week in this kind of euphoric daze. Even thinking about it now sends me into that same euphoria.
Right around week #2 I noticed a big change in my husband’s demeanor. I think the reality of how our lives were going to change was starting to set in. He was very somber and maybe even a little scared. When I asked him what he was feeling, he admitted that he was scared and very worried that he would not be a good enough father. And that is when I knew without a doubt that he was going to be an amazing father.
And “amazing father” really does not do him justice. This is a man who loved his children with every fiber of his being. Our children never had to wonder where they stood with him. His every action screamed: I would give my life for you. And they knew that there was nothing they could do that would stop him from loving them. He was an extremely hands-on and involved dad. My biggest worry was that he was too hands-on and protective and that our children would not be prepared for the real world. But I was wrong. The unconditional love and nurturing only made our children more secure, self-confident, and ready to take on the challenges life would present them.
And maybe that is why I am filled with a seething rage so intense that I frighten myself. We had never really paid much attention to people like James Dobson. But that all changed the day we found out our middle son was gay. We started paying attention and what we were hearing was that we were not good enough parents and we made our son gay. And that my husband in particular, was not a good enough dad or role model and that he was responsible for our son’s sexual orientation.
I believe it may have been that accusation that sent me over the edge. I know a good father when I see one because I never had one myself. I spent a major portion of my childhood mourning what I didn't have and figuring out what a good father would look like to me. So one of the most rewarding and wonderful aspects of having my own family was watching my children grow up with what my brothers and I never had, a father whose love was unconditional, whose life revolved around them, and who’d give his life for any one of his children.
My heart breaks at the thought of all the hearts James Dobson has plunged a knife through with his wildly off-base accusations of bad parenting. I cannot imagine how many wonderful fathers he has crushed. I don’t think James Dobson has a clue what really makes a good father because if he did, he’d know that it is the intangibles upon which children thrive and not a group shower or a manly game of wrestling. I don’t think my four (straight) brothers ever lay in bed at night and cried for a father who would wrestle with them or shower with them. No, I think their needs were far more primal and basic. They just cried for a father who would love them selflessly and unconditionally.
So to all those fathers out there with gay children who have loved their children selflessly and unconditionally, I want to wish you an especially Happy Fathers Day and congratulate you on knowing what it means to be a good dad. And I want to assure you that no matter what monsters like James Dobson say, you’ll know you’ve done right by your children when they tell you they love you and thank you for being a great dad.