conversations with my son

Sharing History: A Gay Dad & His Son Take a Field Trip to SCOTUS

June 27, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

I’d been battling a summer cold and was giving my achy muscles a rest, when multiple alerts on my phone roused me from grogginess. At long last, the Supreme Court had ruled to uphold the legality of same-sex marriage! Friends and family were texting, emailing and posting in a celebratory barrage of beeps and tweets.

Yet my relief, excitement and pride were shortly muffled by throbbing sinuses, and I resigned myself to sitting this historic event out. I had been there when DOMA and Prop8 were overturned, we’d been legally married last year, my husband was out of town and I was exhausted from my solo-parenting stint — the reasons to stay in bed were legion. But something (the social media frenzy? live news reports on the TV in the background? guilt?) moved me to maneuver upright and out of bed, where my thoughts became clearer…

This isn’t about you, or about what you have or haven’t experienced. It’s not about living within reach of where it’s all taking place. This is an opportunity to share a moment with your son. A historic moment in the nation’s evolution. A moment relevant to him and his story.

After a shot of Mucinex, I somehow managed to pull it (snacks, water, metro cards, myself) together, picked Jon up from day camp, and we set out on our adventure.

I told my curious and excited 5-year-old we were going on a field trip to the Supreme Court Building. I told him we would get to ride the subway and a taxi, and that the building looked kind of like the Hall of Justice. He was already sold by the how and where, but I needed to explain the why.

Remember when Daddy and Papa got married, and how much fun that was? (Nods) Well, we were able to get married and be a family because it was legal in our state. But there were still a lot of families with two mommies or two daddies in other states that couldn’t get married because they weren’t allowed to. Because it wouldn’t count. (Look of concern) Until today. The Supreme Court is where they decide all the laws in the country, and they said that any two people can get married anywhere and be a family — and they said that was the law just today. So we’re going to celebrate!

Pauses. Mulls.

So, it’s gonna be… like a little party?

Our field trip to the Supreme Court the day same-sex marriage became legal

A day of so many firsts, including Jon’s first time in a taxi.

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How Was Your Day? or To the Sun and Back

May 7, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

how was your day - to the sun and back

Maybe it was the perfect weather — where the last cold evening had passed, but the first sweltering one had yet to arrive. Or perhaps it was the extra hint of eagerness (sweetened with politeness) in his voice. Or was I thinking of my friend, and how he’ll never again be asked, “Daddy, can you come play with me?”

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Marvel’s Iceman Comes Out as Gay; Area 5-Year-Old Thinks It’s ‘Cool!’

April 23, 2015 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE
iceman comes out as gay

Iceman comes out (with the help of psychic pal Jean Grey) in All New X-Men #40.

Yesterday one of the original members of Marvel’s X-Men came out as gay; and despite the usual online cynics and haters, I’m pretty stoked. While Iceman (aka Bobby Drake) isn’t as well known as fellow mutants Wolverine, Cyclops or Storm, he’s been consistently well-represented in and out of comics since the team of super-powered outcasts debuted in 1963.

marvel's iceman comes out as gay

My 5yo knows Iceman from versions both animated and “real life.”

In animation, Iceman was one of the “friends” on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and he makes appearances on Cartoon Network’s The Super Hero Squad Show. On the big screen, Iceman has been portrayed by actor Shawn Ashmore in four of the X-Men movies. He had the most screen time in X2, where his strained relationship with his parents after he reveals he’s a mutant is a not-so-subtle allegory of a teen coming out of the closet.

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My 5-Year-Old Sums Up the Oscar-Nominated Films

February 20, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

I used to be all about the Oscars. The joke about them being the gay Super Bowl? I was more than happy to perpetuate that stereotype. For several years, Papa was in charge of the Oscar pool at his law firm — I was banned from participating after winning 2 years in a row. And as a couple, we took great pride in seeing every nominated film prior to the Oscars ceremony — sometimes even prior to the nominations being announced.

However, with the onset of parenthood, our movie-going habits declined substantially. And they certainly don’t include any Best Picture nominees. Nowadays, we either take Jon to see the latest kids’ movies, or we spend a rare date night seeing a sci-fi or superhero blockbuster — something that will keep us awake during our few hours of childlessness.

This year is the farthest yet we’ve fallen from our glory days of fine film viewing. The Oscars are in a couple of days, and we’ve seen exactly ONE of the eight nominated films. We should have seen this coming. Looking back at the years since Jon was born, here are our Best Picture nominee viewing stats: 2010 – saw 9 (of 10); 2011 – saw 4 (of 9); 2012 – saw 4 (of 9); 2013 – saw 2 (of 9). It’s a sad trend, isn’t it?

A few years back, I employed Jon’s help to recreate each of that year’s nominees. Seeing as he’s not as agreeable/posable as he was then, I instead just asked him to sum up all of the Best Picture nominees based solely on the name and poster for the movie — which is pretty much all I have to go on.

Without further ado, heretofore and whenceforth… I present to you, this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture, as summarized by my 5-year-old:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

oscars boyhood

BOYHOOD

It’s about a boy wearing a hoodie. Laying in the grass.

(12 Years A Slacker?)

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens…and so Do My Memories

November 29, 2014 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

Conversations With My Son: Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer

I resisted the pull of The Dark Side, not watching the new Star Wars teaser trailer online. I was determined we would see it on the big screen first, so Friday afternoon we went as a family to the one theater in our area showing the 88 second preview before all its films. We were nearing the tail end of Black Friday, so the throngs were out in full, clogging the freeway, the parking garage, the mall — all to near capacity.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I’d spent some time the day before talking to my 5-year-old about the new movie and the Star Wars canon in general. It was a confusing and disheartening conversation…

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SuperLunchNotes: Back to School, or Why I Stopped Telling My Son I Loved Him

September 25, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF, POP CULTURE

Holy Time-loss, Batman! Has it really been a year already?! For the first week of school, I wanted to come out strong on the lunch notes, as this was the start of my son’s second year of preschool. So I went back to where it all started…Batman. His image is the most iconic, most adaptable, and rife with puns to be played upon. I threw in some other favorites (Cyborg, GL), Daddy’s favorite (Aquaman, duh) and a first appearance from Booster Gold, who we’d watched on an episode of Batman: The Brave & the Bold recently.

And finally, for good measure I added “♥ Daddy” as a signature. This was to be a short-lived addition…

.

BACK TO SCHOOL WEEK-ish: August 28 – September 5, 2014

Batman  |  Green Lantern  |  Mr. Fantastic  |  Aquaman  |  Cyborg  |  Booster Gold

Designer Daddy Batman

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Conversations With My Son: Anatomy of a Birthmother

September 18, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

conversations with my son - birthmom anatomy

CONVERSATION COLOR CODE:

Daddy  •  Jon  •  Daddy’s Internal Narration

“Hey buddy, come show me your button guy you made at school.”

Jon runs into the kitchen and squats down beside Button “Guy,” who is magnet-ed to the fridge. He starts pointing to buttons, starting with two (a dark red and a blue) clumped in the middle…

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Conversations With My Son: When Will I Get New Parents?

September 5, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

Conversations With My Son: When Will I Get New Parents?

It had been just under a week since we returned from a cross-country trip to visit our son’s birth parents. It had been just two days since our four-and-a-half year old started in his new preschool class. Papa was out of town, so Jon and I were chatting over dinner about this-and-that: who he knew in his class, how awesome his new cubby was, how he’s decided — after a two year break — to take up napping again, because apparently that’s what one does in Room 3.

I was also thinking ahead to the logistics of letting him have some iPad time, a bath and a story all before bed, while still leaving me a pocket of waking minutes to write.

Seemingly out-of-the-blue, my son asks, “When I gonna get new parents?”

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