WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!
We’ve been watching Modern Family since its debut in 2009, because A) It’s pretty darn funny and B) Mitch & Cam.
Papa and I have been compared to TV’s quintessential gay dads quite a few times over the years. (My trainer at the gym once told me “You’re like the big guy, because you’re so, um… funny!”) And their milestones have mirrored ours on many occasions. Like when Lily dropped the F-bomb. And when they thought she dropped the M-bomb. And when their adoption fell through.
The show’s fifth season premiere (“Suddenly, Last Summer”) began with a date stamp of “June 26, 2013,” then proceeded to weave the Supreme Court’s eventful decision of that day into a plot about Mitch and Cam each planning a surprise proposal to the other. Of course hilarity and calamity ensued, with both sets of romantic scenarios being botched. They ended up with a blowout in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking the light-filled city below and stars overhead. While replacing the tire, the couple reminisced about various mishaps and adventures they’d shared in their decade-long relationship. As they both knelt down (on one knee, natch) to attend to the tire, it dawned on them what each other had been plotting. They looked into each other’s eyes and simultaneously said, “Yes.”
And simultaneously, Papa and I both sniffled and said, “Awww.”
While the characters of Cam and Mitch are not without fault (they could certainly stand to be more affectionate), and stereotypes abound, I do appreciate the significance of this storyline on an Emmy-winning, Nielson chart-topping, major network show.
Yet what really made an impact was not just a gay couple proposing to one another, but the genuine portrayal of how this moment might play out between a couple that had been together for so long. A couple that would have gotten married much sooner (had it been legal), yet remained together and built their family their way. Not a lot of precedent for that on TV or in popular culture in general.
Like Mitch and Cam, Papa and I and many other same-sex couples have committed to one another for the long haul, forming our relationships and our families as best we knew how. Often without any support from government, church, family or society as a whole. These hindrances are swiftly falling away, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. And I’m thrilled for the new(er) couples that are meeting, falling in love, and able to get married just as God and Hollywood intended — while they’re still young and hot for each other.
So why is it significant that this TV couple has been together for so long? To the straight, married readers: can you imagine, having been with your partner for 10, 15, or 20 years, planning, hosting and paying for a wedding at this point in your life? Between work, paying bills, caring for a house and raising kids, just setting a date would be an achievement. Am I right?
So I really appreciated how Modern Family’s writers and producers showed this long-together couple — in the midst of a busy, chaotic, and deeply entrenched life — struggle and scheme to make this moment as historic and romantic as possible. And as would be in the real world, they had to take the time life gave them and make it their own, in their own way.
My partner/husband/Papa and I will have been together 17 years in October. (A common joke amongst gays might go, “That’s 34 in straight years!”) In the fall of 2003 we had a commitment ceremony in a lovely Unitarian church, nestled in some woods, surrounded by over 100 friends and family. It was the closest thing to a wedding available to same-sex couples at the time, and it was truly wonderful.
However, we are going to have a legal wedding (albeit much smaller this time around), come hell, high water, work, school schedules or extended family shenanigans. And why are we being wedding hoarders and having another ceremony? Because we can. And because we deserve to. And because the first time around we had family members who chose not to come, who are clamoring to be here this time around. And of course because of JJ. But mostly because we love each other. (And because we can.)
A wee bit ago, I got my all-time oddest product review request. It was for UBBAS bath toys, which are essentially rubber cups — somewhat people-shaped — that can hold hands, hug, and pee. They come in four varieties: Papa, Mama, Brother and Sister. Did I mention the peeing part? Because Papa and Brother UBBA pee straight out, while Mama and Sister UBBA pee straight down.
Yup, a gay toy that pees. I told you it was odd.
I OF COURSE SAID YES. Who better to review a cleverly-designed toy for kids with gay parents?
UBBAS Bath Cups were created by designer Rob Spalding as a tool that offers a fun, loving representation of family for kids of same-sex parents. Each is sold separately, so I got 2 Papas and 1 Brother, natch. It’s also meant to open dialog with your kids about their bodies. You know, because of the peeing.
Now I’ve been griping since before JJ was born about the lack of books, toys, shows, etc. that portray kids with same-sex parents. It’s a large part of what motivates me to blog or do any of the advocacy I do – to make sure JJ sees other examples of families like his, so that he’s confident and well-equipped to answer questions or deal with conflicts he might face because of his unique family makeup. But I’ll admit to being a little weirded out by this toy. I’m a fairly liberal guy, but the thought of mixing same-sex parents, bath time and peeing just sounded skeevy. Not to mention a tough sell to mainstream America.
I haven’t written much about JJ’s open adoption or his birthparents up to this point. We’ve always felt it best not to share too much of his story beyond what we’ve told him. However, several developments during our most recent visit moved me to venture into some of this undocumented territory.
Leading up to the trip, life was even more frenzied that usual. In a “normal” June, the middle of the month delivers the 1-2-3 punch of Pride, my birthday and Father’s Day; this year each was only four days apart. Our regularly packed work schedules were even more loaded down with pre-vacation deadlines and coordinating handoffs. We were scurrying to find a preschool for JJ, overwhelmed by the options. Two days before Father’s Day, my first article for The Huffington Post was published — a nice stress to have, but stress nonetheless. The following day, an interview Papa and I did for CBSNews.com went live. The article, while itself wonderful, quickly racked up large numbers of vile comments of the homophobic/hateful/crazy variety. I had to stop reading, distressed and fearful I’d put my family too far out there. For nearly 12 hours, I was really thrown off track. But Papa and my more experienced blogging buddies consoled and rallied behind me, respectively, and I got back to enjoying my Father’s Day and packing for our cross-country jaunt… which was the next morning.
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It had been two years since we’d last seen JJ’s birthparents, and he was now two years older, wiser and more inquisitive. We’d been using the word “adoption” around JJ for a while, but he had no memory of meeting his birthparents, and needed a refresher course. Shortly before the trip, I set up a slide show on the TV, and we watched as a family, pointing out his birthparents from our initial meeting (when JJ was still in birthmom’s tummy). We looked at images of our first days with him in the hospital, the subsequent time in a hotel awaiting adoption paperwork to clear, and our first weeks at home. He’d seen these many times before, but this time we mixed in photos of his birthparents, explaining where they fit into his story.
We also reintroduced JJ to his brother, showing him pictures of their previous meetings. JJ’s biological brother (who I’ll call “BB”) is 364 days his elder. They’d met twice before, but it was all new to him. “Dat my brudder?!?” he asked with amazement. It certainly raised his level of excitement for our excursion, which I wasn’t sure was possible. And yeah, it added to my already heaping pile of worry.
As promised, here’s Part 2 of Dora The Explorer and The Destiny Medallion! Still not as good as the original concept trailer, but it was fun to see Benny the Bull in human form, and the explanation of B.A.C.K.P.A.C.K.’s acronym was worth a chuckle. Yet while Part 3 looks promising with an appearance from Grumpy Old Troll, if The Map never shows up I’m afraid this whole exploration was por nada.
PRECAUCÍON: As with Part 1, this installment is a tiny bit NSFW/NSFT (not suitable for toddlers).
In somewhat related news (and a subject I’m SURE you’ll read more about on this blog in a week or so) our family will be attending the annual White House Easter Egg Roll! This is a pretty freaking huge/exciting/awesome deal. The Mother of all Easter Egg Festivities. Plus, our gal Dora is gonna be there, so that will be muy egg-celente.
Hop on back next week for the (hopefully) thrilling conclusion!
You might remember a video I posted a while back — a trailer for a hilarious (but disappointingly fake) live-action Dora the Explorer movie. Well, it’s one step closer to fake reality, as College Humor has posted part 1 of the 3-part saga, Dora The Explorer and The Destiny Medallion!
While it lacks some of the first-time funny punch of last year’s Infinity Orb, it’s great seeing Dora, Boots and (swoon) Diego back in acción. And I can only hope Horatio Sanz will return as the annoying and abused The Map. (BTW, have you seen him lately? ¡Aye chihuahua!)
ALERTA: this installment is a tiny bit NSFW. And certainly NSFT (not suitable for toddlers).
COME BACK NEXT WEEK FOR PART 2!
If you’ve ever endured even a single episode of Dora the Explorer or Go, Diego, Go! then you MUST watch this hilarious (but disappointingly fake) movie trailer. From the frequent geniuses at College Humor.
Great job by Modern Family’s Ariel Winter, playing against nerdy-middle-child type. And I must say, Diego is looking muy hermoso.
Know of any other funny spoofs of annoying kids shows? Please share!
Once again, the most recent episode of Modern Family paralleled our own lil’ modern fam, what with Lily dropping the F-bomb and all…
A week or so ago JJ uttered his first foul phrase — and while not nearly as gasp-inducing (or laughter-inducing, if you’re Cam), it still took us by surprise as it was out of nowhere and not in response to anything in particular.
I’m sure you’re wondering what our wee cherub said, but I admit I’m hesitant to say since Grandma and Nonna both have frequented this site on occasion. And while I make no pretense that this blog is merely a sweet and sugary photo album of their precious favorite grandson, let’s just say his words were not ones a Baptist minister’s wife or devout Italian Catholic would choose as JJ’s first foray into profanity.
Our initial response was to ignore it. When it came around a few days later, I responded, “Let’s say ‘I love you’ instead, m’kay?” Tonight he again repeated it — once more totally out of the blue — and I ignorantly asked him where he heard it. His initial response was to point the finger at his sitter. His sweet-as-pie, 60-year old, Mormon sitter. I was skeptical. So I ran down the list of more logical suspects. Did you hear Daddy say it? Yes. Papa? Yes. Bita (the sitter – thought I’d check again) Yes. Cordi? (the dog) Yes.
Well, we’ve got a mystery on our hands, don’t we? That, or we’re about to make a fortune off our cursing dog…
So what was your child’s first curse word? At what age? And how did you deal with it? I’m not just fishing to get comments — I really am seeking the knowledge (and empathy) of those who’ve walked this dirty road before.
Here it is, the finished mural on JJ’s bedroom wall! And not only did I finish painting, but I also hung everything back on the wall (including a couple of new things), put together a mobile, and hung that and a few other mobile-y type things from the ceiling. Needless to say, my back was not in top form during JJ’s party the next day. But that’s why God made Advil, rum, and husbands.
It’s hard to get a great panoramic view of the room (it’s pretty small) but the mural is mostly in one corner, with a bit spilling onto the ceiling and above the windows on either side.
Since before JJ was born, I’ve had grand fantasies of introducing him to all kinds of art and culture at an early age. One of the more ambitious dreams was to paint a mural on his nursery wall. I have a maniacally crafty friend who had painted a cloud fresco on her son’s ceiling, as well as various fantastical creatures on the walls and even the furniture (photos to come) — so I had that inspiring/intimidating me. And of course there’s this wondrous monstrosity:
Yet here we are 15 months later, and nary a brush stroke has been made. So I thought I’d share the process with everyone here for two reasons: 1) So that others could learn from and be entertained by my mistakes, and 2) To hold myself accountable to actually getting it done.