By Ellen Davis
My 13-year-old son sometimes tells us, “My teacher just doesn’t get me.” This is often code for, wow he/she actually expects me to behave in class, and hand in completed, well thought out homework assignments and put forth my best effort. But something recently happened at school that gave me pause. Jackson came home and told us that in English class everyone was trying to choose topics for a writing assignment. The teacher suggested that Jackson could write about his “unusual” family. He told her he didn’t think having two Moms was “unusual.” She then suggested that maybe his family is “unique, how about you write about that?” He came home and told us this story. And he added, “She has no idea how boring you two are.”
Are we “unusual?” I guess to some we are still viewed as very different. It really made me think. Is it “unusual” to hope my son is comfortable? To hope he is emotionally healthy? To hope he is physically healthy? To hope his friends are kind? To hope he knows how to treat girls? To hope he realizes it’s ok to love the arts? To hope he learns how to work hard? To hope he achieves his full potential? To hope he puts on sunblock? To hope he never loses his amazing sense of humor? To hope his socks aren’t lumpy? To hope he is kind to his sister? To hope is eating right? To hope he becomes a fine man? To hope he finds someone to love? To hope someone will love him? To hope he will always want to spend time with me? To hope all of his dreams come true?
Are these “unique” things to hope for? Does this teacher really view us as so different from other parents? I truly don’t think she meant any harm at all. But, Jackson was incredulous that his teacher presented these viewpoints to him. Through the years, I have often asked both of my children if not having a father has been difficult in anyway. Do people find it weird that you have two mothers? They have always told me not to worry about it. That it has not adversely affected them at all. A few funny moments come to mind. Our daughter wanted to go somewhere on a very snowy day. She said to her friend, “My Mom said I can’t go.” And the friend replied, “Which Mom said no, the blonde one or the red (headed) one?”
Apparently, it is a known fact that one of us is easier to sway. Recently I suggested to both kids, that they use the “two Mom” angle when they apply to college. Even I said, maybe it will make you stand out. It’s something different. My daughter did a massive eye roll and told me, “Oh please, everyone is so over that. Nobody thinks it’s different anymore.”
I hope my kids are right. I too, think we’re boring. I don’t think loving my kids and wishing the best for them is “unusual” or “unique.” If I’m wrong, I can live with that.
Ellen Davis is a Chappaqua Mom and a television writer, producer and director.