One day when I was in fifth grade, my mom took me out to eat. I remember it vividly, mainly because going out to eat was a rare occasion and was reserved for celebrations or to soften the blow of bad news.
As we waited for our food at Uno Chicago Grill, I tried to think of why we were here. Had my report card come? Did my mom get a new job? Who died?
After about 20 minutes of small talk, my mom started talking about her friend Diane.
I knew Diane as one of my mom’s best friends. I knew she was a lesbian and it was no big deal. ,
However, I was confused as to why my mom was mentioning her during our dinner.
She soon explained how she and Diane were alike. “Sarah, I’m gay,” she said. At first, I did not understand how this pertained to me or why I should care.
I was not shocked or upset or happy or sad. In fact, no emotion involving my mom being gay entered until she introduced me to Wanda.
Anyone who knows me can probably guess I was not the kind of kid who liked braiding hair and watching Disney movies.
I had a slightly unconventional childhood which led me to be a sarcastic no-nonsense type who preferred my mom’s old psychology textbooks to Nancy Drew books.
So when Wanda showed up and talked to me in a baby voice, saying stuff like “It’s so nice to meet you. Your mom tells me you’re in fifth grade. That’s exciting.” I immediately rolled my eyes and blocked her out.
And actually, I blocked her out for about the next six years.
She and my mom were serious, and she lived with us. She even moved to Pennsylvania with us.
She bought me things. She cooked for me. She drove me places and referred to me as her step-daughter.
She and my mom have been together for 10 years now, and during my later teenage years, I started to accept her more. I still do not call her Mom, but I definitely identify her as one.
To the people closest to me, it is no big deal. But most of the time, people have a lot of questions. For example, how was I born?
Well shockingly enough, I do have a father.
My father, an Egyptian immigrant, spent his time between his apartment in Cairo, Egypt, and home in New Jersey. His and my mother’s relationship was never serious, and soon after I was born, my mother had sole custody of me.
Growing up, I visited my dad as often as I could. He got married when I was 8. His wife is also kind of like a mom to me. Technically I have three moms — one biological, two step.
My mom, Wanda and I are all Christian, which sometimes shocks people. We attend church regularly, and no one in our congregation of over 200 people has ever made a complaint about an open lesbian couple being there.
Despite our rocky early years, we are a pretty normal family. We love the Red Sox, going to the beach and barbecuing in the summer. I would not identify us as a “dysfunctional family.”
With gay rights being a hot topic right now, a lot of people question if a gay couple can even raise a child. I think that is the most ludicrous question I have ever heard.
If anything, my life has gotten better since having two moms around.