is for Susan and Sharon.
I wanted daughters. When Susan was born, I was so excited and happy I nearly leaped over the delivery table. “We got a girl,” I shouted.
Forty years ago, we didn’t know the gender of a baby before its birth. Men were just beginning to participate in the births of their children. I didn’t make that decision until Mary was on the gurney being pushed into the delivery room. “Are you coming in?” asked Dr. Johnson.
“Yes,” I said.
Three years later, Sharon was born. “We got a little girl,” I shouted to Mary. My life was was blessed with the two beautiful daughters I wanted.
I loved being a daddy. Along with all of the usual little girl stuff, Susan and Sharon played soccer and volleyball, enthused through cheer leading, and suffered through piano lessons. Summers, we did swimming lessons and library reading club. “Let’s make cookies,” I’d say when I ran out of other things to do with them.
Midway through the normal, happy childhood I planned for my daughters, I changed the plan. Dealing with a gay dad was not an experience I planned to give them. Susan was fourteen and Sharon was eleven. Mary and I divorced. A new job in another town two hours away meant leaving the girls to face both emotional and physical abandonment.
To talk about Susan and Sharon without talking about the quality of our relationship today is impossible. Acceptance defines the relationship I enjoy with my adult daughters. And Susan and Sharon were—and continue to be—my teachers. Our relationship is open and honest. We don’t hide, we don’t cover up, we don’t make excuses. We are free of emotional baggage and respectful of each others individuality.
I wanted daughters. My life is blessed with Susan and Sharon