My First Father’s Day Being a Mom
Jennifer Angelina Petro
My boys say they’re OK.
When I asked them how they felt about it being Father’s Day, they said they were OK. One asked if he still needed to get me something. Another said he worked double time on Mother’s Day making cards for two moms and now he appreciates the day off.
I have the best kids ever.
When I think of the times I held them as infants on my chest and sang to them, when I think of pulling them in wagons and pushing them in strollers—all the times carrying them in front packs, the fishing trips, the chasing after ice cream trucks, the making bread and chimichangas, all the times we drew together, all the stories I told at bedtime, all the snake hunts and ootheca searches (praying mantis nests), all the movies (watching Pirates of the Caribbean and the Harry Potter movies over and over and over), all the times playing catch or pitching to them, or the time I took them out of school (along with my students) to take them to see the Parade downtown when the Phillies won the World Series in 08; the teaching them to drive, the times sitting in Barnes and Noble drinking soda and looking at books, the teaching the few guitar chords I know, the screaming at the top of my lungs at Battle of the Bands, the being so proud when they won first place–It wasn’t a lie. All that daddying. All that fathering. It was real. Always will be. Nothing will ever change my having been their father. No matter what anyone says, nothing can ever take those memories away.
My kids can see him in the old photographs with his scruffy goatee, scruffy clothes, silly grin. They can see hear him in my voice and see him in my hands and face.
But I am Mom Number Two. Always was. It’s just none of us knew it until now.
My boys are my treasures.
I love them with all of my heart.
And not just because they support me as a transgender parent, not just because they have taken this whole journey so well, and with such class, love, and good humor; but because they are good and decent people, they are my flesh and blood. They are my kids. Nothing will ever change that. No matter what I look like. No matter what happens to this body. Nothing can ever take away twenty years of fathering.
Nothing will ever change that I love them to the moon and back. And always will.
A family photo at Ben’s graduation this June, 2016. He’s the middle one, with Sam to his right, and Daniel to his left–and then Mandy, Mom Number One, and then me, Jennifer, Mom Number Two.