Teachers, Questions, Normalization, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Strategies, Different, Language, Pushing Back, Describing Family
Pa: We haven’t had a lot of teachers ask us questions, though.
Zena: (shakes her head)
Pa: And that would be, that would have been good.
Pa: If they, if they were curious--
Pa: But maybe, but maybe that’s just because I’m really open to it.
Pa: Right? So maybe there would be families that are private--
Pa: and wouldn’t want to, so--
Pa: I know there’s professional boundaries and pieces like that they would have to be cautious of.
Tara: Right. Tells us some of the things you wished teachers would have asked you.
Pa: Hmm. (pauses, thinking)
Tara: It’s a big question.
Pa: I don’t think that I, I don’t think that I ever had any, I don’t think teachers ever, there was ever any difference between our children in the classroom because they had two moms versus not.
Pa: So, I don’t think there was ever any real—I think that um, even when it came to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and things like that, they, you know (looks at Ely)--
Tristin: They don’t do Father’s Day—or, we don’t do Father’s Day.
Pa: You don’t do Mother’s Day and Father’s Day now, but you did when you were younger. But you don’t do Father’s Day.
Tristin: Father’s Day, I mean like, when we like, when the teacher’s like, (in a higher voice) “Make a card for your father, it’s Father’s Day” I’m like, “Nah, I’m good.” And I, I would either just make like, so Mother’s Day--
Tristin: I usually make the card for the one that I birthed from—(touches Pa on the shoulder with his hand, then reaches over and touches Zena on the shoulder and hugs her and says) “I still love you just as much”—and Father’s Day (group laughter) (motioning to Zena, hand on her shoulder) and Father’s Day, I would do her—(Zena chuckles)
Pa: When you were younger, you would do that.
Tristin: Yeah. But now, I, um, just two--
Pa: Now, it’s just (motions to Zena) Saturday and (motions to self) Sunday. Yeah.
Tristin: Yeah, now it’s just Saturday and Sunday because since Mother’s Day is on the weekend--
Tristin: I made a (motions to Zena) blueberry crumble for her--
Pa: Oh yeah, he did!
Tristin: on Saturday.
Tristin: And, (motioning to Pa) I made a lemon meringue pie for her on Sunday.
Zena: (gives a “thumbs up”) Yes.
Zena: We have taught them well. (laughs)
Tristin: It’s not like I just threw--
Pa: And (patting Ely on the chest) he was on breakfast both days.
Tara: You did breakfast both days. (Ely smiles, nods.)
Tristin: Yeah, and it’s not like I just do (motions to Pa) her on Mother’s Day and (motions to Zena) her on Father’s Day, I do (gestures hands together) Mother’s Day—and then, we usually just don’t usually even do Father’s Day.
Pa: Sometimes, you guys would make stuff for your grandfather--
Tristin: Yeah, oh, grandfather, yeah.
Pa: or, one or two, or—but they, but they, there was never any questions to us about that to us, “Do you want us to do this differently?”--
Pa: That might have been a question.
Pa: I think that it’s more about the fact that they, that the boys didn’t have any worries about it. So, I think that the teachers, most of the teachers paid attention to that, Right?
Pa: Um, there’s definitely this one teacher who didn’t pay attention to us as a gay family and that’s the same teacher who before said, you know, “Well, you know, when I talk to mothers and fathers, I say…and—”
Pa: I think it was a real—the thing that kind of triggered the whole issue with that teacher who never really asked, he, he didn’t treat us as different in a like, very overt way, like, he didn’t treat us as—he didn’t treat us as a different family that he should have--
Pa: And he didn’t treat Tristin or the other kids in the class differently, as he should have--
Pa: so, when it was time to do a, the Venn Diagram where you have the two circles and the—so he said, “I want you to compare your mothers and fathers.” He said this to the class, and my favourite story (turns to Tristin) is you said you sat there in class and you went (puts her hand up slowly, tentatively)--
Tristin: But, I don’t have a father.
Pa: and, he put his hand up. Right? “I don’t have a father.” And, so my issue was—he came home and told me this story which is so great that he did that.
Pa: And my issue with that story is, not just that there’s two kids in that class with just moms--
Pa: it’s that there’s kids in that class without a present father.
Pa: There’s kids in that class without a present mother maybe--
Pa: and that’s the issue I have with that teacher.
Pa: So, (pauses, thinking)
Tara: Were you able to talk to the teacher about this?
Pa: Yes, I was, and then it was in that conversation that he said, “You know what, I say to all moms and dads or moms and fathers—“ I’m like (waves hand in front of face as if someone can’t see something)“Ok, there’s no, there is no changing this, this”, right?
Pa: So, for me that’s im—that’s, I just decided that was fine. (laughs)
Pa: Right? And just let that go. Hopefully, that’s not a big thing in the future, but ah, but we’re a strong enough family to just get past that.
Pa: So, I think that’s what I would want to be able to, to have teachers ask me is,
“What language really works for you as a family—?”
Pa: to describe your family?” Or, “How can I describe your family any differently…or the same?”, so that it’s normalized for everyone in the class.
Pa: Including Tristin, so that he doesn’t feel that he’s different.
Pa: Or Ely.
Tara: so you don’t have to raise it—exactly, exactly.
Tristin: So I don’t have to raise my hand.
Pa: That’s right. But you’re super-confident and you do.