leaving Chicago for greener pastures would ever factor into my realm of being. I guess I was wrong. And thus began a chain of events that would forever change the way I view and manage myself, my family, and all those around me. If what I had with my partner was to last and succeed, then the lines we had drawn as individuals would have to merge through squiggles and most often, plotted points along the way. Spaces amid that newly created line just prove that I have a very selective memory about an issue or two we didn’t clearly see eye to eye on.
You see, the funny thing about any working relationship is this little thing called “compromise,” which in all honesty, can get on my nerves. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of making concessions
in order to make things move forward, but in this fast paced world, it can be
very easy to get lost in the negative and only feel like you’re just putting
out. No pun intended! But, once again, I am wrong. As much as I hate to admit
it, I do receive as much, if not more, than I am at times providing. The
conundrum, however, is that I am not necessarily getting what I think I want or need. This is the beauty of relationships that challenge each other’s personal boundaries to a certain extent with respect as its foundation. So, maybe green acres was the place to be for “we."
With that said, to say Ka-Nowhere is the best place to raise
a family because the air is cleaner, the schools are better, crime is lower and Snow White runs through our backyard with her flora and fauna nipping at her heels is a bit melodramatic. In fact, it’s an outright lie because we all know Cinderella has the better magical voice. Truth be told, small town America,like Chicago, has its pro and cons and what works for me, or should I say “we,” may not be best suited for you. All I
can say, for now, is that after three years of living with an open-minded
community of accepting people, my rural living learning curve is starting to
plateau. I am happy to report that speeding tickets and driving points on my driver’s license are at an all time low and I no longer cry or throw fits when watering the lawn or shoveling the driveway. And sadly, my trips to Chicago and Milwaukee are becoming less and less frequent and my friendships at Strawberry Creek begin to blossom and bloom. It seems like I am no longer running away to the past but instead enjoying the stability created for the future.
I’m not going to lie, I do miss urban living; the lights, the noise, the smells, the diversity. This is ironic because it was all those familiarities that made me complacent in the first place. I suppose when you have too much of everything at your fingertips, venturing out eventually loses its appeal and becomes more of a hassle, so we stick with what we know and like best. Who knew I was stuckin a rut? Aside from adopting Cole and Parker, moving out of the city limits was the second best thing Mark and I have done during our journey together for
it has made me appreciate Chicago and every other city we visit even that much
There is that saying, you can take the boy out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the boy. That statement couldn’t be truer for me!! Yes, my life is different now, but it has been my past experiences that have shaped and molded the person I am today, a proud gay parent. And unless I get Alzheimer, I am not giving any of them up. Hopefully, as our family and friends continues to mature, the traditions we make and reshape, will have a positive influence on the boys, making them more accepting of differences that this world is so quick to judge and discard.
I am beginning to realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side. But when it is, understand that you can hop that fence and enjoy the lushness for it is there for you to enjoy. Mark and I will be hoping that fence this month, as we take the boys to
their first gay pride.
Seriously, what in the world have I gotten myself
into!?! I knew that raising children would not just be a walk in the
park. I mean, cotton candy, rainbows and ponies are great, but too much
sugar and it ruins your teeth, and you can’t have a rainbow without rain, and
if you don’t think ponies poop down the trails as they walk, well, you’re sadly
mistaken. But I knew this. I thought I was ready for this. And to
some degree I was, I am and I always will be. However, it’s one thing to
known what you are going to do and another to experience it. Before
adopting Cole and Parker with my partner, Mark, I knew the journey we would
embark on would have its highs and lows, physically and mentally. But
now, having invested almost 5 years of my life into raising, nurturing and
rearing these two amazing boys, life as a stay at home parent is starting to
take its toll on my mind and body and to be honest, as selfish as I can be, I
don’t mind it one bit.
The day Cole and Parker came into our lives in 2006, I knew
that a chapter in my life was closing as another one was opening. But
don’t think that just because I was now a parent, I wasn’t going to go back and
reread some chapters. Please, I am human, and in all seriousness, I had a
great life before the boys. With that said, I now find myself, in quite a
predicament as I seem to be nearing the end of a chapter I just started.
But, where did the time go? And, most important, who wrote the damn
chapter?!?! Somewhere between the diapers, the walking, the gibberish,
the talking and the talking back, I lost myself. For heaven’s sake, even
my art at one point was starting to look like a bad paint by numbers craft
project. However, amidst that struggle, I found myself becoming more
patient, a better listener and less of a rebel. Sure, there was kicking
and screaming along the way, but it was all in the name of personal
growth. I’d like to think that I still have an edge; it’s just a bit more
restrained and amenable. You want proof? Just look at my calves. It’s not
every day I use my kids’ self-portrait and their chicken scratch writing as
template for tattoos. I, Erik v2.0, was finally getting into a groove of
managing three lives without being an emotional roller coaster, often flying of
the handle and going stir crazy.
Cole and Parker will be 5 this month, and as much as it a
cause for celebration, I am devastated by the idea that their company, which
was once a hardship, will now be severely missed as they leave our nest and
start kindergarten in the fall. Do you think I will cry the day they get
on that school bus? You better believe it!! To an extent, I will no longer able
to control everything that they see, hear and say. My protection from this
judgmental world can only go so far and do so much. But alas, Cole and Parker must being this
metamorphosis and learn how to spread their wings
in order to learn how to fly. I just
hope that as a parent, I have at least taught them the basics learning tools to
help them succeed in their day to day adventures. Indirectly, I have learned so
much from them and because of that, I am forever grateful.
If you were to ask me what is the one thing you have
learned as a parent that you may have not predicted before Cole and Parker’s
arrival? Upon reflection, I can tell you this: like any investment, you take a
risk. Sometimes the risks pays off and sometimes they do not. In the end, you
just want to break even if possible. When making an investment, you also go
along for the ride, and when you’re loosing you get upset and when you’re
winning it can be euphoric. Raising children is similar to that I think.
When my boys are sick or sad, it is very depressing and knowing that I can’t
take that pain away from them, can cut like a knife. On the same note,
their unconditional love and regard for you is intoxicating and no words can
express the adoration I feel. I never expected that as a parent, my connection
to their lives would run so deep. Blood has nothing to do with it! And through
the pain and wonder of this experience, I would gladly take on this role again
if presented with the gift of parenthood.
Roh Roh Shaggy--
When Good Morning America asked
"We want to know what makes yours a truly Modern Family! Tell us what makes your family unique, unusual, unexpected or one-of-a-kind."
I rambled with the following!
Buenos Dias GMA!
If you were to ask the Sosa-Kibby family about defining a modern family, I am sorry to disappoint but it would NOT be about "traditional and blended, married and unmarried, gay and straight and countless other combinations, shapes and sizes." Such ideas are too cliché and antiquated, not to mention obvious. It is these exact labels that keep individuals, and thus families, from seeing the whole. Although helpful at times, labels do strip people of their individuality, at times erasing the core of their essence.
In our opinion, the success of the show is more about the love, commitment, honesty and forgiveness that ebbs and flows throughout the series. A modern family is one that transcends labels and is willing to accept the human condition at face value, while at the same time, working through their ideas and feelings, always mindful of the condition of others. To be current in this day and age is about making mistakes, acknowledging them and moving forward as a unit. Communication and trust are key to the success of a modern family. There is beauty in imperfection.
In all honesty, I could sit here and tell you that I am a whole lot of Cameron, with dash of Gloria and a sprinkle of Phil. But so can the rest of your viewing public. Everyone has a story they would love to share. The trick is to not be judgmental and condescending, as we all have something to learn from one another now matter big or small. The quicker we realize how vastly different we are as families, the quicker we will realize how similar we really are!
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