In the early 1990’s being gay was becoming more acceptable, but being gay with a child on the way was somewhat unheard of. Planning, energy, and time were of paramount importance and sharing these responsibilities with a small group of close friends was uplifting.
Having started a new job, the awkward conversations which ensued about having time off for my partner to give birth to our much wanted baby girl were hair-raising at best. My immediate (heterosexual) manager was extremely supportive. However the Head of the Service (also Gay and ‘semi out’) was less than supportive – disappointing to say the least. Parental leave, as it stood, was non-existent. For me anyway, I was reliant on Annual leave and fingers crossed that the big day came in a timely manner! (which it did).
Parenting was largely good. There was no manual on ‘how to do it the right way’, so we stumbled, laughed, faltered, and (I think) came up trumps over the next 18 years.
When Alex started school we researched the best schools to send her to, and moved to Gwaelod y Garth (a small village) 6 miles from the big city, where she started her education. The Headmaster assured us that he didn’t tolerate bullying (‘Ha!’ I thought, ‘such lip service!’). However, when she was 7, she did experience some throw away comments like – ‘How many Mums have you got?’, ‘you’re gay!’ Luckily her little band of 7 year old friends declared that – ‘Alex was in trouble, and needed our help!’. The Headmaster, along with the fearsome band of 7 year olds, swept into action and the problem was swiftly dealt with, never to occur again! This was heart-warming, and she still has these friends today.
We never really had any further problems (that we know of) and Alex has grown up to be a lovely, kind, intelligent, caring, well-balanced, beautiful 23 year old. So too does her 2 year old rowdy boy, appear to be following in her footsteps. Take heart all you struggling parents (and parents to be) out there!
AND: Now to my choir kids (you know who you are). Well what can I say? A beautiful, clever, thought-provoking bunch of girls, who often make me ask myself – was I that mature at 24? I think not! The love, friendship, kindness, cooking skills, and learning that I have gained from you kids is immense, and I thank you for this enriching experience, and my status. [NB. I think I’d like to be known as Mumma from now on. lol.]
In fact the whole of my choir bunch of pals, 20-50 somethings, have completely enriched my life…and I can only thank you all for this… Special thanks to Laura May, who said about my struggles with this piece – ‘Just write!’ Onwards and upwards to the Mighty band of SONGBIRDS!
– Songbirds Choir meets 7.30pm every Wednesday at United City Reformed Church, Windsor Place, Cardiff.