Tag Archives: lesbian parenting

Lessons from a Brush Fire: “What do you want us to grab, honey?”

“What do you want us to grab, honey?” my mom asks me on the phone.

I should know, right? I called my mom for help. I’m flying to Chicago as a big brush fire rages near my house and cats (kids are safe and sound elsewhere). Since my wife just went overseas, I need help. My mom is on the phone – ready to make a list of things to grab for us.

“It’s an interesting exercise,” she said later. She is right. Of course, I mean in no way to trivialize the loss suffered by neighbors in this fire or any tornado, hurricane, tsunami, mud slide (you name it). I think there is value, though, in considering this question. You don’t have much time. Maybe a suitcase or two. A trunk load. What do you fill your cases with?

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It happened once before. I was a kid. Our home was evacuated. But I don’t remember the stress on me. I remember how stressful it was for my folks and our friends. So, it’s really my first time. The same house we were evacuated from when I was a child burned down many years later in another brush fire. We didn’t live there, but I still feel a deep sadness whenever I see the empty lot where that house once stood. I hope the family living there had time to grab what was important to them.

This time it was my turn to answer the question. There’s a fire raging towards my house. I’m not there. Someone else has to help me. “What do you want us to grab, honey?”

• Laptops, phones, tablets (though replaceable these have become vaults of irreplaceable stuff for many of us)
• Photo albums (if not covered above)
• Keepsakes
• The kids’ special things (each have a memory box filled with stuff they want to preserve).
• Jewelry
• Documents
• My wife’s wedding dress, my tux, the toppers from our cake
• The photos that I’ve taken

Things you cannot replace – or that are very hard to replace.

Not much else, though. It makes me wonder if I should get rid of some of the other knick-knacks and things in our home. They are nice. Pretty. Some have good memories. But if they aren’t important enough to grab if the time comes, should they occupy a place in my home and heart? Are they just taking up space where other more important things/photos could go? Things/photos that I would grab?

Now, obviously this “should I clear out the clutter” question doesn’t apply to your couch, your TV, your dishes. We need these things. They make life easier. More enjoyable. Hard to move in an emergency, though, so I’ll categorize these things as replaceable and not donate them. Those cool little metal boxes that look like cameras though? The ones that just get dusty? I’m not so sure.

How about you? If you have to decide what to grab, what would you take? If you wouldn’t take something, should you clear it out – to make way for other things? Those things you would grab?

It’s Butch to think about what’s important to you in a crisis (people, pets, special keepsakes, family photos, passports). It’s even more Butch to remember this when things are calm. Be Butch.


The Joy of the Game: Reflecting on Watching Baseball Instead of Playing

I’m watching my son play baseball. That means on this particular afternoon, I am sitting alone along the backstop in my relatively comfortable camp chair. Today I am alone, though that’s not the norm. The grandparents didn’t make this game, and my wife is at home with my daughter. As thrilling as the game is for my son, and of course for me, it’s less than riveting for my daughter — especially on a school night. With homework. Indeed, I’m worried about my son being out till 7 on a school night. But, it is what it is, and we will see.

Anywho, as I’ve said before, I’m not necessarily the chattiest mom on the field and so I sit by myself. The other parents are lovely, to be sure, this is just my thing to deal with. As I sit by myself — riveted on my son when he’s in play (so to speak) — I can’t help but let my mind wander.

Head over to Huffington Post to read the rest, won’t you?

Thank you!


She Found Me

Butch is single. Isn’t she? I committed in a post late last year that Butch would stay single. It’s easier, I thought. After all, I need to keep some things for myself. Right? Plus, it is a lot of fun to flirt. No harm or anything. Just fun. Only it’s getting harder for Butch to be single. Butch has always been close to me. Not exactly me, but close. Butch is more confident than I am. More flirtatious. More fun, too. But, as Butch, I talk about things that really happen in my life. About thoughts that I really have. About my kids. My parents. My friends. Always. And yet, Butch is separate. I did that to protect myself. And my kids. My parents. My friends. And any woman I might be lucky enough to date.

But, I also put out a call to the Universe asking for what I want in my next partner. It was a pretty detailed list. I said I hoped I’d be lucky enough to find her someday. Well, I did. Or rather, She found me.

I haven’t wanted to share this, and so I’ve really not been sharing much at all. I haven’t posted anything in over a month. That ends now. So… I am not single. And, neither is Butch. I won’t tell you about her, though.

But, oh my gosh. I wish I could tell you about her! If I could, I would probably start out by telling you that she is beautiful. Gorgeous, really. She has style and dramatic flair. Everyone sees her. She turns heads when she walks anywhere. Men flirt with her. Butches would too, if I wasn’t standing there (trying to look even taller and bigger than I am). My friends all tell me how gorgeous she is – in that way that reminds me she’s out of my league. (I’m sure they don’t mean it that way, but my rampant insecurity, well, you know.)

She has curves. And freckles. Sigh on both counts. She is funny, and charming. Thoughtful and considerate. She is kind. Like so kind that I sometimes think she must be teasing me – but, she’s not. She is the nicest woman I have ever kissed. And, adorable. When she smiles and laughs it melts my heart. She is smart. Scary smart. Fiercely independent. Strong. Sassy. And sophisticated, well-traveled, open-minded, but not full of herself. Just a touch of uncertainty which makes her gorgeousness and brilliance tolerable.

I would also tell you that her friends call her a mermaid. She loves the water. She is crafty and likes to sew. She likes to go out and have fun. Wants to travel the world with me, and cuddle on the couch. She loves to play with my kids and that goes a long way. My kids adore her. And she them. I am pretty much over the moon.

Butch & Femme Hands

Butch & Femme Hands

So She found me. For the life of me, I don’t know why She did or what She sees in me. It’s definitely a Beauty and the beast thing we’ve got going. (She corrected me, “It’s not a Beauty and the Beast thing, it’s a Beauty and the Butch thing.”)

It’s too bad I can’t tell you about her. She really is amazing, but you’ll just have to trust me.

So, not only am I not single (and neither is Butch), I am in love. And so is Butch… With an amazing, sexy, gorgeous, brilliant, kind, funny, charming, adorable, independent, passionate Femme.

It’s Butch to be found by the world’s most amazing Femme and to recognize you’ve been found. I hope you are as lucky as me. Be Butch.


It’s Not That Complicated

Today, I texted my daughter to see if she knew what happened yesterday at the Supreme Court. Turns out, it’s just not that complicated. It went like this:

Me: Yesterday the US Supreme Court listened to lawyers argue about the right for gays to get married. Remember Prop 8, honey? The one we went and protested? It made it’s way up to our highest court. Both sides argued – our side for equal rights and for not just Mommy but all gays and lesbians in the US to be able to marry and the other side for hatred and keeping Mommy and only the gays and lesbians from getting married. It’s a big deal in history! We have to wait until June to hear what the 9 justices think.”

Her: O to bad we have to waight

Not a bad answer. It’s butch to teach your kids about equality, and it’s even more butch when they get it (typos aside). Be Butch.


On Being Butch … and Tristan

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Usually as a big ol’ butch, I don’t have to come out. Walk into a room, people know I’m a lesbo – unless they mistake me for a dude. Whatev. But recently, I had to decide whether to come out. Again. The first time I was 17.

I knew it would happen. It had to at least if I was doing it right. I’m talking about my blog. I’ve written ButchOnTap as Butch Jaxon since the start. What? You thought that was my real name? I did it this way for lots of reasons:

1. It gives me the cover of darkness. Fail miserably? No worries. Say something too risqué? Not a problem.

2. It protected my then-girlfriend. She’s very private and I always wanted (and still want) to honor that. If I was Butch Jaxon it would be easier to share a few things about our lives, and she could decide with whom she wanted to share the blog, and therefore a little of her, and keep it private from everyone else.

3. It allowed me to shield my kids and parents. I’ve decided to put myself out there. They have not. Imagine, “Mom! Like, I’m sooo embarrassed! OMG!”

4. What about work? I’m not a professional writer promoting a book or movie (yet… but I’m open to all inquiries). I’ve a day job and one where my private musings might be frowned upon.

But, I always knew that if it took off, if I did it right and with a touch of luck, I’d have to switch to my real name eventually.

Well, as luck would have it, this happened over a week ago. A reader of my blog was kind enough to send my post, Why I Hate the TSA over to her friend Noah Michelson, the editor at the Huffington Post Gay Voices. Thank you Dara at Fascinate Media for doing me this unbelievable solid! She’s a writer and a media guru. You can find her at dara@fascinatemedia.net. I’m looking for the first possible moment to buy Dara a drink.

Turns out, the HuffPost wanted to run my piece. I was OVER THE MOON when I heard. I could not believe it. The HuffPost has like 45,000 subscribers online. They are massive, and they loved the piece, but can’t run anonymous authors for policy reasons. “Do you have a good reason to be anonymous? Are you in any danger?” Noah asked politely. Well, I have 4 good reasons, but danger? I figure if Salman Rushdie can publish under his own name, then so can I. I still had worries about my kids, family, any femme I might date, and my job, so I got some input from my best bro, parents, and a lovely femme I’m … somewhat sweet on. Sssh, don’t tell her.

All agreed that I’d be crazy to pass up this opportunity. My parents are 100% fine with you all knowing who they are. My kids are tough and I’ll keep shielding them. And as for dating, I think I’ve decided not to. Or at least, Butch has decided to be a confirmed bachelor – if you get my, erm, her meaning. And, I need to protect that lovely femme… you know, in case she’s sweet on me, too.

So, it’s on. I told Noah and he was wonderful. The post went up five days ago and it’s been an absolute blur since. I’ve been in Tokyo for work. The schedule and time difference have made it almost impossible for me to keep up as I like to. Meaning, I usually reply to each tweet, comment and Facebook post (at least to acknowledge the commenter). I appreciate you all so much! But, as of now, the piece has 399 comments on HuffPo and y’all have been tweeting, sharing, and commenting in other ways like crazy. Sometimes life gets in the way of art.

I had to decide if I wanted to come out as Butch. Did I want to subject myself to scrutiny? Meh. Does it change the kinds of things I can post, tweet and comment on? Yes, perhaps. But I’ve been pretty aware of this since the start. So, I say bring it. I’m ready to come out … As Butch. Jaxon. I mean, everyone who knows me, knows I am butch, but not Butch Jaxon. That’s me in the photo up there, by the way. I mean, the blog photo is me too, but you can actually see me in today’s shot. Hi!

One thing I will say I wasn’t quite ready for (though I should’ve been) were the negative comments. With my blog, I’ve only had one critical comment which I dealt with happily and head on – indeed I got to choose to post it for you all to read. With twitter and FB, zero negativity. The audience is smaller and more organic, I guess. With HuffPost proudly featuring me on their main page, I got lots of new eyes and some didn’t like what they saw. That’s ok, though. Bound to happen. “Not everyone is going to like you,” I say to my kids.

As I ended the TSA post, it’s butch to be yourself – no matter the cost. Be Butch. And for me, that also means … Be Tristan.


How to Date with Kids

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Ah, the maternal looking femme. A model mother.

Dare I talk about this? I feel like a bit of a pariah in my community. I have … two kids. The death knell, I think, for dating. Sure, I know there are lots of lesbians with kids. But, these are mostly married or seriously committed partners who had kids together. That is no longer me – hasn’t been for a while.

It would be bad enough if I was a lovely, maternal looking femme. All soft and fluffy. Perhaps even driving a mini-van (shudder) or some sort of giant Tahoe and wearing a pink cashmere sweater. You know the kind of woman I am talking about? She is a perfect mother. Always has gum, never forgets water for the kid’s practices, can do a perfect French braid. Nurturing. You see her and it’s easy to see her as a mom.

But that’s not me. Nope. I am, in case you haven’t read anything else I have written, a big butch. A proud butch. I’ve got a Mohawk – check that little avatar over there. That’s me. People are ALWAYS surprised that I have kids. So, here I am, a big butch. I get it. I don’t really even talk that much here about having kids. There are several reasons for that. First, it’s not sexy. Second, it’s not always funny (sometimes, sure). And, third, I want to protect them. I am the writer opening myself up to scrutiny, not them.

Speaking of writers, a couple of months ago, my idol Butch Wonders *butch swoon* posted a great piece about dating a woman with kids. I’d like to talk about it from the other side. Here I am starting to date. Out and about. Ready to be suave and charming (don’t laugh, I’ll try hard and try hard not to look like I am trying hard!). And, I have all these questions about my kids and Her – that’s what I’ve nicknamed any woman I might approach or date. Pretty clever, I know.

1. When Do I Tell Her?

Oh, yes. Very, very smooth.

Oh, yes. Very suave and charming.

First and foremost, when is the right time to tell Her that I’ve got kids? Do I walk up, buy Her a drink, and as I am handing Her the Cosmo say, “I’ve got kids!” No. Clearly not. Turn off. What? Am I asking Her to marry me? But, how long do I wait? If She comes home with me, She will immediately see evidence of children. If not, it could be kept a bit. Not much more than a few days though, practically, because of my kid obligations. “Butch, let’s go to a movie this weekend.” Oh, I’m sorry, but… I, uh, can’t.” Why? Do I bust out the T-ball/martial arts/chorus practice reason?

I joke, and obviously I need to tell Her relatively quickly, but when? I don’t want Her to think that I am thinking so long-term that She has to be on board with kids now. What if we are just having a bit of fun?

2. When Do I Introduce Her?

My instinct here is pretty strongly that this doesn’t happen until I am very serious about Her. My kids have been through a divorce (from their mom) and the loss of my now-ex gorgeous fiancé. The kids love them both. I don’t think it’s fair to introduce a new Her every couple of months. Kids fall for people pretty quickly, and I don’t want Hers coming in and out of their lives too much.

The problem is that I can see this being a real sticking point with Her. “Don’t you love me?” Yes, I do (at some point, right?). “Well, why can’t I meet your kids?” I want to wait until the time is right. “When will that be?” Gosh, I just don’t know.

3. How Involved Is She Supposed To Be?

Assuming I haven’t scared every Her away, and we’ve moved on to being in love and introductions, what is Her role? My belief is that, although kids can never have too many adults in their lives who love them, they only need so many parents. As I said in Wanted: Femme for Butch, my kids don’t need another mother – they already have 3.

I want Her to be a good role model. I want Her to be kind. I want Her to be happy to see them and spend time with them. But, I don’t want Her so attached that She wants to take over my role. I will handle the care and feeding of my munchkins. She gets to be a happy bystander for the hard stuff, and hopefully, a willing participant in the good stuff.

4. Is It Alright If My Kids Know I am Sleeping With Her, or a Variety of Hers?

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Would that I dated often enough to actually have one of these…

Being a shy and proper butch, I am very concerned about my kids knowing that I am committing cardinal sins with Her (or a variety of Hers). Cough. Anyway, religion out of it, I don’t really want my kids thinking about this. We haven’t had the birds and the bees talk yet, so I think I am safe for a while. My point really is that if I date, I don’t want my kids to see a revolving door – regardless of how frequently that door actually revolves. Anyone have any WD-40?

Interestingly enough, my kids gave me the perfect opening to discuss this with them recently. Both of them are pressuring me to get a girlfriend – which if you think about it is adorable and kind of hilarious. Why, guys? “We just want you to have one.” Anyway, when they said this a week or so ago, I jumped at the chance to talk about dating. I said that I was ready to date, and indeed was out and about having fun. I told them that I was going to keep them from the details, that I might start seeing someone and not introduce Her. My daughter was shocked and said, “You are going to date behind our backs?”

I laughed and said, “No, I am going to date right in front of you. I’m just not going to introduce you to anyone for a while.” Why? I explained that I didn’t know when I might find the Her that would be in my life (and, thus, their lives) for a period of time, and I didn’t think it fair to introduce them to a bunch of women. Now, I realize that I might be making myself out to be a real ladies man here, and sadly, this is really not the case. But, hopefully, you get the point. The kids seemed to accept this, although they didn’t like it.

I wish I had a crystal ball the moment I meet Her. One where I could gaze at it and peer into the future. If I could see that She will be in my life a year later, two years later, of course I would introduce Her to the kids. But, how do I know?

One Her to Rule them All

One Her to Rule them All

As lucky as I would be to find the One True Her (the one to rule them all) right out of the gate, I think that is unrealistic. Of course, if the Universe sends me the Femme from my Want Ad, I suppose all bets are off. But still, when do I introduce Her to my kids? Help me out, friends.

It’s butch to protect your kids, isn’t it? Be Butch.


“MOM! The Tooth Fairy Didn’t Come!”

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It’s not fair that we have to work all this “magic” for our kids, without actually having any!

Oh geez. Just reading the title, you probably know what’s coming. Mom is an idiot. That’s me. Damnit! I made a mistake. Don’t worry too much, I’ll give away the punchline now and tell you that I fixed it – I think. But, I messed up. If you’ve been around a while, you will remember that playing the Tooth Fairy (TF) is not my best thing. Read my last harrowing experience with the TF here (http://butchontap.com/2012/10/29/tooth-fairy-butch-style-2/). So what happened this time?

Two nights ago, my daughter lost a tooth. Actually, she pulled it out and came running to show me. Being a proper butch only extends so far, and so when she shows me a gaping hole in her mouth that is bleeding rather profusely, I get a bit, erm, squeamish to say the least. Blood is not my best thing. “Wow, honey, that’s great,” I say walking out of the bathroom and away from the blood. “Make sure you put it under your pillow,” I add casually.

Well, she forgot to put it under her pillow, and I forgot to care. Yikes. Anyway, the next morning she was upset that the TF did not come. I was able to nimbly explain that the TF won’t come unless the tooth is in the proper TF place – under one’s pillow. She had, in fact, left her tooth on the bathroom sink. “Too bad, baby. Make sure you put it under your pillow tonight.” Right? Good job, Mom.

Flash forward to last night. She remembers to put the tooth under her pillow, complete with a note. She made sure to tape the tooth to the note – apparently wanting to ensure proper pillow placement. I removed a ten dollar bill from my wallet and left it in the kitchen – so I wouldn’t forget. Well, after getting the kids to bed, I was exhausted. As many parents can probably relate, I did the dishes, laundry, packed my gym bag, etc. and then finally sat down to do some work, along with urgent tweeting and facebooking (natch). Several hours later, I was wrecked and … headed to bed. Not a thought in my mind for the precious tooth taped to the note under my daughter’s pillow. Or for the ten dollar bill patiently waiting to find its way under that pillow.

This morning I was awakened by my daughter knocking on my door in tears. “Mom, the Tooth Fairy didn’t come,” she sobbed. OH MY GOD! I kick myself and curse my horrible parenting skills as I open the door to see her there – clearly still fully believing in the TF. “What the hell are you going to do?” the voice in my head is screaming. To my daughter, I say, “What do you mean, baby? She always comes.” “No, she didn’t come,” she cries. “Well, let’s see,” I say ushering her towards her room. “Did you put it under your pillow properly?” I have remembered the ten perched in the kitchen, just so. If I can just get that ten into the bathroom, maybe I can pull it off. I need to stall, thus the extra questions that I already know the answer to. “Yes! I even taped it to the note!” I walk into the kitchen sending her into her room – “One second, baby,” I say.

I grab the ten and slide it onto the bathroom counter where her tooth had been two nights earlier, and then rush into her room to find the note under her pillow. Now, how to make the transition? My son saves me. He innocently says, as he looks at the note, “You can’t tape it to the note. That’s why she didn’t take it!” Whew! Yes, this will work. I jump onto the 6-year old bandwagon, “Yes, baby, I bet that is it. She came, saw the taped tooth, and wouldn’t take it. A breach of TF protocol, clearly. Are you sure she didn’t come?” My daughter looks at me confused. So, I add, “Did you look everywhere? How about the bathroom?” My son sprints to the bathroom and yells, “THERE’S A DOLLAR!!” He returns to the room smiling and waving the TF evidence around – with is actually a ten (he’s just learning to deal with money).

Now, to drive it home, I usher them both to the couch. “Let’s talk this through,” I say. “What do you think happened?” We decide that the TF wanted them to know that she sees every tooth immediately, even when not properly placed, and so she left the money on the bathroom counter (where the tooth had been mistakenly placed). And, that you must not tape the tooth to a note. WHAT A RELIEF.

This TF business is exhausting. How many more teeth are my children going to lose?

It’s butch to protect your kids’ fantasies, even if it means being a fairy. Be Butch.


Can Accommodate 7

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There’s no way to butch up a minivan.

I’ve started thinking about a new car and so have been paying attention to things I would not normally pay attention to. The other day I saw an ad proudly announcing that the new mini-van from whomever “can accommodate 7!” Wow, they are super proud of that.

Now, first and foremost, I know plenty of people need big ass cars and SUVs. Of course. If you have a huge family, are a coach, whatever. Right? No problem. But, for me, and my family of 3, I do not need such a vehicle, and I am so pleased.

Best car ever.

Let me bring you back. About 9 years back. I was driving my favorite car I have ever had: a silver-gray BMW Z3 convertible. Damn that was a sexy car and so, so much fun to drive. Lots of heads turned when I drove around in that number. So, there I am with a dream of a sports car and my partner and I at the time were busy trying to have kids. I knew that I would have to get rid of that sexy little car at some point. No backseat, let alone a place for a car seat. But, I dreaded it.

To add insult to injury, we bought a minivan and I gave up my Z3. It wasnt my car, but still I had to trade in my little baby. Sigh. How trite, right? See, straight friends, we lesbians are JUST LIKE YOU! Same problems and hang ups.

I hated giving up that car.

Now, here I am ready for a new car and feeling a great deal of pressure to move away from the gas-guzzling combustion engine I have in my SUV and to right-size. I do not need to accommodate 7, but I still can’t have a sexy little Z. So, somewhere in the middle I will land. Being an active butch, I will no doubt end up with another SUV but hopefully a hybrid or at least one with high mpg. The polar bears are counting on me.

"It's butch to decrease your carbon footprint. Be butch."

“It’s butch to decrease your carbon footprint. Be butch.”

If the sales guy tells me that the one I am looking at can accommodate 7, I will turn on my heel and walk out.

It’s not butch to drive a mini-van. Be butch.

Update: The Mayans WERE Wrong!

Just a celebratory note that the Mayans were wrong! We are all still here! Hooray. If I’d really been scared, really been sure the world was ending, then I would have to think that I’ve been given a new life. A brand new chance to make what I want of my life. Wouldn’t I? Shouldn’t we all?

Even though I wasn’t scared, and didn’t think the world was ending (did you?), I choose to receive the gift of a second chance, a new world, a new life. That doesn’t mean I don’t love the life I already have. On the contrary. I’m on the right path. That’s what my post (just before this one) reminded me of.

So, what do I want my new life to be defined by – be it well-entrenched in me or lacking? In no particular order…

  • Fun. People, places, events, shows, concerts, musicals, parties, events, experiences.
  • Adventure. Scuba diving, kayaking, mountain biking, DJ’ing, traveling the world, trying new foods, beers, everything.
  • Kids. I adore mine. My life is kid-friendly and I want to create a world where they can blossom while they are preparing for the world that’s more challenging.
  • Honesty. Integrity. Two of the most important words to me. My life is and will be defined by honesty and integrity. I will treat all I encounter with these two words in mind. If you are in my life, you will do the same.
  • Kindness. I want to be kind and I want kindness in those around me.
  • Health. I want to make healthy choices to create a healthy mind and body. I want to ward off disease with this attitude of health and the choices that accompany that attitude.
  • Excitement. Peace. Both are essential ingredients in my life. I crave and enjoy excitement. After the excitement, though, I need and appreciate peace and calm.
  • Joy. Laughter. As much and as often as possible.
  • Simplicity. As much as I want awesome trips to Paris, Cairo, the Johnstone Strait, and Phuket, I want to sit at home and play board games with my friends and family. Perhaps, Butchopoly?
  • Fitness & Strength. I want to be able to lift and pull and press lots of weight. But not to be lots of weight.
  • Appreciation. Gratitude. Living life to the absolute fullest – which includes feeling sorrow and loss when they are present – and always knowing that every day could be the end of the world for me or someone I adore. There are just too many examples to ignore this fact.
  • And, of course…Love. I want to share my life with someone beautiful and loving. A femme. She’s soft and sexy. She looks at me in such a special way that – err sorry. There’s lots more to write here, but just look at Wanted: Femme for Butch
  • Last, but not least…Worth. I want to be a person who is worthy of all these wonderful people and things.
  • The Mayans were wrong. I’m still here. You are still here. They were busy (a long time ago) preparing for the end of the world. Now it’s my turn to prepare for the rest of my life. How about you?

    It’s butch to aspire to be worthy. Be Butch.

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    Butch Jaxon & Her Posse of Ruffians


    Remember how I told you that I get stared at a lot? I’ve written about this before (http://butchontap.com/2012/03/12/what-are-you-lookin-at/). I am tall, with a bleached blonde mohawk. I do not wear women’s clothing. I tower over many men that I encounter. I do not apologize for walking into a room. When my gorgeous fiancé is with me, I dote on her and it is obvious to anyone who sees us that we are together. It is the same thing when I am with her and my kids. We are obviously a family, and we sometimes get stared at by people whose families do not seem to resemble ours. Here is one specific and glaring example that took place in a very conservative and religious suburb of San Diego. Not too many moderate Republicans in the room, let alone Democrats. It went something like this…

    You could hear nothing but the sounds of our own footsteps. The saloon had fallen so quiet that we had to look around to see if we were alone, or if some mystical or alien force had suddenly transported an entire bar full of patrons elsewhere. Poof! From the sounds of it, we were alone. But we weren’t. In addition to the 8 of us (4 women and 4 children), the saloon was positively stuffed with people, those dusty from the trail and those fresh from their Sunday morning church visits. All of whom, it seemed were staring intently at us. So what had made them all drop silent and stare so rudely, so unabashedly, as we walked in? Were we intimidating and ferocious – as if they had just seen drawings of our faces on a “Wanted” poster? Butch Jaxon and her posse of ruffians? Was there about to be a showdown at the OK Corral, err, Hamburger Factory, right there in the middle of Podunk, California?

    Crazy as it sounds, this was the scene that we walked into late Sunday morning as we went out to breakfast. Dear friends of ours had come to visit for the weekend, bringing their two kids. We had a wonderful time, wrapped in that little extra familiarity and ease that comes from being with another family that looks like yours. In that space, it is so comfortable, so relaxing, that I forgot how differently we are viewed by people outside our family. I say “viewed” because I know that my family is like yours…and yours…and yours. Unless you happen to be the Obamas, the Hiltons, the Jolie-Pitts. Then, maybe not so much, but if any of those families are reading, right on! Oh, and we are not like the Sopranos or the Mansons. If any of you are reading, please stop.

    It is unfortunate that this rude gaping and gawking happened to our two families at all, but especially on this morning. We were all still high and buzzing from the joy of being together, of being part of, of belonging, when a room full of assholes tried to make us feel different. We filed into the room, past the idiots and heathens, to our table. A nice twist was the absolutely amazing service we received from both our server and the manager. Had they seen the tumbleweeds roll down the town streets as we sauntered down the middle of the dusty street? Had they noticed that the upright piano stopped banging out a tinny tune when we pushed open the swinging saloon doors? Had they heard the lone whistle that replaced it, the one from the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?

    Possibly. Or, maybe these two cool souls were just the Universe’s way of showing us kindness, of reminding us that we are alright, that not everyone is a rude asshole. Thank you, Universe.

    We had a great breakfast, anyway. Or, I should say, in spite of the townspeople willing it to be otherwise. As we walked out, I held my shoulders and head high, kissed my gorgeous fiancé and shepherded all those kids out to play in the park. I have to admit, though, that I did wish for twin gun belts, a black cowboy duster and hat, and shit-kicking boots with spurs so I could make that fantastic spur sound as I walked out. Can you imagine the look on people’s faces if I’d stopped by the door, held my hat in my hand, let out a yee-haw and shot a few rounds into the ceiling?

    “I am Butch Jaxon, wanted in 4 states and in Mexico. The next time me and my posse come ’round here, if y’all don’t greet us at the swinging doors and welcome us with arms wide open, and a short stack with bacon and a stiff shot of espresso, I’m a do a whole lotta shooting and me and my posse are gonna tear this place up.”

    I can only imagine. Having a posse of lesbian friends and kids Wild West style is butch.

    Be butch.


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