Gay Dads, Faith and Parenting
My husband and I have begun to seriously discuss faith or religion in regards to our son. I would simply be happy to know he had some, faith that is. I can't say that what form that faith takes weighs too heavily on me. I can however say that belonging and believing are two very important concepts to me, two words that are naturally entwined in me.
Is it possible to do one without having the other?
I don't believe so.
As a matter of fact, my own personal sense of belonging has always faded when believing became less plausible.
I actually surprised myself when I suggested our son be baptized.
I thought I had left those ideas tucked away with a much younger version of myself.
My husband supported me, and he actually wore the same gown I was christened in 40-plus years ago, our baby, not my husband. (wink)
Now, I can't entirely credit (or blame) my early religious training for that.
I'm just a nervous kind of fella that didn't want to take a chance.
Heck, at our wedding I wanted a priest, a chuppah and I wanted to jump a broom; I only got one.
Like taking all the good traditions, from every type of faith, and stirring it all up in a giant holy pot and serving it with a side of humor and a grain or two of salt.
So, obviously our family has been having some interesting discussions.
My husband, although only lightly raised in his families own watered-down version of the Protestant faith, has turned his eyes and heart toward Judaism.
He is planning on converting and after many, many months of classes and meetings and rabbis. is only days away from realizing that desire.
I love him and support him but will not be following suit.
Judaism is too smart for me.
Too much thinking and too much reading for this guy.
Although wearing a yarmulke brilliantly hides my bald spot.
I'm like a humming bird when it comes to religion.
Ever so lightly swooping down and taking my fill for as long as I need to, staying only as long as I believe and then moving on in search of where I belong.
So will our boy believe and belong to a group or tribe that makes his heart sing?
Will he identify with the god that my husband or I once did?
Will he be a faith-filled hybrid like the dad that writes this story?
Will he be a scholar, a reader, a carrier of traditions like the dad that sits across from me?
Or will he surprise us with his own revelations based on new experiences we have yet to meet?
All I can hope for at this moment in time, as I close my eyes in prayer or chant or meditation or whatever, is that he belongs to people that believe in him and love him and accept him.
My husband has asked that our little man be a part of his conversion, and I have agreed.
Our family will travel to a lovely temple in Richmond, Virginia, in the very near future. My sweet husband has found a way to include me by asking that I choose our son’s Hebrew name. I chose Zeb, it means “gift from God” and felt completely appropriate.
Now I can’t predict what the future holds, I don’t know what our grown son will hold dear nor can I be sure that any of the decisions that we make today are the best ones, but that’s parenting isn’t it?
You just have to have faith.
Henry Amador-Batten (pictured below) is a Durham-based writer and LGBT Advocate. He is the founder of DADsquared.org and a featured writer in the new Dads Behaving Dadly Book.