Thankfulness and Gratitude

November is synonymous with Thanksgiving here in the U.S. And while I think most “woke” people have decided that we don’t celebrate a false narrative of Pilgrims and Natives peacefully breaking bread, I do think it’s a great time to pause and reflect on what we are thankful and grateful for in our lives. For me, it’s the support and acceptance we have gotten from family, friends, and our community.

Often times, when we start new steps or go on different journeys in life, it’s not always predictable who in your life is going to be supportive of your decision. This can often be even more of an unknown for queer folks who may have experienced rejection in the past. Perhaps people are supportive of one aspect of your life (like dating someone of the same gender), but not others (like deciding to marry that person). So, when we decided to become parents, it wasn’t at all clear who would be supportive of us and our family.

When we were in the midst of deciding to have a baby, we didn’t involve anyone in that process. We also told very few people that we were even trying to get pregnant the entire year that it was happening. None of this was an attempt to push people way, but it was our decision to make and ours alone. So, when we announced we were pregnant, it was actually a surprise for many people, even our family. But, WOW, did our village come through!

Photo credit: Erich Chen Photography

I can not begin to express just how supportive people in our lives have been. From our announcement to present day, we have gotten nothing short of love and support from so many people. We are so grateful for each and every congratulatory message we got from everyone. I truly don’t think people understand what it means to a queer couple to have people be happy for them and to be celebrating their family, when so many have experienced the opposite. So, literally every single message surrounded us in so much warmth. We are truly privileged to have this support.

The sorority baby shower

I also want to acknowledge that while just sending well wishes was more than enough, SO many people sent us things and bought things for us. We technically had four baby showers y’all: my sorority sisters in Sigma Lambda Gamma gave us one with about 20 people; my job hosted one for us with about 10 people; B’s job hosted one with about 20 people; and my mom, brother, and close friend threw one for us with about 90 people invited. We did not have to buy diapers until our kid was 6 months old! We had packages coming from all over the country and as far away as Australia. I remember crying just based on the sheer amount of love we were getting from so very many people, and I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it. People either bought, or gave us gift cards that we added up to buy, literally all of our major baby purchases. For this, we are forever  thankful and try to remember this moment and the impact it had on us and try to do our best to provide it to others.

Just the family who showed up for the shower

This support didn’t just end when he was born: people are still here! When I had my seizure, our community came through again. My brother and his husband went right to B and stayed with her and the baby the entire time, my family came and sat with me at the hospital, friends sent food and gift cards for mobile ordering. We have had previous coworkers, family, friends, etc babysit L for FREE and will do it anytime we ask. Even as we have moved to Los Angeles, not only have we kept in contact with our community in San Diego, but we’ve also come to build a community here in Los Angeles who are just as supportive.

Us with our babyshower planners

Something I’m also very grateful for is the support for our family that we see from businesses and in the media. I know there is some backlash that companies are all of a sudden trying to jump on the rainbow train just to profit off of us, but I think there are more things to consider. Representation matters, even if that representation is embedded in a commercial for a product. Seeing same-sex parented families represented on television, in books, and in other forms of media not only lets queer young people know it’s an option for them, but also gives them an opportunity to see something outside of themselves represented in all spaces. It also lets the children of these families see other families like theirs.

But they’re not all created equal and I understand that. If we are actually going to be spending our money and supporting businesses, it’s so important that we understand what these companies are and who they’re actually bringing to the table. We’ve come across various companies, mostly small businesses, who are run by queer and/or ethnic minority folks from whom we have bought products that are meaningful to our family. For example, we’ve had the pleasure of working with PeaTree Clothing Co, LLC.

Langston in his PeaTree onesie

PeaTree is a Latinx family-owned and operated small business here in Southern California. Their three basic beliefs are:

  • Sustainability because climate change is real.
  • Gay rights because families are formed in all different ways.
  • Immigration because no human is illegal.

I am grateful for this company, among others, for their support of our family and others like ours. This company is sending the message, with onesies that say things like “Mommies’ Little Love,” that they value us. And by partnering with us and other LGBTQ families, PeaTree is making sure that their products are salient to us.

Langston in a PeaTree onsie that reads “Mommies’ Little Love”

All in all, I have said so many times to the people in our lives that “because of you we can.” By this I mean, that we can call on our network of family and friends when we need them. I mean that we can navigate in this scary, often unsupportive world with a buffer of love and support. I mean that we can spend our money on companies that actually care about who we are. And for all of this, I am grateful.