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Love Is What Makes A Family, Not A Mom Or A Dad

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LOVING FAMILY
Inti St Clair via Getty Images
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Earlier this year, politicians in Europe were using our birth photo without consent as a means to support their campaigns against surrogacy and the LGBTQ+ community. When you look at the photo, there is so much love and emotion on our faces that we wondered: How could they turn this beautiful moment into something for bigotry and hate? To be honest, we still don't understand!

Oh wait, they're politicians. OK, now we get it.

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The poster translates: " He will never say Mama, Who will defend the rights of the child."

This whole situation started because we are two dads. Allegedly, we are denying our son the right to a mother. Does Milo have a mom? No he doesn't.

Does he have two loving parents that will do anything in their power to make sure he is loved, safe, happy, healthy, accepting, tolerant, kind (OK, this list can go on, but I'll stop there)? Will he grow up being less of a person because he doesn't have a mother? No he won't.

In the shower this morning I was singing the Willie Nelson/Julio Iglesias song "To All The Girls I've Loved Before" and no, you don't want to hear my singing voice. While singing the song, these lyrics particularly stuck with me:

To all the girls I've loved before
Who travelled in and out my door
I'm glad they came along
I dedicate this song
To all the girls I've loved before

I started to think about a message I received from another gay dad saying, "Some gay dads always wonder what it would be like to have a 'mom' in their family." I was quick to reply that we do not wonder what It would be like because well first off, we are gay dads, and secondly, Milo has so many amazing women in his life who "travelled in and out my door."

Milo is lucky to have my mom, who we call Bubbie and BJ's mom who we call Grandma, Milo's Great Grandma, four wonderful Aunties and one very special Godmother in his life.

BJ and I are so blessed to have Bubbie and my dad (Zayda) live fifteen minutes away from our home. (Ok I know I said this post is for the amazing women in Milo's life, but Zayda is the most energetic, playful, patient and loving grandfather you will ever meet and he deserves the shout out!)

While they are here in Toronto, they take Milo every Friday night for sleepovers. This gives us a well needed night off every week and Milo cannot control his excitement when they come pick him up!

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Like any parent, no one likes receiving parenting advice from anyone, let alone their own mother. But as stubborn as I am, I have to admit, Mom you are right. (Ok maybe not all the time, let's settle on most of the time) When Milo was only 4 months old, my mother took myself and Milo to Florida with her for a little vacation.

On our first night there, Milo was hysterical from all the travel and being overtired. I had never heard him cry so hard and I was a bit stressed by it and was having trouble soothing him. My mother didn't think twice and walked over the crib and rubbed Milo's back until he fell asleep.

I was in awe of her magical powers with Milo. He really responded well to her and the love he surely felt in her hand as she rubbed his back. Whenever Milo has a bad night, it is always me that is able to soothe him. I go into his room and sit next to his bed and rub his back like his Bubbie did that night in Florida. It works every time! Thank you Bubbie for all you have taught us and all the love you give our son.

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Milo's grandma (BJ's mom) doesn't live in Toronto, but she has been there every step of the way since day one. Unfortunately she doesn't get the quantity of time that Bubbie gets, but she definitely makes up for that with phone calls, facetime video chats and care packages. She is always a phone call away, (or a short hour and a half drive a way) to answer our parenting questions that we may have.

Whenever we go to Niagara Falls to visit, grandma is always the first to shower him with hugs and kisses! She loves him so much and spoils him rotten! (Isn't that what grandmas are supposed to do?!) Grandmas are special people who hold a special place in our hearts and Milo has a special place in his heart for his grandma.

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We are all very lucky that BJ's Grandma, Milo's Great Grandma Helga (who he is named after) is with us. She lives in Buffalo and every chance we get to visit her we do. She loves Milo so much and every time we visit she is smiles from ear to ear. Although my Grandma Mary (who Milo was also named after) didn't have the opportunity to meet him, we know she would have loved him as much as she loved us.

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Like I mentioned above, Milo is lucky enough to have four Aunties. Auntie Randi, Auntie Carly, Zia Deanna and Zia Nadia. All of Milo's Aunties are also mothers and they have been invaluable resources to us, first through our surrogacy journey, then pregnancy and then parenthood.

Aunts (and Uncles of course) hold a special place in the life of a child, and possibly even more when you think about a child with two fathers. They provide a female role model, wonderful advice and can provide a safe place for our child when they need one. Most of all they shower Milo with love, like only an aunt can!

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Last but definitely not least, Milo is lucky enough to have a Godmother named Debbie. A godmother is defined as "an individual chosen by the parents to take an interest in the child's upbringing and personal development, and to take care of the child should anything happen to the parents."

I know whether we had chosen Debbie for this honor or not, she would have been there for Milo and that is why I knew she would be the perfect person. Debbie has been my best friend since I met her at camp when I was 10 years old and we have been inseparable ever since.

Since she met Milo that first night we brought him home, they have been inseparable as well! Just like she has been there for me over the last 35 years she has been there for Milo. Debbie is very busy lady! She has two kids of her own and is also a principal but that doesn't stop her from always being there for us and our family. I'm not sure who posts more pictures of Milo, Debbie or me?

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So as you can see Milo has a fair share of women in his life and we wouldn't have it any other way. You are all such wonderful women, wives, sisters, aunts, grandmas, bubbies and mothers. We have learned so much from you all. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Queue music:

To all the girls who love Milo before
Who travel in and out of our door
To us you are the most,
We dedicate this post
To all the girls who love Milo before.

Families are not defined by having a mother or a father. All families are created differently. and that's what makes each family special and unique. Love is what makes a family! FAMILY IS ABOUT LOVE!

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Originally posted on Family Is About Love

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