Two Dads

Written by Michael Hill

Recently, my 3 and a half-year-old son Elijah and I were visiting the indoor playground at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo.  This is a regular haunt for us during inclement weather, as Elijah can enjoy all the fun that a playground has to offer regardless of any rain, snow or wind that may be transpiring outside.

After being at the playground by ourselves for about 15 minutes, a friendly little 8 year old boy named Josh decided to come in and play.  He was really interested in chatting with us and was just a pleasure to be around.  During the course of my conversation with Josh, he said, “I really, really think I’ve seen Elijah here before.”  I looked at Josh and said, “well, I suppose that’s possible….but I’m guessing probably not.  When we come to the Jewish Center to play, I’m usually the one that brings Elijah.”  Josh clearly wasn’t satisfied with this answer.  He paused for a few seconds of contemplation, and then said, “Does Elijah have one Dad or two?”  I did a bit of a double take, as I’m not accustomed to this type of question coming from an 8 year old.  However, despite my shock, I tried to provide him with a quick and succinct answer to his question.  “Elijah has two Dads,” I simply said.  “A-HA,” Josh responded, “That’s it!  I must have seen Elijah here before with his other Dad.”  That was the end of our conversation, as Josh seemed pleased with his detective work; the mystery had been solved…now it was time to get back to playing!

The thing that still sticks with me about this interaction with Josh is the tone of voice he used in asking me his question.  As I replay the way he pitched the question to me in my mind, I can’t recall sensing any underlying confusion or discomfort from him.  Instead, what I remember feeling is amazement at how matter-of-fact his question was asked and how seemingly natural and comfortable he felt in asking it.  I don’t know if this experience is indicative of how young people are coming to understand the incredible diversity that exists within American families or not, but I’m so thankful for my time with Josh and the interaction that we had.  While Elijah and his 5 month old brother Seth are still quite a ways a way from being in Elementary school, Josh has given me hope that both of my boys will find classmates just like him…classmates who simply and innocently ask if they have two Dads, get the honest answer of “yes,” nod their heads in recognition, and then continue playing.