This is it, I’m here in Santa Barbara to drop my son off at UCSB and move him into his dorm. Feelings of fear and loss course through me. But there is sense of relief, too. After 25 years, I will start a new life, one that will no longer involve taking care of kids on a daily basis. A small voice says ‘you did this right’.
As I lay in bed half-awake at my friend Marco’s house, I hear the sound of the Coastal Starlight train in the distance. I think, should I roust Marco and go surfing before this crazy day starts? Maybe I’ll lay here and talk to God a while longer. Marco’s wife Jennie is rustling around in the kitchen, feeding the animals. I hear the cat meowing and the old chocolate lab barking hoarsely. The train whistle fades.
I can’t escape the pain tugging at my heart. I breathe into it. My precious boy won’t be returning home with me. He will stay here, in Isla Vista, living near the shocking party scene that I witnessed when I dropped him off to meet his friends last night. It was overwhelming, with thousands of intoxicated students filling the streets. A dozen big house parties with booming music within in a four block radius. Kids packed closely together on flimsy 1950’s style balconies that I imagine might come tumbling down onto the street at any moment from the excess weight. It is a small comfort to see police marching around looking menacing with bald heads wearing fatigues and carrying batons.
I will no longer be a part of his daily comings and goings—he is on his own now. Yikes. And even though I was an unlikely candidate for motherhood, I have no regrets. Being a mom has made me a better, less selfish person. Coaching Little League, dragging kids along on camping, snow and surf trips, packing school lunches—I enjoyed all of it. Now I’m having a hard time accepting that the childhood phase of parenting seems to have abruptly ended.
When I came out as a lesbian in 1979, having a child was unthinkable. And yet, I found out years later, that when you love a woman, and she wants another kid with all her heart, you do things – even if it seems ridiculous and terrifying.
I remember when I was nine or ten, flexing my tiny arm muscles in front of the mirror, imagining I was a boy—trying to look tough in my sandy-blond pixie haircut. I struggled to understand what being a girl meant. Did it mean I had to marry a man and have a baby? No way, not me, not ever! As a young tomboy, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have to wear a shirt on a hot day while racing the around the neighborhood on my banana-seat Stingray bike. I pretended I was a boy, until it became obvious that I was, in fact, a girl.
Years later, when our first son was 6 years old and my partner had secondary infertility issues, my number came up. I soon found out that bearing this child would be the bravest, most empowering and significant thing I would ever do. I fell deeply in love with that baby—it is the biggest love I’ve ever known.
Unlike his older brother Max, Sam came out kicking and screaming. I cried every day for the first few years. He was seemingly inconsolable, suffered night terrors and threw up in the car more than once. But we poured in love, and he turned into an amazing human being. As a young adult, he is self-motivated, a leader, a loyal friend—a boy with great ethics and an open heart. I’m so proud to have brought this person into the world. And although I am sad to see him go away to college, I think of the alternative and I am grateful. It feels awful, but it’s just the natural order of things.
He will soon find his way and so will I. The sad feelings will fade in time, like they did when Max first left. Now I’ll have two grown sons—two strong, smart, kindhearted grown-ass young men who understand the world from the perspective of growing up with two moms. And for that I’m infinitely blessed—the world is a better place because they exist.
Robin Lowey founded Epochalips in 2010. It was the one thing she couldn’t NOT do. She is Creative Director at Robin Lowey Branding + Design. Surfer, snowboarder, hiker and Mother of two beautiful grown boys.
Read more from Robin about Lesbian Pregnancy and Lesbian Parenting on Epochalips