When I met Matt, I wasn’t looking for a husband or father for my future children. I was 17. I was looking for a prom date.
He asked me to prom. He asked me to marry him. He asked me to start a family. I always said yes.
In between all of life’s milestones and years, we slowly made our life, wrote our story. We learned everything about each other. Then we learned some more. Just when we think there’s nothing left to learn, we prove ourselves wrong again.
I’ve learned that Matt was born to be a husband and father. It’s what he’s best at. And, he’s good at a lot of things. His love for Chase, C.J. and me has always been loyal, forgiving, unconditional and fierce. I’ve never met anyone who can love like Matt can.
When our youngest son started playing with dolls, wearing dresses and acting effeminate, I foolishly wondered if Matt’s love would be less for him that it was for us. Now, four years after our son picked up his first Barbie and refused to put her down, I’ve learned that C.J.’s gender nonconformity has made Matt an even better husband, father and person.
Last year at Orange County Pride, we each picked up some of those iconic Human Rights Campaign stickers — the yellow equal sign in the blue square. I used mine as a bookmark. Without saying a word and while no one was looking, Matt put his proudly on his truck’s bumper. When I saw it, my heart melted, my eyes watered and I took a picture to save on my phone forever.
“What did the guys at work say about your HRC sticker?” I asked him later. I imagined him driving his massive, lifted truck into the police department lot and possibly getting some stares or slurs. I worried that he took a stance when he didn’t really need to.
“Nobody said anything and I don’t care if they do,” he said, matter-of-factly.
We took Chase and C.J. to Disneyland on Easter Sunday. We only had 30 minutes to spare before our dinner reservations. We were trying to cut quickly across the park to ride the Matterhorn Bobsleds. We were stopped in our tracks by Mickey’s Soundsational Parade. We had to go right or go left. We had to hurry. Chase was impatient. Matt saw Ariel atop a float, headed down Main Street straight for us. He whisked C.J. up, onto his shoulders.
“You take Chase and ride The Matterhorn. I’m staying right here with C.J. so he can see the princesses. We’ll meet you at dinner,” he said.
“But…” I started to argue.
“No. Go,” Matt said, looking at the approaching princesses, not me.
Later he told me that C.J. screamed uncontrollably and clapped wildly as the princesses came into his view. He waved to the princesses and lost his words in the thrill of the moment. He was overcome with happiness, and so was Matt.
“You should have seen him. He was out of his mind when he saw them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him like that. And, I’m glad it was me who was with him. Just me and him,” Matt said over dinner when the kids weren’t paying attention.
Initially, I felt a tinge of jealousy because I hadn’t been there to witness C.J.’s unbridled reaction. The jealously faded quickly. I’m glad they shared that moment, forever in their minds. A father and son and the Disney Princesses.
The four of us like to watch Modern Family together. We sat down to watch Mitch and Cam’s wedding. As they were saying their “I Dos,” I remembered something irrelevant and unimportant that I wanted to tell Matt. As I turned my head to him, he turned his head to me and asked, “Why is this making me emotional?” We watched the rest of the episode in happy, sweet silence.
Matt has learned that love is love. Between a father and his effeminate son. Between same sex partners. Between people.
The HRC sticker on his bumper, his steadfastness in the presence of princesses, his emotions when watching two men marry, these are the little moments when I look at my husband — my hyper-masculine, jock, cop, tough-guy of a man — and think I could not have picked a better partner for life or father for my children.
Happy Father’s Day, Matt. I love you. xoxo, Lori
Reading this made me very emotional. I truly wish your book and story had been around when I was a kid. My wife is now pregnant with our first child, a boy, and if he turns out anything like his father then I will certainly be holding myself to the standard set in this post. Thank younger sharing it.
Hey, i really love reading your blog posts, so i nominated you for the Liebster Award 😀 Check it out (post scheduled for 10am UK time, 29th July 2014)
Why am I totally emotional reading this right now?!?! Ugh, your family is amazing, and what a sweet, sensitive, loving father/husband. You’re one lucky woman, and those lucky kids! All the best!
Reblogged this on Rise Like Air and commented:
Sometimes things work out so perfectly without you even knowing it’s about to happen. This is what real love is all about. No dictionary could define it more eloquently or beautifully.
The world would be such a better place if more kids, gay, straight or in-between had a dad like Matt.
I love your family, you are all such good people. Thank you so much for writing your blog (and the book, it is fabulous! I just finished reading it), it is wonderful of you to let us share in your family’s challenges and triumphs. Reading it makes me laugh and cry and smile and feel just so moved.
Keep on being fabulous all four of you.
Reblogged this on Happy Moments with Akmar Nordin and commented:
wow what a wonderful article. Love your honesty.
Count me among the criers! It was Matt’s description of CJ’s excitement that got me – that he was so happy he lost his words. What a moment for both of them.
My husband is like yours. He seeks to know what makes our kids tick and uses that knowledge to bring them happiness. We are so lucky.
Tears. Joy. So thankful for men like your husband, and the women like you who recognize their goodness.
Happy Father’s Day, Matt! 😀
My dad just died. 92. Drove a truck with a pink triangle from a PFLAG donation years ago. Loved and accepted his daughter, but couldn’t talk about it…adored his gay grandson……thank you Dad! I miss you! Matt, you are the best! Thanks to my husband who stepped up and played poker for a PFLAG fundtaiser. My gay son is a leader at his university and is going on to be a gay Episcopal priest to minister to the marginalized.
Wow! I love Matt and your family more with each post. You are a wonderful mother, Chase is the best big brother a boy like CJ could ask for, and what a dad! You have a true example of how every dad should be. Mothers are very important in their kids lives, no question. But I feel that a father if not accepting of a son like CJ could crush his spirit. We think of men like Matt as a father that expects boys to be just lie them. Matt has said clearly that his nightmare would be if CJ were to change to become like Chase. Where is my son? What has happened to him? This Disney story touched my heart. Happy Father’s Day Matt!!!
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So lovely. I always read about those families who are split up trying to decide what to do in regards to their child’s gender-nonconformity, how parents divorce, and even go to court for custody battles. It’s wonderful to hear a different story. Hope.
Will you be attending the Toronto World Pride?
What a beautiful post. We have two little boys ages 4 and 2, and another on the way in the next few weeks, Each day of my life with them I am reminded of how wonderfully limit-less the roles of sons and fathers and boys and men can be. This post made reminded of that once again. Thank you so much for sharing your family’s story.
That had to be a great time for both Matt and CJ. Awesome.
That was an amazing post and really powerful. What a great experience for CJ and Matt is an awesome dad. Definitely deserves Father of the year.
Beautiful. Teary eyed.
Oh this is sweeet awwwwwwwwwwwww
Happy Father’s Day to Matt. I’m glad that CJ and his brother have such an amazing Dad.
I am wiping the tears as they roll down my cheeks. I also got emotional watching the wedding on Modern Family…loved this post. You have an amazing hubby and he is an amazing dad. You two make a great team! Happy Father’s Day to Matt.
What a great dad and seems like a remarkable man! HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!! 🎉😃🎊
This was a great post Lori! Agape Love; no matter what, with no conditions.
It must be a “Matt” thing….my Matt is a wonderful husband and father as well. Congrats on being able to see all of the wonderful things about him!
so, so moving and beautiful. Touching. Thank you for sharing!
Matt is most definitely a keeper. And you and the kids are some of the luckiest people in the world to have him in your lives.
Happy Father’s Day to Matt and all the other dads, like my husband, who love their kids unconditionally!
This made me cry. I’m so happy for C.J. Matt sounds incredible!!!
Jeremy’s only seen his father once this year, for an hour.
What a fantastic love story about your husband’s love. Thank you for sharing, and Happy Father’s Day to all those wonderful fathers out there.
This made me cry too! I’ve been enjoying hearing about your family; thanks for sharing!
You guys are amazing! I hope your husband has the best fathers day ever, just like he deserves!
Bravo! What a man. You two are doing this life thing right. All the Best~ Julie
Damn Ninja’s and their onions….
This is beautiful, and adorable, and I have shivers.
Totally needed this today, to see such a good example of fatherhood. Thanks for sharing (sniffle, sniffle).
Wonderful Father’s Day post Lori. Happy FD, Mr.Duron. perhaps randomly picking each other may be the case. I prefer to look at it that you both wrre planned for each other for all the growth you’d provide for each other this time around, for all 4 of you-kinda like the quadfecta if there is a word of groth potential. Lucky bunch!
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*Sniffle* Damn allergies! Your fella has all the qualities I’d look for in a husband, and you’re a lucky woman! They’re a rare breed. No wonder I’m single. LOL. Happy Father’s Day, Matt!
Beautifully written! Happy Father’s Day to an amazing dad and husband! PS…Modern Family is one of my (well, the only!) favorite shows!
I just read the above entry…..tears in my eyes. Happy Father’s Day to an amazing Dad!
Lori, I’m loving the post, but you used the Disney URL for the Human Rights Campaign link.
Love to you and your family,