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With the happy children in my adult life, I felt guilty, even mean, about being sad.
The origin of that sadness was opaque, but I think it came most from how the absence of children in the lives of gay people had been repeatedly held up as my tragedy.
John had wanted to marry; I hadn’t, particularly; and then the reality had entranced me.
I exacted a child as fair trade, believing John, too, would end up entranced. ” I said, “If we don’t have a child because you’ve vetoed the idea, it will infect the rest of our marriage.” The conversation stalled there, but John’s compassion ultimately carried the day.
When I came out, the prevailing view was that I was shortsightedly choosing sexual fantasies over producing a family.
I was encouraged by my parents and the world to marry a woman and procreate.
Marrying him was my way of acknowledging our love as more a presence than an absence, which was especially urgent as we moved forward with the Blaine plan.
What I couldn’t know then was whether I truly wanted children, or whether I just wanted to prove wrong everyone who had pitied me.
A few years before I met John, during a trip to Texas, I attended a dinner that included my college friend Blaine.
I had adored her for more than 20 years, but then, everyone adores Blaine; she is serenely beautiful and poised, and I had never felt indispensable to her as I do with more difficult friends.
Blaine had divorced and shortly thereafter lost her mother, and she alluded to her yearning to become a mother herself. The idea that she might actually want to have a baby with me was unimaginable; I suggested it with the rhetorical politesse with which I’d invited new acquaintances in remote countries to stop by for a drink if they ever found themselves in Greenwich Village.
When I got home, however, I wrote her a letter, saying that I thought she would be a glorious mother, and that if she didn’t have a child with me, I hoped she’d have one with someone.
Nevertheless, the women asked him to be a sperm donor again, and Lucy was born in 2004, by which time John was living with me in Manhattan.