This is our normal.
“The one that got away” is how I jokingly refer to my guest in this episode, as he and I briefly dated in high school. Coming out as gay at the age of 27, Mike Heath has had a journey that is at once compelling, courageous, ordinary, normal, American.
In this third installment of The Fortytellers, we hear Mike’s story pick up from where we left off after high school: The growing relationship with Chris, now his husband, and the nail-biting and emotional journey that started with their desire to have kids and led them through their decision to work with a surrogate and welcome into the world their beautiful twins, Sean and Maggie.
Mike tells his story with such clarity and honesty that it is easy to forget the groundbreaking history of two dads raising twins that were born in collaboration with a surrogate. While news outlets and social media elsewhere are noisily drilling on the political and cultural impacts of what it means to be a family, Mike’s refreshing story deals with the far more normal, more immediate – and far more important – realities of daily life.
Juggling parents’ work schedules, changing diapers, cleaning up spills, choosing a kid-friendly neighborhood for them to grow up in: This is the daily living of Mike and Chris’ new family and it is no different than the life, stresses, and joys of my own family or those of so many other families we all know.
The impacts of family life can take anyone’s breath away, and you may be transported through your own life as you hear Mike’s story about balancing his joys and stresses – perhaps not always gracefully but always with humanity and the vulnerability that comes to any parent who sees past the dirty diapers, rashes, and ear-piercing baby cries, and has a vision of the family life they dreamed of.
This is the true joy of parenthood, of kids, of making our own normal life. Mike and Chris’ story show how families are what you make them, how much you treasure them, and how so joyfully normal everything really is.
Show Notes & Links
A Letter to Two Dads by Shawn
The Kid by Dan Savage