As A Single Dad, Mother’s Day Brings Lots Of Questions. My Son Had The Perfect Answer.


The author with his son. (Photo: Courtesy of Gerald Olson)

The author with his son. (Photograph: Courtesy of Gerald Olson)

The creator with his son. (Photo: Courtesy of Gerald Olson)

Expensive Parents: Teachers will be functioning on Mother’s Day pursuits this week and subsequent — they will not be posting updates or photographs for the reason that we do not want to wreck the surprise!!!!

This electronic mail from my son’s preschool popped up in my feed a few months ago. It is innocent enough. The shock is in all probability a handmade card and crafty reward ― maybe a paper birdhouse or popsicle photo frame with “momma” scrawled on it in brightly colored paint.

But it caught me off guard and lifted a few inquiries: How are they conversing about mothers in the classroom? What about the youngsters with nontraditional mother stories? And most importantly, What will they say if my son asks why he doesn’t have a mom?

I am a solo father of a 3 1/2-12 months-aged, and as regime as it is to make sweet presents for Mom, in today’s planet ― and in our little environment ― it involves a little extra thoughtfulness.

When it arrives to a person else defining our family members, I really don’t want any surprises.

My son goes to a Catholic preschool in the coronary heart of Boys City in West Hollywood. However it is component of the big, poor Church, it is an open-minded group. (The school director is youthful, hip and impressively all tatted up.)

I really don’t thoughts a small Jesus speak ― and my son is far more than a little obsessed with the Mother of God (he calls her “Princess Mary”). But just after the e mail arrived in, I termed the director. I wished to remind her that I’m queer and my son doesn’t have a mom.

Her expecting pause instructed me the faculty hadn’t regarded as this and experienced no clue how to navigate these waters. “We will completely just take your guide on this,” she explained, making an attempt to reassure me.

Then it hit me: I had no plan what my lead was going to be?

So, I embarked on a minimal kitchen-sink investigate. We have a rather unconventional social circle that incorporates a throuple with an adopted daughter, a mom increasing a few young ones with out a dad, and two gay dads with a toddler they welcomed by way of surrogacy.

One particular mate advised me their university hosted a “mothers only” celebration that they hadn’t been invited to. This reminded me of the book “Stella Delivers the Spouse and children,” which is about a minimal lady with two dads. Spoiler alert: Equally daddies end up crashing the Mother’s Day get together at her school.

It is a adorable tale, but it didn’t really remedy my concern.

I seriously like the way my mate and his two male associates discuss about it to their 7-12 months-aged daughter: “Families occur in loads of different means ― some have one dad, some have two mothers, some have two dads and some have a mother and a dad. Mother’s Working day celebrates all the mothers, Father’s Day celebrates all the dads. It is imperfect because it has genders (and not every person has a gender) but it’s the way it is.”

Then I received the best suggestions: “Follow his lead. He’s nonetheless younger, so I’d enable him ask queries in its place of seeking to introduce the thought of mommyness.”

I was reminded that no make a difference how considerably mothering I have finished or will do ― society will hardly ever see me as his “mother.”


noun: female parent

verb: to give beginning to

verb: to give increase to

Certain adequate, according to Merriam-Webster, I am not and will hardly ever be his mother. And even with all the motherly women in our lifestyle, he does not have a noun: female guardian.

In our property, I try out to focus on what we have as a substitute of dwelling on what we really do not. It is not just a parenting selection, it is actually a non secular theory. When I reside in gratitude, I really feel considerable when I reside in absence, I sense misplaced.

We are considerable.

The author and his son. (Photo: Courtesy of Gerald Olson)

The creator and his son. (Image: Courtesy of Gerald Olson)

The writer and his son. (Photograph: Courtesy of Gerald Olson)

1 of his (and my) most loved images is from his adoption day. I am keeping him, and we are surrounded by a cadre of wonderful women who showed up to witness us ― to mom over us.

The other night at bedtime, I determined to check with him about the entire Mother’s Working day thing. I asked if he was discovering about it at school. He nodded. When I asked him how he felt about it, his facial area lit up. He grinned as if he had the world’s most effective mystery and could barely have it. He waved his fingers as if conducting an orchestra. “I am creating a little something distinctive for a person specific. It’s a shock,” he advised me.

Who are you building it for?” I asked.

He looked at me as if I experienced just asked the stupidest query.


“Am I your mom?”I asked him.

He burst out in laughter. This was the silliest issue he had ever read.

“Noooo! You’re not my mommy, you’re my daddy.”

He then started in on a litany of his favorite folks.

“I have a Poppa and a Nana and a Papi, and a Dee (his nanny) and a Mason (our dog and his most effective friend) and Rio and…”

This was his lead. This is the place he is in the mom discussion proper now. I reminded him that he can ask me something. “All concerns are superior concerns,” I advised him. “I could not have the respond to suitable absent, but you just can’t obtain the reply till you have learned the dilemma.”

Later that evening, he set my deal with in his palms and whispered in my ear, “It’s a butterfly. I’m generating you a butterfly. Shhhh.”

As he drifted off, he opened his eyes and stated, “ROCK ME, POPPA.”

No make any difference how exhausted I am, this is a ask for I never ever refuse. He informed Alexa to play “Rock A Bye Toddler,”and I rocked him to rest. As he slept in my arms, I imagined about labels and how the globe attempts to determine us. But in rare, holy moments like this, there is no label, and none would at any time suffice.

I frequently feel about the female who brought him into the world ― verb: to give beginning to. Mother’s Working day will usually be a time that connects us.

He was only 30 hours previous when I introduced him residence his umbilical twine even now intact. He also had a little band wrapped about his ankle with a number on it, matching the band she had on her wrist when she sent him.

In those important early days, when I held him, fed him, rocked him, received to know him, I also held a space for her. I however do. She gave us the greatest reward ― just about every other.

Above the last 3 and a 50 percent several years, he has taught me that becoming a mother or father defies labels. It is so substantially a lot more expansive than words and phrases “mother” or “father.” It is not a job we move into ― it is a relationship we create. And at the close of the working day, the definition of mom that resonates the most with me is verb: to give rise to.

As for his preschool, when the director said she would consider my lead on it, she actually just preferred to know one issue ― who gets the cards and items that he makes. When it will come to handmade crafts, I want to be clear:

I get the damn butterfly, no matter what you want to contact me.

Gerald Olson is a author primarily based in Los Angeles. He will work in movie and tv and is now crafting a book about his journey as a solo mother or father. He is the founder of POPPA SOLO ( and can be reached at [email protected] His particular web site is

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