The alarm penetrates my dreams; through the fog I feel her roll out of bed and to the bathroom and I lay quietly for a while, listening to the sounds of running water, the hairbrush clattering against the sink. I am awake, but barely, when the children pile into our room: the boys, chattering like magpies about breakfast and nursery, Olympia, taking my hand and urging me upright – “need clothes! Need breakfast! Quick! Run!” – and little Emmy climbing aboard the mattress to collapse against my shoulder. Her kisses feel like pecks from a small bird.
Downstairs, we serve Weetabix in coloured Ikea bowls; they all have a favourite colour and we are neurotic about getting it right. Periodically throughout the meal, Olympia declares herself ‘the minner’, which incences the boys; they pause in their race to protest that no she isn’t, she hasn’t finished, until the heated voices become too much and one of us snaps that it doesn’t matter, she’s just a baby, let her think that she’s won. We try to eat our own porridge between wiping faces and hands, helping bowls into sinks. We are always, always mindful of the bus.
And I think that we are not dissimilar from any other family; we all love the same, that fierce parental love the driving force behind our every action. We all kiss them the same, hold them the same; find the balance between squeezing them so tightly that they merge against you with the awareness of their vulnerability, their smallness, the fragility of their precious little lives. We all fear the same; we all hold our breaths when we check on them at night.
Recently I was made aware that Meet the Wildes has made the finals in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards, in the ‘Inspire’ category. Whilst I myself am not in the least inspirational (in fact, I write this wearing a knee-length skirt and sporting but one shaven leg), I am mindful that we are the only LGBT family to have made it to the finals in these prestigious blogging awards. We are not the only same-sex family documenting the ordinary, imperfect perfect of our lives, the beauty of another modern love story. In fact, I can recommend My Two Mums, Les Be Mums, Fizzy Peaches and The Unlikely Dad as UK-based same-sex parenting blogs that I personally read. But none of these blogs are represented in the BiBs this year. There is only us.
To be clear, falling in love with a woman did not make me inspirational. Falling in love with Kirsty made me the luckiest human in the world.
When I started my parenting blog, I didn’t know anybody else ‘in real life’ with a family dynamic like ours. These days, the only same-sex families I know, I meet on the internet. Some of them, I have been fortunate enough to get to know offline as well, but geographical distance means that we meet rarely. My children are of an age where they are beginning to develop their mental schemas for what is ‘normal’ about themselves in the context of their world. They know that most families have a mummy and a daddy, and that they do not. They also know that they are loved fiercely, by their mothers and by their extended family. I hope that is enough.
I have always hoped that Meet the Wildes will stand out as a parenting blog; that families of a dynamic quite unlike mine will be able to relate nonetheless to our story. And it brings me enormous pride when readers reach out to tell me what my blog means to them; to the young girl who is contemplating ‘coming out’ but is unsure of what that may mean for her future, the two-mum family to be who are already head-over-heels for their new baby but curious and fearful as to how they will be accepted as parents. It’s not always easy to be different; there are days still, for me, where it takes courage to introduce myself as my children’s other mum, or to touch my partner’s hand as we walk down the street together. But it has always been worth it. And I can’t help but smile when I think of my family, and how tremendously fortunate I am to have met the love of my life and, with her, to have created a family.
If you find our story inspirational, please consider voting for Meet the Wildes, in the Inspire category of the Brilliance in Blogging awards. I would be so grateful and so proud to have your vote.