My son and his (four!) fairy godparents

Updated Oct 12 2015
Guest post by Christina A. Boykin
By: Rama VCC BY 2.0

Throughout my pregnancy, my personal village came oozing out of the woodwork to gift us with hand-me-downs, rides (I had no car), midnight snack runs, laundry help and even cash. I have had a history of depression and often times felt as though I were so alone in the world and no one cared about me. Lo! and behold, here were all these people selflessly giving of themselves and their time for little ol' me and little ol' Escher. My cup of gratitude runneth over.

Among these fantastic villagers are two couples: one lesbian and one gay. They are both in long-term relationships, co-habitating and were super excited about Escher's birth. Both couples are Escher's godparents and both couples are more involved than Escher's own father.

I want Escher to have an education about life that came from more than just Mommy's mouth. I want him to go to a Seder, a Catholic Christmas Mass and a burning of the Yule log at Solstice. I want him to live a life as free of gender pigeon-holing as possible, learn tolerance and follow his bliss. You know — the usual. But I also want him to know that sometimes girls love girls and boys love boys and that the "love" part is what's important, not the genders on either side of the word.

I grew up knowing only a specific kind of love and feeling weird when I felt love that was different than that. I identify as bisexual and feel I'm getting the most out of life when I can give and receive love from both males and females.

I want this specific part of his life education for several reasons. We live in the South and although there are lovely people here, there is also an atmosphere of homophobia. I didn't want public school to teach him that bullying people who choose alternately is okay, or that he has to do it to avoid the bullying himself. I grew up "knowing" only a specific kind of love and feeling weird when I felt love that was different than that. I identify as bisexual and feel I'm getting the most out of life when I can give and receive love from both males and females.

In wanting this for him, I asked all of my friends to please include us in their spiritual/religious events as well as elements of their lives that differ from the "norm." I made it clear I don't want us to be recruited or baptized or proselytized but simply to let us absorb what it is about their lives that makes them feel most happy and complete.

I asked my friends B and C, the lesbian couple, and M and J, the gay couple, to be Escher's godparents. B is a militant feminist who works as a rape victim advocate. She is intimidating, loud and hard-fucking-core. She has never been mushy over babies until Escher. C has hairy armpits and a love of tiny vicious animals. Her maternal instinct was shocking to me because it had been hidden before now and she is so good at it.

M has a desk job he hates and a camera he loves and is just launching his photography career as a freelancer. He tries to pretend he is cool as a cucumber but J's enthusiasm makes M drop his cool-guy exterior in a minute flat. J is kind and Southern and would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. I have never in my 30 years of life EVER seen a man THIS excited about being near a baby.

J asked me a question right before Escher was born that I will never forget. He seemed a little hesitant, not quite sure how to phrase what he wanted to ask me.

I was never raised with a religion and honestly had no idea what a godparent did.

"When you asked us to be Escher's fairy godfathers, did you mean … um … like, actual GODparents?"

I was never raised with a religion and honestly had no idea what a godparent did. (I do now as I looked it up after J asked me this.) I only used the word godfather because it was the closest approximation to what role I wanted them to play in Escher's life: teaching him about love and tolerance. I told J my intention and he seemed to relax a little. (I think he was worried that I wanted them to take him to church!)

What began as my own desire for Escher's education turned into four people who were honored and utterly enthusiastic about being in his life. All four of them have gone waaaaay above and beyond what I asked them to do. I am tremendously grateful for their gifts to our little family and continue to be impressed by their dedication and devotion to a tiny baby who has a future of love to look forward to.

  1. Your village sounds incredible; you and your son are lucky to have people who love you and care about your well-being. ♥

    I love village stories. LOVE. The way that radically different people come together in family (blood be damned!) to celebrate life together just warms the cockles of my heart. *gleegasm*

  2. I just became a fairy godparent of a similar sort, and I am SO EXCITED about it. According to the parents, my role is to expose the kiddo to multiple faith traditions and to be a role model as someone with an active spiritual life – even though I practice (and work professionally in) a different faith than the one into which the kiddo is being baptized (they're Presbyterian, at least nominally, and I'm a Reform Jew.) So excited! I would love to hear more about how your fairy godparents see and do their work; I have an added challenge in living multiple states away from my goddaughter and would love to hear more about how to be that "village" from a distance.

    • Right now, because Escher is still so little, their "work" entails visiting us or us visiting them. They pass him back and forth between them and gurgle/babble with each other.

      I volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of NE FL (awesome nonprofit, btw if you have ten bucks to spare, they could use it!). When Escher gets a little older, I'd like to model the fairy godparents' relationships with him like the mentor/mentee relationship.

      I want him to trust them with things he can't tell me. I want him to know that if he needs information about life, then he can go to them because I trust them to honor my parenting/communication style. I want them to just have regular outings and field trips with him, or he goes over for dinner, or they come over for sleepovers in his forts, etc. I just want Escher to witness their lives.

  3. This is very similar to my god/dess parent situation… sorta.

    When my husband and I were picking god/dess parents, we were not together, so he picked a couple to represent the Christian godparents, and I picked a couple to represent the Pagan goddessparents.

    My daughter has a Boyfriend/Girlfriend straight couple as her godparents and a gay goddessfather and a lesbian goddessmother, who are not a couple.

    I love the diversity of her god/dess parents, and it really reflects all of our values and traditions.

    I have no idea if our future children will have 4 god/dess parents, but we'll see!

  4. I'm 34, and my fairy godmothers were a lesbian couple. I grew up exactly as you're hoping for your son – knowing that sometimes women marry men, and sometimes other women, and sometimes men marry other men, and the most important part is love.

    In fact, I had no idea that anyone else in the world thought there was something unusual about two women marrying each other until my 13th birthday, when I wanted to have a sleepover at my godmothers' house in San Francisco and some of my friends' parents wouldn't let them go. I was shocked!

    We haven't chosen godparents for our brand new baby girl yet, because there are so many amazing dear friends in our community we're having a hard time deciding who it would be. Teaching tolerance and diversity of lifestyles of all stripes is really important to us – and our girl is going to experience that no matter what!

    Wonderful post!

    • As far as choosing a specific person/persons to play that special role. While I have a wonderful godmother who taught me about life, took me camping, was at my birth, sang at my bat mitzvah, honored me with a pagan coming of age ceremony and so so many things in between and since. I was raised by a village and I will always say that I have numerous moms, uncles, cousins, and siblings. Only a few of which are blood related. So as far as choosing one person goes, pick someone or some people, that you love and cherish and would trust with your child, and someone that doesn't always agree with everything you do. Someone that will bring a different perspective that you respect.

  5. Damn, damn… you sound like a great mother, and an interesting person. I will tell you one thing: There are options other than public school. See: Unschooling. There are lots of unschoolers in the South, and it's craqzy fucking good.

    Lovingly,
    Roi

  6. The village is an amazing wonderful thing. I was so blessed to be raised with a wonderful village surrounding me with love and guiding me when I asked for guidance. Now that I'm a fairy godparent myself, I am overjoyed to pass along the knowledge, the love, and most of all the fun. I'm sure your village feels just as blessed as your son will inevitably feel when he grows up to have been raised with so many viewpoints, and most importantly so much LOVE!

  7. This was a really good article to find and read. We too have friends in our lives that we consider family–especially a lesbian couple that we are very close to. We knew we wanted them involved in our babe's life, and my husband suggested the idea of them as godparents. Neither of us grew up with godparents nor are we religious, thus we weren't too sure how to go about having godparents. We talked about it before asking, what it meant to us, and last weekend asked them to be his godparents. It truly felt like a special moment, they were honored and excited.

    It was good to read the comments too and gain a more perspective and put into words what we hope our son's relationship will be with his godparents. Thanks for writing this and sharing in the comment section–it's been very helpful.

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