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Challenge: What Makes a Family?

Where's the Mom?

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That’s the question we’ve heard over and over. As two dads raising two beautiful teen daughters, we’ve run into scores of well-intentioned women as we navigated our family through the mall/restaurant/playground/art museum/you-name-it who took one long look at us and asked “Where’s the mom?”


We’ve been both dad AND mom to our daughters since their birth, and it’s not always easy — but what parenting role is? Luckily, my husband and I have scores of women friends and relatives who have been there to help us with the dicier of moments (I could write a whole other post about our discussions regarding puberty, sex and bra sizes). It takes a village, and we’ve managed pretty well with our little community.

After recently celebrating International Family Equality Day, we are more than ever reminded that our family is different, and yet really not different.


That’s the motto for the world’s largest day of celebrating families like ours, and we think it’s very appropriate.

Our family was created from love, just like any other loving family of any shape or form. Triton and I knew we wanted kids, and were meant to be parents to our two beautiful girls. And they were meant for us, thanks in part to the love and selflessness of their birth mothers who knew we were the perfect parents to raise them. We cried happy tears at their births, when we brought them home from the hospital, and when we hugged and kissed and loved their little newborn cuteness. (And sometimes we still cry at the beautiful things they do and say, even as teens.)

As our girls grew older, they started to ask that same question: “Where’s the mom?” We always answered truthfully and honestly, telling Sophia and Ava the stories of meeting their pregnant birth moms, waiting in the hospital room for them to be born, welcoming them to the world and raising them with love. Still, at times that was not enough.

When our older daughter Sophia encountered kids at school who also wondered about her mom, she decided to take it up with the most important man she could think of: President Obama. During his campaign for re-election, he expressed his support for gay marriage and same-sex families like ours, and she decided to write him a letter of thanks.

Sophia’s letter went viral, touching hearts around the world and resonating with so many people who knew what we knew: what makes a family is love. When President Obama personally wrote her back in his own eloquent prose, he said these words: “What matters above all is the love we show one another.” He is so right.

Families come in all shapes and sizes. Some families have two dads. Some have two moms. Some have just one parent, or step parents, or foster parents. The one thing these families all have in common is love. #loveislove

We’ll be celebrating families like ours each International Family Equality Day — and every day — and we hope you will join us too!

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