I never planned to put my kids on camera. I mean, my cameras, sure. I have about 10 bajillion hours of video of them doing completely mundane things like drooling or singing that new Taylor Swift song, which in my son’s interpretation, goes like this:
“We are never ever ever, never ever ever, never ever ever, never ever ever, never ever ever, NEVER EVER EVER, NEVER EVER EVER… WE ARE NEVER EVER EVER…”
That’s it, over and over. It never ends. Never ever ever.
You can see why I keep these things to myself.
On the other hand, I feel a kind of parental duty to educate people about my family, to make the world a better, more understanding place for my kids, and of course, other kids in nontraditional families.
So when my friend Robin Sindler, who’s smart and talented and amazing and just happens to be a producer for The Today Show, came to me and asked if she could shoot a segment on our family, I thought about it for a bit and then said yes.
Then Drew said no.
Then, Robin said she would fly Susie down for an interview, meaning we’d get to spend a few days with her and her daughter, Grace.
We talked about it a lot, and eventually Drew agreed that if we were ever going to do something like this, we’d want to do it with someone we trust, on a show we respect, so our lives don’t get Jerry Springer-ized or used as a jumping-off point for some loudmouthed debate.
The Susie visit was a bonus, and of course, no story about my family would be complete unless it adequately praised Susie for her gift to us.
A few days later, Robin arrived with a small (and terrific) crew, and Drew and I slogged through what was probably our worst day of parenting ever. We said things like, “Careful with Daddy’s mic pack!” “Stay on the swing and keep smiling!” And, “If you can just make it through one more bit of b-roll, we’ll have McDonald’s for lunch.” We made the kids sit in the basement watching Beauty & The Beast while we shot our interview. When Grace started crying, we asked Susie to take her for a walk so it wouldn’t ruin our audio.
We filmed at our swim class. Usually, Drew’s at work for swim class, and I’m forced to sit with the other parents in a galley area so I don’t distract the kids. For the camera crew, they let us sit at the edge of the pool, with our feet in the water. The kids got to swim up to us and show us their moves, while a camera pushed in on their dripping wet faces. They felt like movie stars.
It reminded me of all the reasons I never wanted our kids to be child actors. “This is just for one day,” I kept reminding Drew.
I knew it had made an impression a couple of weeks later when we were reading one of my kids’ books. (I think it was a Curious George book, but I can’t seem to find it now.) There was a picture of a camera crew, including a woman who was standing in the back, taking notes on a small pad. Sutton pointed at her and said, “That’s the producer!”
We had no idea how the piece would turn out or how many months would elapse before it would air. It turned out it was only about three weeks.
I was terrified to watch it. I didn’t want the kids to see it. Drew had it on in his office, and he promised to call me afterward with his assessment.
“Go turn it on now,” he demanded. “Sit and watch it with the kids. It’s beautiful.”
So we did. I backed up my Tivo and sat with the kids on the couch.
They were most excited to see their cousin Grace. “Oh, she’s so cute!” they squealed. I think they’re so used to seeing videos of themselves that they didn’t see this as anything special. When it was over, Sutton asked, “Now can we watch another show about us?”
I’ve heard from lots of people since this piece aired — friends who loved hearing the story for what was probably the millionth time, strangers who enjoyed hearing it for the first time. Now that we’ve seen it, we have no regrets.
Hopefully you’ll enjoy it, too. It may be the last time you see us on TV for a while.
Until I can figure out how to embed, you can click here to watch the segment.
Where can we see it?
Sorry, I’m working on embedding it. In the meantime, you can go here:
I found your story very moving. So much so it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing it!
Definitely a tear jerker. Thanks to Janice who gave us the heads up!
Such a beautiful piece:)
Link to the story
How can I see it?!
Sent from my iPhone
Congratulations on such a cute family and thank you for sharing your story!
How can we access the Today piece? I searched on their website and nothing came up.
Just curious if you ever watched the films I sent you?
Even though I’ve read your story on your blog, watching and hearing your tell the story, with comments from Drew and Susie brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations again on having such a wonderful loving family – which includes Susie and Grace. I enjoy your blog very much even though I unfortunately never had children.
Thanks so much. I feel really lucky to have this family and even luckier to get so much support.
I saw the video yesterday and it was wonderful! Your family is just such an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us.
Thank you for the comment!
So lovely to read this. I’m very happy for you and your beautiful family.
Aw, my pleasure!
I’m weeping. What a beautiful story! Can’t wait to share it with Piper.
What a moving story, thank you so much for sharing. Love your blog, it brings me tears and laughter, much needed for this parent of two!
Wow. That brought tears to my eyes. . .and I don’t cry. You two (three) are so brave! Brave for dreaming the unimaginable, brave for seeking the unimaginable, brave for turning the unimaginable into the real, and brave for talking about it and sharing so openly with the rest of us.
Now, prepare for your blog to go viral! Good luck!
Thanks! I almost want to use this as a blurb for my book – very sweet. 🙂
Well, you are welcome to use it, altered to suit your needs, if it helps. Anything to help an author get the book into the hands of readers. Good luck.
thanks so much for sharing. this is a beautiful piece 🙂
I am not too sure how I stumbled upon your blog, but I am forever grateful I did. I have spent the past hour reading posts. Thank you for sharing your life and your stories. I look forward to reading more!
Thanks — hope you like what you find here. 🙂
So cool…..soooo proud!
That was a really amazing little clip and a beautiful story! You and Drew are truly blessed to have two little miracles!
So touching and so true, life doesn’t always go the way we expect it to go. It is what it is and yours has had many blessings. I wish you many, many more.
awesome! So glad Susie could have a baby too 🙂
Beautiful piece. I actually watched it WITH my kids. And I really appreciated your post on how to talk to your kids about gay parents. I recently came upon your blog through another I read, and I have slowly been going through your archives. I’m a little in love with it. Thank you for sharing your family with us, and further proving that people are people, and love is love.
Great segment! Yay!
Looking forward to watching with my two young daughters. I also really appreciate your candid reservation about going on national TV. Many would be too caught up in the fanciness to consider the negatives. And that coming from someone who loves her some fanciness.
Well, both Drew and I work (or worked, in my case) in the TV industry, so that definitely gave us pause. We’ve seen how things get manipulated in the editing process and we really didn’t know how this would turn out. Thankfully, it was something we could be proud of.
The video was absolutely beautiful and I’m glad you and Drew decided to go ahead and do it. 🙂 It’ll help other families like yours, or even teenage boys who want to be dads but think they won’t be able to be.
This segment has left me in tears at my desk. I started following your blog since Pete and Ali shared it on Facebook a year or so ago and I have been enthralled by your hilariously genuine stories ever since. You, Drew and Suzie are an inspiration and your kids are truly lucky to be surrounded by so much love. I wish I had formally met you at Pete and Ali’s wedding but either way you have a loyal follower in me! xoxo
Thanks, Risa! Sorry we didn’t meet at the wedding, but I’m glad you introduced yourself here! 🙂
What a beautiful story. I know the decision to be fillmed was a hard one to make, but I just want you to know how touching your story was to m, thank you for sharing. I know what it feels like to want a family and to experience struggles getting there.. much love to both of your beautiful families…
Thanks so much for the comment, KSS.
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