My Surprising Father’s Day Gift

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Unless you’re a straight white male or Bill Cosby, it’s been a pretty crummy year so far. Well, it’s not much, but for me, there’s been a small bright side, and it’s that card pictured above. It may not seem like a big deal to you, especially if you’re a straight white male. But that is the card I got my husband for Father’s Day this year, and it felt pretty awesome to do it.

Anyone who’s gay can relate to the challenge of finding greeting cards for special occasions. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or anniversaries, there just aren’t a lot of options for us, at least not in the usual venues. Sure, there have long been some great out-of-the-way stores and underpromoted websites geared for folks like us, and I highly recommend giving them your business. But not everyone can trek to the gay part of town for a greeting card or wait to have a gift shipped to them.

As someone who’s LGBTQ, that leaves you with a few options: buy a blank card, make your own card, find a card so generic that it’s not gender-specific or buy a card that says “To my husband” and cross out all the references to “wife” and/or cartoons of the girl squirrel holding the boy squirrel’s hand (or vice-versa). (Special props to my brother-in-law, who bought two identical wedding cards when Drew and I tied the knot. He snipped out the grooms and put them both on the same card, to make a homemade gay wedding card.)

As hard as gay relationship cards are to find, gay parent cards are even more of a challenge. So when I went to Rite Aid to get a Father’s Day card for my husband Drew, I was planning to do some creative thinking, as usual, to turn a card for someone else into a card for us.

Then I saw something I hadn’t expected to see – a label in the Father’s Day section that said “Two Dads.” There was only one card there, and it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to say. (I would’ve gone with “the two luckiest guys” instead of “two of the luckiest.”) But it felt so good to be acknowledged.

In a Rite Aid.

With a card from American Greetings.

This was unthinkable when we started dating 14 years ago… and when our kids were born 7 years ago… and even when we got married 3 years ago. But there it was, with all the other cards, just no big deal. When I took it up to the register and bought it, the cashier said, “Happy Father’s Day,” and almost before those words were out of her mouth, she yelled, “Next!” and waved me away.

Sure, this one greeting card doesn’t do anything to help Muslims, women, African-Americans, Jews or any of the other people who’ve been having a tough time since this new administration took over (and since long before that), and it barely does anything for LGBTQ people. But for me, it was a reminder that you can’t stop progress, even in an otherwise rotten time for progress. And even while we’re fighting for our rights, there are appropriate moments to stop and reflect on how far we’ve come.

It may have been noteworthy to my husband and me, but of course, our kids had no idea why this greeting card was different from any other one.

And that’s probably the best part of all.

Happy Father’s Day to all the gay dads out there — and to you straight ones, too!

* * * * *

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but that’s because I’ve been busy with my kids’ books! My series MY ROTTEN STEPBROTHER RUINED FAIRY TALES comes out August 1, 2017 from Capstone, and you can preorder them nowpreorder them now! Also, check out my new website for my middle grade and young adult writing, jerrymahoneybooks.com. [End of shameless plug.] 🙂

55 comments on “My Surprising Father’s Day Gift

  1. Your happiness is contagious and so is the love you share with your wonderful family.
    Happy Fathers Day Jerry and Drew!

  2. American Greetings needs to do more cards like this.I thought I was the only one who found it hard to find cards for a gay couple.When I’m trying to find a holiday card for my gay son and his partner especially for Christmas or other holidays why aren’t there cards that say to my son and son in law or daughter and daughter n law American Greetings this is a request for your company.

  3. This was a wonderful read. It is often not the glaringly conspicuous injustices that invade our news feeds (daily as it has seemed lately), but the cumulative impact of an interminable parade of (seemingly) lesser indignities, that constantly reinforce a state of perpetual exclusion for so many people who stand outside the narrow definition of what is normal, right, or acceptable. The good news, as exemplified by your post, is that this is changing. The bad news is the pace. We hope you had a lovely Father’s Day. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  4. That was touching…the truth is, the only constant in life is change. It’s inevitable. It only takes time. When there’s life, there’s hope. Next generation may not care much about, who’s doing what to whom- everyone minding their own business. Happy Father’s Day to you- author.

  5. I love it. I’ve seen cards for LGBTQs in do dad shops for hipsters and I have occasionally seen them in the more mundane places like Walgreens. But I can just bet that when you set out to find one, you’re on a mission to the end of the rainbow. But at least there’s that glimmer on the horizon. Happy Dad’s Day X 2 and late. (I’ve been on the road.)

  6. I love this post! People who are not considered the “norm” are severely under represented. My my friend is LGBTQ and she and her wife have three beautiful boys. They recently got married and finding appropriate cards is difficult at best. I believe our differences are what make us beautiful and would not want to live in the boring cookie cutter world some people are trying to make it be. You sound like you have a wonderful family and your love and joy for them is felt in your post. Some of my gay friends have the best relationships of any of my friends. Change is slow but we will one day prevail! Bless you and your family and Happy Father’s Day to you both!

  7. My husband and I received a nice Father’s Day card and gift card from our 21-year old adopted son from Russia who’s going to be a dad himself (and we will be grandfathers)! Thanks for this post, and for showing the card that brought a smile to my face.

  8. Wow, thanks for all the nice comments everyone. I always worry when a post gets picked up beyond this site that it’s going to bring in all the crazies and haters. (And sometimes it does.) But the fact that everyone has been so supportive and loving makes this even better. Happy Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and everything else to you!

  9. Hey jerry , it was my first time reading your post and I liked it the way you told about how some things need to be adjusted , it was nice reading this since I didn’t heard about gay parenting since in India it is uncommon.

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  11. I love when I find things that poke at the ‘establishment’. I have friends who are married and its good to know there is light at the end of the tunnel. So many people are cruel and reactionary, but every little step helps. Score one for the good guys!

    Also, I’m a school librarian do ill be looking for your books this fall. I love fairytales, even ruined ones.

  12. I was so pleasantly surprised to come across multiple options for the gay community when doing my own Father’s Day card shopping this year. It’s about time!! Found mine at the grocery store (Winco in PDX).

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  15. I’m a straight white male. I don’t have the experiences you brought up, but they are true. It must be very tough finding just, the right card. You have a great sense of humor, and I wish you and your partner all the best. Maybe you should start a card company that is more inclusive of our diverse society.

  16. Love this and hope my son is lucky enough to one day have this and many other Father’s Day card choices everywhere. It was so cute when he came out, my dad expressed his sadness at being unable to find an appropriate congratulatory card at our local Hallmark. Pretty cool for a then 79 year old guy. Love is love!

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