Fuller House Thinks My Family is Awesome

fullerhouse3SPOILER ALERT: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if you’re concerned about spoilers for Season 3 of Fuller House, then you should hold off on reading this column until after you’ve watched it. Also, Soylent Green is made out of people! It’s people!

Back in 2012, I wrote a post called Modern Family Thinks My Family is Creepy, about a particularly disappointing episode of a show I love. In the episode, Claire, played by Julie Bowen, suggests that she could donate an egg for her brother, have it fertilized by his husband and have the embryo carried by a surrogate. Then, they all decide that this would make her “Aunt Mommy,” which they all find “creepy”. It stung because that’s exactly how my husband and I created our family. My sperm, his sister’s egg and a surrogate. Now we have twins, a boy and a girl who are 8 years old. Everybody’s happy, nobody’s “Aunt Mommy,” and none of us have anything but overwhelming gratitude for the way it all worked out.

“Modern Family” remains a wonderful show that’s progressive, honest and funny about, well, modern families, so I don’t hold a grudge. (In 2016, Jesse Tyler Ferguson even read my Modern Love essay, about how my family was created, for the Modern Love Podcast. Wuzzup, JTF?)

Now, I’m happy to report that another popular sitcom has tackled the issue of sisterly surrogacy (it’s been on two sitcoms, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s now officially a thing) in a much more open-minded way. And it’s that cutting-edge, ahead-of-its-time show known as Fuller House.

I know, right?

Well, kudos, Fuller House, for being bolder than most sitcoms would ever be, by taking on a complicated and potentially controversial topic in a straight-forward, family-positive way and getting it wonderfully right.

susieandkids

My sister-in-law/hero Susie, posing with her daughter and the four nieces and nephews who wouldn’t be here without her help

In the show, Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), learns that she’s unable to carry a baby of her own, but that she does have a few viable eggs left. That leads her to consider surrogacy, which is when her sister D.J. (Candace Cameron), tells her there’s nothing she’d love more than to carry a baby for her and make her sister a mom. (And I should point out that after my amazing sister-in-law Susie provided eggs for my kids, she went on to become a surrogate — but not egg donor — for her other brother and his husband, twice. Yes, she’s really that awesome.)

 

Unfortunately, for medical and personal reasons, D.J. isn’t a good candidate to be a surrogate, but the fact that she wanted so badly to do it, and that the show treated this as nothing but the beautiful, loving gesture that it is, was so welcome and refreshing.

I’ve been watching Fuller House with my kids since it started. (Say what you will. It’s funny, it has a perfect sense of nostalgia, and it’s one of the few programs I can watch with my kids that we can all enjoy.) So it was a fabulous treat to watch with them as this plotline unfolded. It gave us so much to talk about, and it helped my kids appreciate the way our family was created even more than they already do. Everybody wants to see their lives reflected in popular culture, but I never dreamed my kids would see shows they could relate to like this.

As the story unfolded, (again, spoiler warning to my fellow Fuller Housers!) Steph’s one-time rival Kimmy Gibbler — practically a sister figure herself — stepped up to carry the baby. We’ll have to wait for Season Four to see how it all turns out, but this is a sitcom, so I’m guessing hilarious conflict, wacky shenanigans and ultimately, over-the-top sappiness will ensue. (Hey, I’m not crying. You’re crying!)

fullerhouse2

Another spoiler: by Season 6, this new baby will be covered in slime for some reason

The best part is, I’m not even worried about how the show will handle this going forward. Full House/Fuller House has always been a show about non-traditional families. (Hey, we only have two dads in our family — they had three!) While the surrogacy storyline was unfolding, they’ve also had a sweet running subplot about Jesse & Becky adopting, not to mention single mom DJ and whatever’s going on between Kimmy and Fernando.

 

That’s because (cue the sappy music)… from the very beginning, Full House has shown us that life doesn’t deal everyone the same hand, so you put together the best one you can. Ultimately, it’s not important whether your cards looks like everyone else’s, because it’s not pairs or straights that matter. It’s love that makes a full house.

Hey, I’m not crying! You’re crying!

* * * * *

If you like this post, please share it. And if you want to read more about non-traditional families going through wacky situations and somehow making it all work, why not check out my MY ROTTEN STEPBROTHER RUINED FAIRY TALES series from Capstone Publishing? They’re now available at your favorite bookstore or online retailer, and you can read all about them on my other site, www.jerrymahoneybooks.com. (I also recommend my book BUTTHEADS FROM OUTER SPACE, coming out in March 2018. No sappy messages. Just fart jokes galore!)

 

My Surprising Father’s Day Gift

gaydadcard.JPG

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.] đŸ™‚