I’m turning 40 this year, celebrating four decades of adventure, exploration, creating, learning, growing, loving and being loved.
I’ve had the privilege of participating in countless community projects, political movements and artistic collaborations. But the most special collaboration I’ve ever participated in began ten years ago – and I’ve never mentioned it publicly, until today.
In 2004, two of my friends – Patty Barerra and Gabe Thirlwall – asked if I would help them make a baby. It was the most amazing thing anyone had ever asked of me.
Most commitments in life come with an escape clause. You can join a group, and later decide to leave. You can accept a job, and then quit. Deep friendships can slowly fade. And even marriages, allegedly the ultimate act of commitment, have an escape mechanism which we all know is used frequently. But to be asked by someone to participate in the act of creating a child… this was truly sacred. Patty and Gabe were inviting me on a journey that we would share till our last breaths, together, inextricably connected as a family. It was perhaps the deepest expression of faith and confidence in who I am, that I had ever felt.
It took about two seconds for me to decide. The answer was yes. I love children enormously. They brighten my life more than any other source of joy. I was also attracted to the challenge of being part of a non-traditional family in a world that encourages conformity in so many ways. And I have tremendous amounts of respect for both Patty & Gabe. The faith and trust that they were investing in me, was entirely reciprocal.
They were both surprised at how quickly I accepted the proposal. They told me to think about it further. A week passed, and they asked me again. My answer was the same, without hesitation.
Santiago was born in February, 2005. He’s turning ten years old next year. I love him more than anything. I’ve spent a decade watching in awe as he’s grown. I’m so proud to be his dad, and to be a part of Patty & Gabe’s family.
But some of my own friends still don’t know about him, and most of my extended family doesn’t know either! I’d like to explain why, and also explain why I want to suddenly share it with you now. Continue reading