I took the kids home this morning. They hadn't said anything about going home on the way there, but as soon as I pulled in the driveway and started unloading their stuff, they were off like a shot into the house, where I could hear them greeting their mother. Then the front door was closed. I turned around and walked back to my car. I sat there for a few moments, and when it became evident that none of them would be coming out to tell me goodbye, I backed out of the driveway and left.
It was somewhat sad for me, but I know they were excited to see their mother. Even though we had just spent a somewhat cramped weekend at our house, and even though I was exhausted, and even though both Mark and I's nerves were somewhat frazzled, I was sad to see them go. I had relished the time together with them.
I had picked up Annie on Friday afternoon, and we were reminded over the weekend why we hadn't taken her to Disneyland with us. The following day, I took them all swimming, which they enjoyed.
Then yesterday, I took them to see Monsters University. They spent the rest of the afternoon playing, then they were able to meet some friends last night before going downstairs to watch the original Indiana Jones movie. Then, this morning, back to their mother's house in Bountiful.
We have been trying to teach them to think of our home as their home as well. They have a home in Bountiful, but they also have one here. It's natural, of course, for them to refer to the house in Bountiful as "home," given that each one of them has lived there all their lives; but I believe they understand the concept that they also have a home with Mark and me, that they have a place of refuge and protection whenever they need it, that we are there for them - now and always.
Now, on a lighter note, I want to tell the story of the souvenirs Mark got for me and him while we were doing our souvenir shopping on our last day in Disneyland. I had taken Levi down the street in "Downtown Disney" to the huge Lego store there in order for him to pick out his souvenir. Meanwhile, Mark, Esther and Aaron were in the mega-Disney store. When Levi and I rejoined them, Mark had a bag with several wrapped objects in it. He said it was my souvenir - a surprise - and I would get to see it when we got home.
So, on Friday afternoon, he took me out on the front porch and had me close my eyes. I could hear him unwrapping the objects, then he told me to open my eyes. When I looked at the table, the lead photo (above) is what I saw: two Mickey Mouses kissing each other, wobbly heads and all. I burst out laughing, reveling more in Mark's playfulness then in the actual objects. In the store, Mickey (the groom) was kissing Minnie (the bride). Mark saw how fun it would be to have two Mickeys, however, and picked two up and went to the register to pay.
The clerk, upon seeing what Mark set down on the counter, had said, "Umm, you can't buy two Mickeys. They're only sold as a set." Relating the story to me, that's when Mark said "F**k it!" in his mind and went back and got the two Minnies. "But what am I going to do with the two Minnies?" Mark asked the clerk. She smiled and said, "I bet you know some people who could use the two Minnies." He knew what she meant, but we decided to give them to Esther and Annie.
One of the things we enjoyed about our trip to Disneyland is that we were two out, gay dads with their kids. Most of the time, it seemed as natural as if we were a straight couple (which wouldn't, come to think of it, have seemed natural). There were a few looks from time to time; but none of them - at least insofar as we could see - were nasty. Rather, I imagined a lot of people thinking, "Hmmm. That doesn't seem that odd. They obviously love their kids, and they obviously love each other ... And their both so damn good-looking." What's not to like?