Over the years I’ve been given a lot of names.
My first name that my parents dreamed up and provided to me at birth.
A middle name that represented the family they also provided me with at birth.
A surname from my parents marriage representing society’s patriarchy that was expected to be conferred to me at birth, and of course, was.
A bastardization of said surname in an effort of my youth-bullies to try and disparage my heritage, my physical looks, my personality and whatever else they could append to it.
A Catholic Confirmation name that I chose from studying.
An adopted post-Confirmation name that represented my relationship with my mentor for whom I would not be who I am today without and has deep, meaningful roots within my family, and the historical representation of his name in the family.
A nickname that represents one of my favorite authors and a longstanding relationship with literature and how it was introduced within my family and friends, classmates and other contemporaries that first began to identify me though an alter-ego.
A bastardization of said nickname, of my surname, of any other version of my namesakes in an effort of my ongoing bullies to try and disparage my heritage, my physical looks, my personality and whatever else they could append to it.
A realization my own name was incomplete without incorporating additional familial roots to which I actively use despite still working on formal legalization. In the grander scheme, I’m still working on formal legalization to incorporate several family names history that’s increasingly important to me as per typical within the wider Iberian heritage.
The acceptance of my nickname and an effort of my contemporaries to celebrate my true self by creating all kinds of versions of the nickname and variants thereof. Furthermore, it led to a widespread acceptance of my surname and given name that sought to the same kind of celebration of my personality, physical traits and otherwise interesting relationships with the world around me.
A realization my own name was incomplete without incorporating the new paradigm that my life exists in with my partner and our ever changing dynamic in our progressive definition of who we are in an ever changing society.
And here we are, now three years later and I understand something my partner has only whispered in the past few years to our offspring. They’ve said, “When you were born you gave me new names no one else could.”
“I am a parent.”
I am still my first name. My middle name. My surname. My family’s names. My nicknames. The culmination of my patriarchal masculinity in which I’ve inherited or this created, I assume, in part, from that heritage.
Or, for my select version of it, for the bias that comes with it, “I am Dad.”
And, for that I’m happy to be dad to my partner’s contributions to our offspring’s name. And aware of the hyphenation effect. I’m aware of the effect of their namesakes and different versions of.
I’m also aware of their contribution to how people perceive them.
Oh, and I’m not oblivious, I know how skin color, perception of gender, bias on zip code, ideas about ethnicity and religion, responses to early prescribed standardized tests including IQ, NY-Regents and any number of corporate privatized rubrics might portray a kid or influence their opportunities and even if they were granted those ops, if even available, how they might be interpreted for better or worse.
Inherently, I’ve known that from day we went from talking about procreation to the initial stages of trying to the first pee stick positives, to the initial ultrasounds, and through telling the immediate family and getting past the point(s) of miscarriages, etc. that was a truly complex process. Parenthood might begin from the inspiration of having sexual intercourse but the process of becoming a father or moreso to being a “dad” is more than the biologics of it all.
If it were all about biologics every sperm provider would be held to the insanely high standards we hold every egg provider. And, potentially then some. But, since we are so extremely far away from talking about the equitable implications of the copying of one’s biological matter from a legal standpoint the conversation can end here, for now. I not only acknowledge my procreation responsibilities I embrace them.
For, I AM A “DAD.”
Yep. I know. Low barrier to entry.
Woohoo. I provided sperm. Good for me for being able to ejaculate on cue.
True. Although, let’s not diminish the idea that well timed ejaculation isn’t a given. There are entire industries dedicated to helping men get erections, helping men ensure they can cum, helping men ensure that cum is viable for procreation, helping me guide that cum into women, helping men understand women’s fertile time, helping men know the deed was done, helping men cope with not being able to get an erection, helping men understand why they are struggling to cum, helping men determine their cum is viable and when it’s not entire industries that help them fix their broken cum syndrome, helping men compensate for their inability to guide that cum into women. And, so on.
But, afforded the opportunity to share that shared experience of intentional procreation I am more than happy it’s happened the way it has (even despite some initial misgivings early on).