Dave Meslin, activist,one of twelve people the Star named to watch for in 2012, is 40 this year, “celebrating four decades of adventure, exploration, creating, learning, growing, loving and being loved.” He has written a blog “I’d like you to meet my son, and his two amazing moms” in which he concretized the obsolescence of the presence of a father then repeated his philosophy in his interview with Matt Galloway on CBC the morning of July 4.
“…to be asked by someone to participate in the act of creating a child… this was truly sacred.” Sacred? Mr. Meslin “thingified” sperm, taking away its very essence-its place in the miracle of the creation of life.He gave sperm to his friends. A donation. Like giving chocolate chips to a baker and coming by later to eat the cookies. Enjoyed the cookies-but had nothing to with their creation.
Meslin may be proud of his donation but as a member of Leading Women for Shared Parenting (LW4SP ) I am not so happy. Not so proud that we have entered into the ether of our culture the idea that fathers are expendable. Just donate that sperm and off you go. This is not to take away from the great job these two women have done raising this little boy-without a father. But that’s not the point. The point is he wasn’t needed. And he seems ok with that. Yes, he has played some part in the child’s life-like an uncle, sort of. The child called him Mez just like all Meslin’s other friends. Because his son is his friend, now.
"Babies are cute, and fun, but they are babies. You giggle at them, and they giggle back. It’s a shallow relationship. I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point, Santiago became a person. And a friend.”
Meslin had to ask this boy if he wanted to call him Dad after he told him who he was. “After all, the word “Dad” might not carry a lot of weight, to a toddler who didn’t have the experience of having a father in the house”.
And Mez is proud of what he has done. He thinks of himself as playing a role in gay pride, like Anderson Cooper who came out of the closet because he did not want to give the impression that he was in any ashamed of his lifestyle. Meslin took that to heart: “So the question I’ve been asking myself is: am I contributing to the social stigma facing gay families, by keeping Santiago a secret? Or, more importantly, could I help play a positive role by loudly and proudly declaring myself to be a donor?”
He came out of his self-made closet and announced to the world that Santiago was his son by sperm donation. And he hopes to be a role model for other men to donate-without fear. He’s thinking of starting a group, to help facilitate sharing, learning and mentoring for local donors or those who are considering being a donor. Showing them, I suppose how unnecessary they are in the life of a child.
Meslin, single, opined that over the past ten years, social media has really grown and he has watched, with some envy, as his friends posted pictures with their children having fun. “By publicly announcing my role in Santiago’s family, I can now join my friends in the popular act of sharing cute pictures of our offspring, without triggering outbursts of confusion.” And he read comments like “oh my god, he/she is so cute.” And that’s important to this “father.”
He now wants to have all the fun (“We were having fun, all the time. And that was all that mattered”) of sharing happy pictures of life with his “son” because and be like all the other parents (except he isn’t a parent, is he?) on FB sharing those “fun” moments. “Everyone feels good about the cycle of life and the cuteness of children,” he said. “And I’m not comfortable with Santiago looking at my Facebook page one day and seeing pictures of my friends, my family, my projects and hobbies… but nothing of him. I love him more than anything in the world. And I want to share that, and I want him to know.”
This is love of a father? Love expressed via photos on Facebook? Your child knows of your love because you posted pictures of fun times together? This is what fatherhood has become?
Well, I’m not sure everyone feels that way. I know that Moms and Dads who commit to the raising of children on a full time basis don’t always feel good, don’t always have fun. Parenting isn’t a fun thing. Parenting is a huge responsibility-not a part time “uncle” job. And fathers are absolutely necessary in the raising of children.
Meslin just wants to keep having fun. He said of his son (I use that term as I can think of no other) “He’s so lucky to have two amazing moms, and I want to thank Gabe and Patty for inviting me into their family and giving me the most precious gift in the world.”
And that’s what he is: A guest who has been invited in to his “son’s” life. And therein lies the problem for real fathers, today. We are dealing in the court system with a discrimination against men that is endemic. Separation, divorce and the default position is Daddy gets every other weekend and every Wednesday. Getting more time requires lots of work and money. And a great deal of heartache for the fathers and their children.
Dave Meslin’s story glorifies the lack of necessity for a full time father. His story demeans and denigrates real fathers and their vital importance in the raising of their children. And that is a disgrace.