There are a lot of nice things about being back in Iowa City for the summer.
There are trees.
The farmer’s market has story time and great live music, not to mention really incredible breakfast options and good produce.
There are actually things to do most days of the week, and for people with kids. My favorite event so far has been Thursday music in the park: Every Thursday a different musician is in a different park. People from Parks and Rec are there with chalk for the kids–and sometimes ice cream sandwiches. We come with a blanket and friends and get to chat, listen to music, eat sandwiches from the local coop and watch Nico get sugar high on free ice cream sandwiches.
We get to see so many old friends.
There are great towns and parks nearby for road tripping or hiking.
But I knew most of this would be the case before we came. What’s surprised me, and what I hand’t considered until we got here, is how many freakin lesbian moms there are. AND how much easier it makes it to be a lesbian mom in this community.
There is one set at Nico’s daycare who we’ve befriended. They’re about our age and have two kids: one about five and the other almost three. We hung out with them at the PRIDE parade yesterday in downtown (which is still the world’s cutest PRIDE parade ever–even if they have added two corporate sponsors). Then, after last week’s Thursday music in the park series, we ran into another lesbian couple Marta knows who now have a new baby. They were super cool, too. Our former neighbors are also new moms: they have a son about one. And THEN we had some friends over for dinner last night, a very nice straight couple with a daughter about Nico’s age, and they were talking about our neighborhood and the woman said, “Oh. You know there are two lesbian moms living like three doors down from you? I’ll have to introduce you.”
No. We had no idea. But by now I’m not surprised.
Iowa City has always been pretty lesbian friendly, so I guess it makes sense that a lot of those lesbians have started to procreate. I think I’d just gotten used to being in Lubbock and constantly feeling like we are THE ONLY ONES–even though that’s not true. There are other lesbian moms there–a couple in Nico’s daycare in fact–but they’re fewer and farer between (that expression sounds really weird in the comparative form, but I’m going go go with it) and very few of them have young kids, at least those we’ve met.
So being in here in Iowa City, in this lesbian mother paradise of young moms with young kids, feels like–well–a big old fat relief. Because, really, it’s not just that there are more lesbian moms, there are also just more lesbians here, and queer people in general. And living in a place where you see yourself reflected in the rest of the population does make you happier. It’s almost subconscious, but it’s real.
And so, yes, we’re freaking happy this summer. I miss our good friends in Lubbock, of course. But besides that, I think we would both stay here forever, if we could.
In other news, we’ve recently “trained” Nico to start falling asleep on her own at night. We used a method a friend recommended, in which we read to her for a while and then say goodnight and tell her we’ll come back and check on her in two minutes, then the next night five minutes, then the next seven, and then ten, etc. By late last week, we’d gotten to the point that, by the time we went back, she was already asleep. And man does this make a difference in our lives. It means Marta and I actually get some time to ourselves–when we still have energy–at the end of the night. The other evening we watched the end of the Colombia-Peru game (Viva Colombia!) in the Copa América. It was very romantic 😉
Also, I wrote an essay this week in response to the Orlando shooting, which has been on my mind almost constantly since it happened last weekend. It was published here at the Oxford American, if you’d like to take a read.
And now, as Stephen Colbert says, “your moment of Zin”