(r)evolutionary uncling27 Apr 2019
in april 2015, i broke up with my partner of 5+ years. we had stepped into the space of the marriage question and i had gotten a clear answer: nah!*
but since the breakup, i have been on a journey to practice real non-attachment with the idea of raising “my own” children. i am practicing envisioning having my own kids as well as not having my own kids and being happy in each scenario. i am imagining many options, too: single parent, co-parent, co-parent with surrogate involvement, co-parenting with no surrogate involvement, being a sperm donor, and on and on… and i’ve been trying to imagine a joyful life down each pathway.
in the last few months, though, i feel i’ve had somewhat of a breakthrough. it started when two friends asked me to be one of their child’s godfathers. then another friend sent me a reading about the under-examined relationship of sirius black to harry potter.
and as i’ve been listening to how to survive the end of the world, hearing adrienne describe herself as an auntie extraordinaire has really landed with me as i continue to deepen my post-patriarchy work with men/male-bodied folx.
and then, in the last few weeks, i’ve asked myself: what would it mean to be an uncle extraordinaire?
and in the last few days, i’ve been looking through work of some friends and academics as they unpack (r)evolutionary mothering (Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines, raising justice , and it made me think: where are the books and thoughts on (r)evolutionary fathering? (i only found this one, 6-minute thing)
and then (r)evolutionary uncling landed square in my lap. (or is uncleing?)
so now the journey to (r)evolutionary uncling begins!
hmm. well, actually, it’s already begun. i have a long list of nibblings (children of my siblings or friends - s/o to adrienne maree brown for the term) already and i’m in relationship with them and their parents as we speak. i think the work now is actually to refine it. maybe i will also be a (r)evolutionary father someday, but for now, i think practicing uncling is an amazing thing. especially since there are SO many kids out t/here already and we in america really struggle (because of societal structure) to raise carbon-light kids… ANYWAY! *steps off soapbox*
here are some thoughts i’m having and questions i’m thinking about or already asking my friends:
- what if instead of saving for a house downpayment, i save for taking my nibblings on luxurious trips?
- is taking a nibbling off my friends’ hands for a night a win-win gift?
- what is the highest goal or purpose for an uncle in relationship to the nibbling? what about the parents?
- just being present for my friends as they go through hard parenting moments is valuable
- it’s really stupid that “we” (as in lots of people parenting right now) fall prey to the dominant narrative that the only two adults who make substantive decisions in a child’s upbringing are the biological or legal guardians
- is there value in an uncle support group?
- what’s the difference between a good uncle and a bad father?
- is there a meaningful difference between a family friend and an uncle?
- what does ritualizing the process of becoming an uncle look like?
- what’s the role of the uncle in helping male children develop healthy sexuality, masculinity, and femininity?
more soon. must go make waffles now.
* one of my favorite rules of thumb regarding breakups is that it takes half the length of the relationship to be healed (enough), recentered in oneself, and ready for a next relationship. so i have been (mostly) lightly dating since then and that’s made lots of space for me to focus on little ones in my life!
words / writing / post-processing
465w / 18min / 12min