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Over the years, Catharine and I have had a few random, unfortunate moments where strangers mistake her for my mother. Or me for Catharine’s daughter. It’s icky. I say random because far more people are surprised to learn there’s a decade-plus gap between our ages.

Catharine has described it (which is not to say she justifies it but describes it) as strangers understanding there’s an intimacy between us. They leap to the most logical explanation their world view suggests: mother-daughter.

Enter our daughter’s French Immersion teacher. After a few weeks of seeing Catharine drop Rosa off and me picking her up, she asked Rosa one morning, “Est-elle ta grand-mère?”

Rosa answered, “Non” — and offered no further explanation.

As it happens, last Friday was National Coming Out Day. If it hadn’t been a P.A. Day, it might have been our golden opportunity. But as Dana Rudolph writes over at Mombian:

“Coming out is often described as an ongoing journey. As parents, it is a journey we take with our children. Sometimes they will want to be more out about our families than we are comfortable with; sometimes less.”

As much as our hearts would have leaped if Rosa had said, “Non, elle est ma mère!” it’s not our six-year’s old job to out her family at a moment’s notice. It is her moms’ job to help carve out a positive space where she can thrive.

But so far we’ve done nothing about this grand-mère-of-a-situation.

It’s only October, but this isn’t the first time we have had a talk with Rosa’s teacher. And Rosa is getting fed up with us always wanting to talk to her teacher. After a few conversations at home with Rosa, we’ve stalled.

Meanwhile at our younger daughter’s school Catharine, venting some stored-up mistaken identity energy, had an immediate talk with Lileith’s teacher after a letter was addressed to “Mom and Dad” on curriculum night. Not only did Lileith’s teacher apologize, within 24 hours he had put an assortment of family diversity books, including ones with queer content, on the shelves of his classroom. Within a week, he had read the books to the kids at story time.

On another note, Betty Crocker’s The Families Project (thanks again, Mombian) is proving more progressive than any classroom I’ve yet entered. Why can’t our schools be as queer positive as a multinational company known for its processed dessert products?


NEW IDEABake a rainbow-layered cake with ‘Nous Sommes Mamans Lesbiennes’ for Rosa’s teacher? Too subtle?


Meri Perra lives in Toronto with her partner, two daughters, tiny cat and massive cargo bike.

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