I’m Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed, the book that was released at the very start of the pandemic and became a lifeline for millions. I watched in awe from my home while this simple phrase from Untamed – WE CAN DO HARD THINGS – the mantra that saved my life twenty years ago, became a worldwide rally cry. Life is freaking hard. We are all doing hard things every day – we love and lose; we forge and end friendships; battle addiction, illness, and loneliness; care for children and parents; struggle in our jobs, our marriages, our divorces; we try to set and hold boundaries – and we fight for equality, purpose, joy, and peace right in the midst of all the hard. On We Can Do Hard Things, my wife Abby Wambach, my sister Amanda Doyle, and I do the only thing that has ever made life easier: We talk honestly about the hard. We laugh and cry and help each other carry the hard so we can all live a little bit lighter and braver, free-er, less alone.
Fri, 17 Mar 2023 04:01
In Part 2 of this Abby conversation, Abby shared the greatest gift she’s ever received. In this Part 3, we dive into: exactly what happened that magical morning from Abby, Glennon, and Amanda’s perspective; Craig’s reaction; and why it was that singular moment that Abby finally felt fully loved and chosen. If you haven’t listened to Part 1, check it out here: Episode 188 Abby Wambach: Will I Ever Be Truly Loved? If you didn’t catch Part 2, listen here: Episode 189 Abby for the 1st Time On Divorce & Her Unrequited Love. To learn more about listener data and our privacy practices visit: https://www.audacyinc.com/privacy-policy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Hey guys, this is Kenan Thompson. I have a problem with you. Yes, you. None of y'all told me that Auto Trader has millions of new and used cars that I can shop from home. I thought we were friends. I put smiles on your face. But I'm not smiling. No one told me that with Auto Trader, a dealer can deliver cars to my home or that I could shop by price on Auto Trader. No one. Consider this friendship that you just learned we had officially over. Finally, it's easy. Auto Trader. Hi. Hi. Welcome back to We Can Do Hard Things. Hi. Thanks, babe. As she said, welcome back. Shall we begin? Let us. All right, spoiler alert. You will want to go back and listen to episode 188 and episode 189 where we interviewed Abby, part one and two before proceeding with this. If you want to hear it first from Abby because I'm going to ask a follow up. So. G bird. The beautiful, beautiful moment that episode 189 ended with. Abby was talking about what happened on Christmas morning, the gift that the kids gave to her. So I wondered if you could share what your side of that was because you knew about it before it happened and like what it felt like for you in that moment. Yeah. So the gift to which you're referring is that on Christmas morning, the kids presented Abby with a letter that was from a lawyer and explained to Abby that. It was a beautiful letter that explained that the kids were seeking to have Abby officially adopt them. The kids had written a list of like all the reasons why. And it ended by saying we want you to understand that while we will be asking for you to have full parental rights, even be added to our birth certificates, we will not be cleaning the sink. So just businesses usual. Yeah, like basically it was like we're asking you to take on a lot of responsibilities, but we just want to be clear that we will be taking on no further responsibilities. I don't think it was we're asking. I think this is to commemorate and to make official the responsibilities that are already existing, which is you take such good care of us and you have this internal obligation to us. And we don't clean the sink. Yeah. But in yesterday's episode, you and Abby were talking about it and Abby said, thank you or something about it. And you said, I think this is actually the kids way of saying thank you. And I was thinking about that last night and actually I totally understand why you said that, but actually that's not the vibe that it was at all. There was no vibe from the kids about like, this is an offering that Abby has earned and deserved. And so she's going to get it. And so the kids felt like like your kids would if they began to understand that one of their parents had no legal rights to them. They're like, we have to make this right. This is this is crazy that this isn't the case. Yeah, it was personal for them that they wanted this like it wasn't like a duty. A while back, Abby and I don't know if you remember this night, we were laying in bed and we talked a lot about the situation that a step parent who's as involved with the children as either of the biological parents, some have this feeling of terror. Abby had this deep feeling of like, I have nothing official with these children. I'm giving them everything. I love them more than anything and they could be taken from me any minute. And I remember sitting with her laying with her in bed and her saying sweetly and kindly, but like my relationship with them is completely and utterly dependent on you. Our romantic relationship determines whether I get my children or not like you and there's like a romantic, oh, of course we're going to like whatever, but that's actually not fair. It puts a whole fucking shit ton of pressure on our marriage and relationship. Right. And also like I thought about it. Of course, I over thought about it for six months and I thought about it from a million different angles. And there's a lot of ways to talk about it, one of which is, and this is like the sixth version, but like that's not a good thing for our relationship either. I don't want to think you're only standing with me because you lose the kids if not. You know, it's just so unfair because these kids need you and want you in a way that is equal to how they need and want me and Craig. And so they wanted and needed a solidification of that just like you did. That was the vibe, not like she deserves this. So we'll give her like her coaching trophy was like a making right of something. Yeah. And so we thought about it a lot. You sister sent me like a phone number to some lawyer. I used to call the lawyer and because for a while I thought there's nothing we can do about this because there's just not a lot of legal precedent for it. And so we found out God bless California that there actually is third party adoption that's possible and we will be entering this journey together of trying to make this so which is so important for step families and queer families to be able to say together what their family is and how that reflected legally. And so it's really important. And for background for people who are like, well, I hear all the time about. Step parents adopting kids, it's generally the case that in order to have a step parent do that you have to have one of the birth parents relinquish their parental rights. Through abandonment or through voluntarily relinquishing their rights. That is usually the case that a step parent can be added and what they're doing here is maintaining the two birth parental rights and adding a third. And so the idea is like a lot of these rules are made for tragic situations or like painful situations divorce abandonment can we also use it for like loving expansion. If we can do these things for the opposite can we do it when the family is expanding out of love. And so speaking of not this situation in particular without abandoning either the biological parents rights. So I went to talk to Craig about this like months and months before Christmas and I was a little bit. I mean, I know that Craig is the most generous Craig understands our families like he doesn't understand that how the three of us are co parenting, but it's just such a dramatic thing to like like we're going to add someone to their birth certificates who will have equivalent rights as you if you have a pie like why are you going to cut it up if you don't have to in three ways. I mean, technically it's not equivalent rights. It's like you now lessen your 50% right to 33.3% if this was if this was a voting board. Yeah, the weight of your vote has has gone down. Yeah, if you have the capacity to feel threatened and insecure in your position. This idea would certainly activate that. Yeah, and it's not even just feeling it's real. You have to feel insecure to understand that factually and mathematically you will have less. And also he can't control our relationship. So what you're saying, Glennon is if you and I'll be get divorced and I get a third of the time with my kids. And there's nothing I can do with that relationship to save it. Right. It's just a lot. It's a lot. So I do my breathing and like get all of my ideas and my get myself in like a low nervous system place and. So after that six months of preparing for real. And then I say so Craig and I say my first sentence. We're thinking about entering a journey where Abby might be able to adopt the children without us giving away and he goes. Oh, yeah, for sure. 100% yes. Abby's family and it should be in paper on paper. It's amazing. And I had 17 more paragraphs. But here's the amazing part. He said that in my my immediate reaction was. Um, just slow down. Did. What are you reckless? Like what? Do you understand what I'm saying? I'm saying. I'm saying. I'm saying. This is what I'm saying. We have a path. Okay. The 12 things you need to be afraid about and then let me assuage your fears. You can't just come out. I was giving little interest to your eyes. I was like, I'm so interesting to me because I was like, Oh, you're scared. Like you're scared. Yeah, you yourself. Glentin are scared. I'm scared. Nobody else was scared. I was. Driving the train, you know, helping the children can have all the desires they want they're not doing paperwork. two most precious things, which are your children and your control. That's not what I thought you were going to say. That's right. And like when your two favorite things are mixed together, children and control. So to me, it felt like way more of a leap of love, faith and commitment than way more than the way it. Oh yeah, for sure. Way more than the wedding. Wedding, wedding, willy-knowly, like whatever, you know, like, but adopting the children, but it was like knowing that all I would be doing if I didn't do this is just not reflecting accurately what already existed. Yeah. I wasn't doing anything. I would just be pretending that the thing wasn't happening that was happening, which is that Abby is just as much as their mother as I am. And in the moment when I was listening to the kids read the letter and then I opened the letter from the lawyers, of course, I immediately burst into the kind of cry. Like I don't know, it was like a primal cry. And I'm hugging the kids. And then on your knees, you're like, you turned into like fetal position on the floor. Yeah. And as amazing as I'm hugging the kids, I realized, oh my gosh, Craig had to agree to this. So then I turn and Glennon is sitting right beside me. Craig is sitting next to her. And I just like let go of the kids and I grab both Glennon and Craig. And I just like wail into both of their arms. Craig was crying. We all were crying. Sister was crying. John was crying. John was crying with a little bit of fear in his eyes because he had been given the job to video it by sister. And you can imagine how terrified he was. Baba and Tisha were crying. We've had a lot of beautiful Christmas moments. And it was for me was the most beautiful Christmas moment. What was your take, Sissy? That warning. It was just such an honor to be there for it. I was so thankful that you all just to do it in that moment so that we could be witness to it. It's rare in life that you know in the moment that something is magical and pivotal and one of the most special things you'll see in the moment itself. It was just overflowing joy, gratitude. I loved the way the kids were so light about it too. It was clearly such a profound moment but they were just happy and laughing and smiling. It felt like just a celebration of what is rather than this remarkable, oh we're going to go do this thing that's monumental. It just felt like an acknowledgement of how truly remarkable it already is. I think legally speaking just to be very, very clear to cover all of our basis, the letter from the lawyer, it was kind of cute and funny because Glenin was approached the lawyer on my behalf because I'm the one that has to seek adoption. And so this was all as because it was going to be a surprise for Christmas, etc. The lawyer said assuming you agree to the Glenin's ability to go ahead and just swear. But I don't know. And by the way, it's going to be a process. We have to go through the legal proceeding of it but the unveiling of it was just absolutely the most special moment of my entire existence on this planet in this body. It was like a wedding, like a really good wedding when you... Yeah. Because it was a family sacrament moment, like really sacrament meaning like a moment where you're ritualizing or making visible something that already exists but is invisible. That's what sacrament is, right? It's like we're seeing it happen what we've all known is true. There's no forcing of it, there was no faking. It was just so obvious that this shouldn't be happening and the fact that it became real. Oh, I was just thinking of it's the opposite of what you know, and Abby was talking about in our first marriage how it was like something was missing before they got married. So it was like, okay, well, we'll insert this officialness and then that'll supply the thing that's missing. It was the opposite of that. It was like nothing is missing except the official acknowledgement that nothing is missing. Yeah. Beautiful. Yeah, and it's so weird because as a queer person who's been living in a world who had lived in a world where I couldn't get married, I didn't have many rights, this was just something I accepted as the way things are. I guess I probably didn't fully understand the trauma that's involved with knowing and having to accept the way things are and what that means is you have less rights. Yeah. That you have less solid ground to live on. I think anybody that has ever been in that position, any step parent out there, or any bonus parent, or any queer person who has lived through the decades that I've lived through, I think it's really important that not I do this or I get to do this that like we can set a precedent for this positive union and solidification of a family. So that other families out there might have this chance of not just accepting, quote unquote, what is already. That's so beautiful. And to like what you're saying too, one of the reasons it feels so important is that our kids aren't all straight. And so to not have their parents be able to be reflected accurately and equally due to queerness and like is hurtful for them picturing their future selves and what they deserve and what they seeing their future families reflected legally and equally. Yeah. And the likeliness that maybe their family ends up looking like our family someday in their future, the sort of divorce and how their families will look, we want to make sure that we're building those foundational blocks now so that they can step into whatever family they need to. Yeah. And it's not the truth that step parents need to always be second class citizen. It's not true. That does not have to be the case. And it's complicated. But especially in a family where everyone is saying this person is an equal parent and we all agree and we are united front and we want to see our family reflected the way that we feel it and experience it legally. Yeah. No one should stand in the way of that. Totally. I'm JRCBS Sports Radio and I want to introduce you to a new podcast titled Agents of Inclusion brought to you by Special Olympics Odyssey and JR Sport Reproductions. Every Wednesday we'll be speaking with a different Special Olympics athlete to share their stories of perseverance, accomplishment and path towards inclusion. We don't want you to just listen. We want you to become an active agent of inclusion as well. Special Olympics, Agents of Inclusion bonded on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcast. I think what you said Abby just now about the trauma of growing up and knowing that this is just how it might be for you as a queer person that your relationships and connections would have a kind of official precariousness. And you called that a trauma. It just got my head spinning because when I think about so much of the drive for marriage equality was not about so you could have this stamp of what is a heteronormative right of passage. It was so you didn't have to live in a precarious world in which it depended on who the nurse was on staff as to whether you could visit your partner in the hospital or be by their side when they died or be able to make medical decisions for your children. All of these things are it's not a cutesy stamp. It is putting you in a place that isn't precarious and we've been talking over and over in this podcast about attachment and the marker of attachment is secure bonds and connections. And when we put folks in a position to grow up in a society where their bonds are necessarily insecure. Exactly. Because they can't rely on them in an official space to act in a way that honors and reflects their relationship then of course that kind of insecurity is a trauma. And affects their relationship because it's a feedback loop. It's like if our kids know in their bones, they're brilliant humans that their relationship with their parent with Abby is completely predicated on me and whether I stay in this relationship or not. They know that like they are they then protecting themselves a little bit is it detrimental to their actual bond with their parent. And that answer is of course yes, especially children who have gone through a divorce. All right. 50% of all children. And also just speaking from the person me being in this situation, it makes me feel shitty about myself deep deep down subconsciously. It's like I'm not good enough. And that is how so many of us in the queer community have felt for all of our life. And so these are the kind of things that can establish. I know that it might sound weird because I've been fighting against oh well legally speaking, it doesn't matter. I still love myself all of that. Like that's the conversation I have. And so I think it is important so that we feel relevant and real. Like this thing really, I mean the Dr. Hecky episodes it brings it up very very important. It's like huge. This makes me feel real. Are you real? Are you safe? Yeah. Yeah. And this is what we need. I mean all the rainbow flags are great and all of the gay days are great and all of the marches are great, but we need laws. Yeah. That make life less precarious. Yeah. And we want our children to see that happen so that they don't grow up with the feeling of being a second class citizen, a feeling that all of their love will be precarious and that they will just be lucky to be included. Yeah. It's fascinating. And I'm curious how many folks are staying in relationships. They shouldn't be in because they know that if they're to leave that relationship, their relationship with their stepchildren will radically and dramatically change. Yeah. Man, stepparents are just a class of unprotected citizens. Oh, and speaking of this on the floor, everyone bawling together tell the Pedsquad who you called right after that moment when we all got our shit together. Well, luckily, John is still married to Amanda because he took good video. He did take the video. So I got all of the video and the pictures and I sent them to my mom and I called her and it's going to make me cry again. Fuck. It's just like, you know, like when you're a little gay kid and you tell your parent that you're gay and they're like, no, and I know that so much of it's wrapped up and not having a traditional family for my mom because kids were so, um, I mean, they just ruled her life and that is I think what her idea of love is is just to keep having babies. And like, I think I've carried that fear with me. I virtually every second of my existence, like, I'm not going to have a traditional family and it's much more difficult to have children when you're a gay woman and all of that. And my mom loves our kids and loves Glenin and loves the life that we've built for with each other. But this is like still, I think probably one of the things. So when I called and told her about it, I was completely a wreck and she starts crying and she's just like, oh, this is so, you know, because being the person who has lived through so much of the hard times with my mom, um, you know, she said, like, oh my gosh, I'm going to get official grandbabies, you know, she still puts them in the count when she talks about it. But, um, I don't know. It's like when when you have kids, you want them to experience all the love and joy that you've been able to create yourself. And I think that this kind of officialness. And the beautiful moment that the kids showed and how much she respects Craig and Glenin for what she knows is kind of giving up some parental rights. It was a profound moment. And, um, I think that there was a little bit of like relief. And, and also in me, because it was like, mom, I know that you had these big fears about the life I was going to live. And here I am telling you, and showing you that they were just fears. I'm here like living out my dreams. And also, I'm here living out your dreams for me. Yeah, it was, uh, it was something I tell you what. I kept thinking when I, because I came down and you both were just bawling on FaceTime. I was like, we're going to do this again. Here we go. But I kept thinking, oh, she's less scared. Yeah. Like what you said, because everybody probably is protecting themselves a little bit. Yeah. Like, she can't love those grandbabies as much. Yeah. She can't let herself. Yeah. But now she can. Yeah. Oh, Judy, Wombok, you just kill us, Judy. Make it a comeback. Like just a full circle. She's there. She's there. Hey, Judy. Take a sad song. All right, Padsquad. We love you. Of course, we will take you along on this journey, whether you like it or not. I'm glad that we were able to like get into the Knicks and Crannies of this story. I know I may have like, sped through it a little bit on the prior podcast. So I'm glad that we were able to talk about what really happened. And you're such a good mama. Not for nothing. But I'm the logistic paperwork person in this family. And having to fucking get you to sign shit. I know. Do you know I did all that by myself for the first two months? It's so hard to get you to sit down and sign all the kids' paperwork. And what do you say whenever you give me a piece of paper sign? Signed Glenin Doyle. Every time she was Glenin Doyle. Because I look at her like, what? Glenin Doyle. Oh, so you're saying that this will be such an ease burden because now you'll be able to sign everything without giving it to Glenin and reminding her of her name. Yes. I mean, once a week, a child has something that needs to get signed. And it's a big pain in the ass. And shout out to all the stepparents out there who are the kind of organizers of paperwork in the family. Shout out to you. We're trying to make it easier for you to maybe one day sign your own damn name and not have to say Glenin Doyle. Yeah. And that's insulting too. You're like, I take care of all this stuff. I'm the one driving them over there. And I can't sign the piece. But I feel when I file my taxes, I do all the work. I know all the details. Send it over to the accountant. They're like, please have your husband sign this as a taxpayer. I'm like, my husband doesn't know where our money is. Yeah. Why not the taxpayer? First of all, that's horseshit. Yes, it is. Second of all, this is the little daily indignities. Yeah. Yeah. It's every day, little death by a thousand cuts. Little microaggression that I'm like, motherfucker. With that, we will leave you with motherfucker. Okay. We love you, Club Squad Catch next time. Have a good weekend. Love you guys. Thanks for doing this for me. If this podcast means something to you, it would mean so much to us. 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