Deciding to parent with your partner can be an arduous journey, one fraught with joy, heartbreak and indecision. But what about when you meet someone who already has two amazing children and you find yourself falling for all of them? When Michael Arnone took the leap into the dating pool, meeting fiancé Brian was the last thing he thought he would find. They quickly traded happy hours for playdates, and Arnone found that there are still some guys out there who will let themselves fall in love with both you and the children that you adore. I caught up with this NJ/NY businessman to talk about when he knew that he actually wanted children, the best qualities of his darling children, and what family means to both of them.
Michael Cook: Okay, take me back Michael; when did you know that parenthood would be something that would be a part of your life?
Michael Arnone: You know I’ll be honest; I have wanted a child since my first Cabbage Patch Doll! (laughs)
MC: Many people have their own opinions on gay men raising children. What was the path to parenthood like for you and how hard was the choice to have children?
MA: Absolutely no one’s opinion mattered besides my families. That was easy because I was always told that I would be a great dad. The path fell into my lap through Facebook. Becoming a father was in my blood and I knew I wanted it, so I was determined to have my wishes come true.
MC: What was it like meeting your fiancé Briéééan and when did you know that you would be merging a family together? What was your proposal like? Could more children be in you future?
MA: When you are a gay man raising two children, the dating scene was limited to the ten percent. On our first date I explained I had children and Brian was open to the idea of a second date; that was only half the battle. As it got more serious, I introduced the kids to him. Instead of going to the bar, we chose the zoo and more family friendly dates. We dated for several months and it kind of went fast. Before the year was over, we were closing on our first house. I knew I had a date in mind when I wanted to propose and that would be his 30th birthday. We considered more children, but the kids are now four and five and we are established with our schedules, work, school, etc. As of right now, there are no plans for any children in the future.
MC: How do you and your Brian balance your relationship with parenthood? How do you two let loose when you are able to step away from the kids?
MA: Fortunately, my ex is still in our kids lives and will take the kids on the drop of the dime. Between the three of us, it really is a great balance. We take every opportunity to have date nights and go out when we can step away from the kids.
MC: Family today comes in so many shapes and sizes; what does family mean to you both?
MA: My family really is a dream come true. Not only for my kids, but them enjoying their grandparents as well. Seeing the joy that it brings my family, especially around the holidays. Since the kids are four and five, the holidays are so much more meaningful and really more appreciative.
MC: How do you ensure that you are raising the best people that you are in today’s polarizing culture? What are some of the lessons that you think are crucial to them to be taught by you both?
MA: Our kids are very respectful and anyone who meets them can vouch for that. My son, Brodie will talk to anyone about anything. My daughter, Macie plays shy, but opens up real quick and is super loving and affectionate. Our kids are being raised to not see color and to be the best and most respectful people they can be. A perfect example is that Brodie will be quick to always help someone that is struggling, and Macie will be the first one to bring you something if you tell her that you are not feeling well.
MC: What gives you pride?
MA: Pride for me is raising well rounded children and being the best person that I can be for myself. I always lead by example and never follow the pack. I think it’s always important to respect other people’s opinions and not hold judgement. Life is all about learning, loving, and being true to yourself. It is more important to make a positive impact on someone else’s life than to just dismiss them over their opinion.
(All Pics Courtesy of Michael Arnone/Facebook)