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then it was me and spring came

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Mother’s Day always feels weird to Patrick.

He’s not a mother -- not really -- and yet the boys always bring home cards from school, and Jonny makes sure to get him a little something. “Just because,” Jonny always says, watching him carefully. And Patrick doesn’t mind gifts, so he just kisses Jonny, grateful that he understands.

They never celebrate Mother’s Day, and Patrick grits his teeth and nods when people wish him well after mass or smile at him when the priest talks about how everyone owes a debt to all the mothers for their hard work.

But Patrick’s not a mother - or more accurately, he doesn’t feel like a mother. There’s a reason he wanted ‘Daddy’ as his moniker when the kids were born. Sure, in the past few years there’s been increasing acceptance and support for calling male carriers “mothers,” explicit acknowledgement that being maternal isn’t an exclusively feminine construct, but. He doesn’t think of himself as a mother, and while he always votes to support candidates for maternal male carrier rights, he just can’t seem to get past the fact that he feels like a father. Even though that seems like a betrayal, somehow, of the MMC movement.

So yeah, Mother’s Day is usually pretty uncomfortable all around.

“What was that for?” Jonny asks, startling Patrick. He’s leaning against the doorway, looking concerned.

“What?’ Patrick says, forcing a smile onto his face.

“You just sighed like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. What’s going on in that big, beautiful brain of yours?” Jonny drops into the chair next to Patrick and pulls his hand into his lap. “Or do I even have to ask?”

Patrick makes a face at him, but when Jonny squeezes his fingers, he sighs again. Apparently.

“I don’t know, I just.” He squints at the kids running around in the backyard. “I guess… I don’t know.”

“Profound,” Jonny says dryly, standing up and climbing into Patrick’s lap, making him grunt and huff out a laugh. “Is this about Mother’s Day again?”

“God, you’re a fucking load. Get off, come on, I can’t breathe.” Patrick pushes at Jonny, who doesn’t budge.

“Nope, you can handle this load.” Jonny kisses Patrick gently. “Besides, this is right where you need me right now.”

He’s not wrong, on either account, but Patrick shifts him a little. “Well, get off my junk, at least, I might want to use it later.” He waggles his eyebrows, and this time it’s Jonny’s turn to laugh. “But, yeah, I guess I do need you.”

“Right back at you.” Jonny smiles and smoothes Patrick hair back, tucking a piece behind one ear. “Spill, babe. Now that I’ve got you pinned, I’m not giving up until you tell me what’s going on.”

Patrick stares at Jonny for a long moment before giving in. “Ugh, I honestly - I just don’t know if I want to be a mother.” When Jonny raises his eyebrows, he shrugs. “I mean, I know it’s not cool to define myself by some kind of masculine, antiquated patriarchal word choice. It’s just hard to overcome that I’ve always been their father, you know?”

“I do know, and I don’t think you have to think of yourself as a mom, any more than someone who’s a carrier has to think of themselves as a dad. I think you made a choice, and the fact that other male carriers consider themselves mothers doesn’t mean you have to. Patrick, you’re the best father ever to the kids and I’m so fucking grateful that you’re my carrier, that you were able -- and willing! -- to have our kids. When we found out you were a carrier, it was almost the best day of my life.” He kisses Patrick, lingering a little longer. “I’ve always thought of you as their father, but if you wanted to be their mother, I’d have been okay with that, too.”

“I know you would be, Jonny,” Patrick leans his forehead against Jonny’s cheek. “And I love being a carrier. I need to just get over myself.”

“Loving being a carrier doesn’t mean you have to consider yourself a mother, if you don’t want to.” Patrick makes a face at him and Jonny sighs. “Your body, your choice, remember?”

“Yeah, I guess,” Patrick says dispiritedly.

“I’m serious,” Jonny says, hugging Patrick a little closer. “Maybe we just need to change things up. What if instead of ignoring Mother’s Day every year, we turn it into Papa’s Day instead,” Jonny says.

“What do you mean?”

“We both get a day - neither of which we call Mother’s Day - instead of sharing Father’s Day.”

“You’re serious about this?”

“I am. You get Daddy’s Day and I get Papa’s Day.”

“What? No, that’s stupid.” When Jonny frowns, Patrick shakes his head in apology. “No, sorry, I just mean if anyone should get Mother’s Day-cum-something else, it should be me. I’m the one who gave birth to them.”

“Fuck that,” Jonny says matter-of-factly. “You hate Mother’s Day -- don’t lie to me, Patrick, you know you do -- and there’s nothing to say that I can’t have that day just because I didn’t give birth to them.” He narrows his eyes at Patrick when he opens his mouth to protest. “Honestly, the guy who can magically give birth to children is giving me grief about thinking out of the box about Mother’s Day? Really?”

Patrick closes his mouth and sits back, turning the idea over in his head. There’s no way he’d want to make Mother’s Day his special day with the kids, but -

“Pat, I know how much Father’s Day means to you,” Jonny says, reading his mind as usual. “And the kids want to celebrate Mother’s Day with their friends, at school, at church. With us. And it might be nice for each of us to have our own day. Why can’t you have Father’s Day? You’re their father.”

“So are you,” Patrick protests, but it’s half-hearted. “Won’t you miss being part of Father’s Day, getting the cards, the gifts? Going to church and out to brunch?”

“I won’t be missing out, dumbass, I’ll be getting all of that, too, just on my own day. Also, I’ll be with you on Daddy’s Day. And I think it’ll be nice, you know - we can celebrate the other person without having to work on what is apparently a day when one parent gets to take it easy and have what they want instead of what everyone else wants.”

“You mean not having to cook -- or clean-up -- your own Father’s Day dinner?”

“Exactly!” Jonny pokes Patrick in the chest. “Now you’re getting it. The kids can give us equal attention. We can participate in Mother’s Day without feeling awkward. And you know what?” He leans in. “It means extra wake-up blowjobs.”

Patrick snorts. “Dude, you get a wake-up blowjob all the time!”

“Yep, and getting one this Sunday for Papa’s Day would be wonderful.” He smirks and then his smile relaxes into a more gentle one. “Plus getting the chance to just totally pamper you? You know I’m always into that, Patrick.”

“I-” Patrick stops, thinking about it. “I love to take care of you, too. And you’re right, it’s hard to really do that on Father’s Day.”

“So, what do you say we ask the boys what they think?” Jonny looks at where they’re batting an orange practice ball back and forth, deking and juking, half-heartedly trying to score on Amelie, who’s parked in front of the net with a giant goalie stick.

“Yeah?’ Patrick looks at Jonny, whose face is relaxed and determined, the way he gets when he’s made up his mind and Patrick’s not going to change it, absent a lot of dramatics. “Okay.”

“Okay?” Jonny’s smile widens. “Really? Awesome, dude.”

“Oh my God, do not imitate Bryan, you are old, you cannot pull that off.” Patrick rolls his eyes. “Now off. “ He tickles Jonny’s side and he jumps off Patrick’s lap, grabbing and rubbing at the spot.

“Dick, you know I hate that,” Jonny protests, but he’s faking it, and Patrick can tell because this is the man he’s been in love with for twenty years and counting. He grabs Char from the pack-n-play she’s been quietly playing in for the past twenty minutes.

“Come on, let’s go inform the monsters so we can start planning Papa’s Day,” Patrick says, taking Jonny’s hand. “And thanks.”

“I’ve gotcha, Peeks,” Jonny says, tugging Patrick a little closer.

“And I’ve got you, Taze,” Patrick says, smirking when it makes Jonny huff a little laugh.

“Later, I want to hear you saying that with a lot less composure,” Jonny growls softly, waggling his eyebrows and making Patrick laugh.

“Dude, you cannot pull the eyebrow thing off, either, that’s my thing, don’t even,” Patrick says. He’s so in love with this guy, sometimes he doesn’t even know how to express it. Luckily, Jonny already knows.