Community / Portraits

VillageQ Community: Homeschooler and Fretter

Today, I want everyone to get to know Shannon. She is one of those truly talented bloggers. I remember having tears in my eyes when she announced that she would be shutting down Peter’s Cross Station, where I had quietly followed her family and journey. I also remember being really intimidated when I met her in person and then felt like a complete goofball because she is so sweet and smart and loveable in person. Finally, after reading the interview, check out her questions in Who is Safe in GLBT Spaces?

To participate in our series, please email clare@villageq.com for more information.


The kids were flower girls in the wedding of some friends about a   month ago (May 2015) Pictured: Shannon, Cole, Selina and Nat AFTER the   wedding reception ice cream truck had arrived.

Shannon, Cole, Selina and Nat

Name: Shannon LC Cate
Age: 45
Hometown: We divide our time between Chicago and Urbana, Illinois
Social media handle: @lilysea on Twitter
Number and ages of kids: Two daughters: Nat, aged 10 and Selina, aged 8
Number (and type) of pets: two dogs, a guinea pig (and a recently deceased guinea pig), a leopard gecko and four little fishes (zebra danios)
Day job: part-time teaching at the University of Illinois, freelance writing
Relationship status: Married (extra-legally since 2003)
Favorite children’s book: Many! But one long-standing favorite is Everywhere Babies
Favorite flavor of ice cream: vanilla with hot fudge topping

How did you create your family?

We adopted our daughters at birth via open, transracial adoption. We are white and our girls are black (African American and biracial).

How do you balance work and home life?

Not very well. But we are a divide-and-conquer family. My partner is the breadwinner and I am chief cook, bottle-washer, home-schooler, and fretter.

What challenges have you faced as a queer family and how did you overcome them?

Most of our “challenges” have been about legal status–not being able to move or change jobs so as to maintain our legal and financial protections. That just changed almost overnight, after the Supreme Court decision making same-sex legal marriage universally available and enforceable in the United States.

What is it like for queer parents/ couples in your city/country?
In Chicago, we are faced with yawns when it comes to the idiosyncracies of our family. In Urbana, there is a town/gown split. The university is more like Chicago, but in the big-box store checkout, we are often the most interesting thing the cashier has seen all week.

How do you keep the love alive?

Netflix after the kids are in bed. Occasionally, we have a real date night too. We are also each others’ number one life and career advisers/listeners.

Who else provides childcare? It takes a village. Who’s in yours?

We have had various live-in unofficial family members who add to the child overseeing mix. We have been known to trade date-night babysitting with other couple friends and the kids have a number of aunts and uncles both through official family ties and unofficial queer family ties.

What did your parents do well that you want to emulate? What mistakes did they make that you hope to never repeat?

My parents were creative, energetic, had high standards of behavior and taught us to respect and care for others with our whole hearts. All of their methods for teaching these things do not fly today, but the bottom-line content is timeless, in my opinion.

What words did you swear you’d never say to your kids but have– often?

“Act your age.” I usually follow it up with “No, never mind, act like a 32-year-old.” Because honestly, that’s usually what I am looking for.

As a parent, when was the last time you patted yourself on the back?

Every time I apologize to my kids and ask their forgiveness I feel like I’m doing it right.

Describe your favorite family moment.

It’s rare that we are all together and all happy/enjoying ourselves at the same time, but when I can convince everyone to go horseback riding with me, I am as close to bliss as I think is reasonable to expect when kids are young!

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*