AGE 42 (this past Tuesday, actually!)
HOMETOWN(S) Bronx, NY / Bloomfield, NJ
NUMBER OF CHILDREN Two
DAY JOB Director, Content & Digital Product Development at Library Journals, LLC
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Married
+GOOGLE +Guy Gonzalez
ON THE WEB LoudPoet.com
FAVORITE CHILD if applicable* (we’re joking*) People have a favorite child?!!? They’re both my favorite!
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
Five years ago, my wife (Salomé) enlisted in NYC Teaching Fellows and is now a special education teacher, teaching Pre-K kids with autism. She’s currently teaching in the same school our kids attend, so their schedules are pretty much in sync. For about 18 months, ending in March, I was able to work from home a couple of days/week, though that’s changed with my new job. On the flip side, work has been bleeding into the weekend much less than it used to, so it’s almost a wash. Generally, we like to keep our weekends free for family time, and when the weather’s nice during the week, we’ll sometimes meet up in the City when I get out of work and all hang out.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL? For instance are you now careful, when pre-children you led bungee jumping and sky diving expeditions?
I think I’ve become a lot more responsible since having kids, though it’s definitely been a slow evolutionary process! Very few of my close friends have kids (or are even married, for that matter), and my parents separated when I was three, so it took me awhile to fully understand what being a good father involved. Parenting has also allowed me to experience things I’ve maybe come to take for granted through new eyes, from New York City and Star Wars to the joys of reading and roller coasters.
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
We’ve been married 13 years now, 10 of them as parents, and we’ve had our ups and downs, but I think raising kids together has definitely given our relationship a stronger foundation. Not in a “for the kids” kind of way, but for helping see the bigger picture. We are oil and water in a number of ways, and while sometimes that causes friction, when it comes to parenting, it actually provides an important balance. I think she’s definitely the better comforter, while I’m more likely to be the clown. I’m generally more patient than she is, except when it comes to homework, for which I have zero patience and she seemingly has an almost infinite well.
As for other areas of impact, well, there are few things sexier than a confident woman who is also a great mother!
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
One of many, I’m sure, but my worst moment was arguably going in to run my weekly poetry series on the Monday after our son was born instead of letting my partners run things and staying home to help out. Total blindspot that took a couple of years to finally see the wrongness of!
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
Not an individual moment, per se, but I’m terribly proud that both of our kids are avid, voracious readers. I’m a firm believer that kids whose parents love reading, are more likely to love reading themselves. I especially love that they love visiting bookstores, even though it occasionally becomes an expensive habit. If I can cheat and add a second moment: coaching my son in Little League baseball for three seasons, with a side bonus of never ending up on YouTube!
DO ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS? AND IF SO, HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR PARENTING?
Our daughter was diagnosed with autism when she was 2.5 years old, and is on the milder end of the spectrum, currently classified as having Asperger’s syndrome. Now almost nine, she’s recently come to understand why she has difficulty with certain situations, and why she’s a little different from her friends, and that self-awareness has been a huge step for her and us. I wrote this short poem for and about her a couple of years ago, inspired by a picture of her hands that my wife took (that became the cover of my ebook, Handmade Memories), but have never shown it to her yet.
BLUE (for India)
It’s no surprise you favored
blue over pink from the start,
defining your own identity,
defying easy categorization.
Society prefers labels, though,
requires them to [dys]function,
loves to segregate with clever
wordplay and games of semantics.
When you chose blue and pink
nail polish, alternating fingers
that pick rocks as comfortably
as they draw dinosaurs,
I knew “special” could not contain you.