Sketched June 11, 2019
It’s another lively afternoon at the Mayfield-Man household. The two Seattle dads, Travis and Curtis, are catching their breath after a long day at their jobs (Travis Mayfield is a TV news anchor at Q13 Fox; Curtis Man is a manager at Microsoft) and getting ready to spend time with their kids. Greyson, who is almost 2, just woke up from a nap and is eating crackers. Ellie, who is 5-and-a-half, wants to see my sketch and I let her use the stylus to add color on the iPad.
The family scene fits what Travis had always wanted.
On the couple’s first date 12 years ago, he brought up fatherhood right away to Curtis: “I want to have kids; if you don’t, we should stop before we order dessert,” he recalled telling him.
Curtis had never given the idea of kids much thought but he didn’t object, so they ordered dessert.
Since then, fatherhood has brought the couple the best and worst times of their lives.
The most tragic moment came three years ago, when their son Tommy, Ellie’s twin, passed away unexpectedly of a rare medical condition.
“How do you tell a 2-and-half-year-old that her brother has died? Travis said. “It was the worst thing in the universe.”
Then more than a year after Tommy passed away, the couple experienced joy again with the arrival of Greyson, who was born to the same surrogate mother who had carried Ellie and Tommy.
Travis said they’ve had to learn to be broken and happy at the same time. The experience of unimaginable loss has also given the family a new kind of empathy and understanding for other people.
“On Father’s Day, I want other dads who have lost kids to know they are not alone,” said Travis, who has shared his journey through grief on social media in hope it would help others.
Ellie and Greyson are still too young to grasp the meaning of Father’s Day, but as they grow up, I’m sure they will take every occasion to thank their dads for their unconditional love.