Real Men of AP- Brian Grumet

Real Men of AP- Brian Grumet

Brian asked me the other day why he wasn’t featured in our “Real Men of AP” series.

I guess I thought I wrote about him enough that he didn’t need to be a part of this, but of course he does! Plus, it is important to him.

So, without further ado, I give you this week’s Real Men of AP feature: Brian Grumet.

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Brian has been the epitome of a present, hands-on dad since the day Aram was born. Aram was born via emergency c-section two months before his due date. I was in one wing of the hospital recovering from HELLP Syndrome while Aram was in the NICU spending his first three days of life without his mother…but…He DID have his father.

Brian spent every waking moment holding Aram, learning how to change his preemie diaper, practicing skin-to-skin, and just being there for him, singing to him so he heard a voice he no doubt became familiar with in the womb.

Brian was the one who prioritized breastfeeding after delivery. While I was passed out from various medication, I remember waking up and having Brian pumping for me. He didn’t want to disturb me or disrupt my recovery, so instead he stimulated my milk production with a pump until I could do it myself.

At one point, when I was released from the hospital and Araml was still in the NICU, I remember waking up every hour to take three different blood pressure medications (it was the only way doctors could stabilize my pressures) and also in the middle of the night would need to pump.

Brian was the one to get up, bring my my medication, water, blood pressure cuff, and breast pump. When I finished pumping he would take care of packaging the milk and sanitizing the pump for the next use. It was one of those moments where I was so scared I was going to die and I just wanted to be alive for my baby, and my husband was able to see the benefit in making sure my milk came in, even more than me at that point. He comforted me and said he would take care of everything, all I needed to do was be present to pump. After I got my bearings, I realized what a gift he had given me. I know if I didn’t have Brian, there is a good chance I wouldn’t have been able to breastfeed Aram, something that ended up being such a great part of our relationship his first four years of life.

With Samuel’s adoption, Brian once again proved himself as amazing parent and husband. He went alone to Ethiopia to meet Samuel’s birth mother. This was his first time ever out of the country. He also met Samuel for the first time by himself. Samuel took to Brian right away and he instinctual knew exactly how to play with him, how to approach and interact with Samuel, which didn’t put any pressure on Samuel to feel like he needed to do anything other than have a good time and play with this giant happy man, who I think he realized would not be a stranger for long. When Brian left from the first visit, Samuel told the head of the orphanage, “I want to go with that guy!”  “That guy” soon became the one and only man Samuel will ever know as a father. Samuel has two mothers, and that is very special to him, but Brian is the only father figure in his life. Samuel loves spending time with Brian and revels in the special connection they have.

(About halfway through this video shows Brian meeting Samuel for the first time.)

 

Brian also has a beautiful perspective on how overlooked fathers are. After the Time magazine cover came out I was asking him how he was doing. His answer, like usual, was thoughtful and pretty blunt (I remembered most of it, but I asked him again tonight to make sure I wasn’t missing anything):

“The reactions revealed our society is even more f***** up than I thought. You are getting every single ounce of criticism and the only negative words for me have been how you must be controlling me. As if a “real” man would never allow this sort of parenting. People can try all day long to attempt to say their criticism of you is only because they are worried about the best interests of Aram, but their load of shit starts reeking when they don’t mention me. This is a two-parent household and there have been no secrets about that. This is a society built on shaming women in all areas of their life and allowing dad a free pass from being an active member of the family. It is clear we don’t expect a father to be any more than a financial contributor to the family. Even when we hear about how our country has a huge problem of fathers being nothing more than sperm donors, the main argument is they are skipping out on child support, not that they aren’t being a parent, which is a hell of a lot more important than cutting a check. I am here with you, we make decisions together, we parent together, I was standing two feet away from you during that photo shoot, and, if I could breastfeed, you know I would have been the one in the image. We, as a family, want what is best for our children, so if people want to criticize, they might sound a little more believable when they name both parents rather than just the mother…I said this earlier, if you have an issue with her parenting, than you have an issue with mine… but I am no fool, I know that is not really their issue. That is why we did this…people are not brave enough to mention the real reason they are uncomfortable. I have just been the most surprised at how completely neglected the role of father really is in our country and through this experience it has become so blatantly obvious. I didn’t think it was this bad.”

He also responded recently when someone mentioned an article from 2012 calling Brian Grumet a “wimpy beta male” :

“A beta male? If that is what someone calls a man who is against abuse but is a proponent of respect , then okay..because that is what I believe and how I hope I am treating the mother of my children. And, in that case, I hope both my boys are beta males, too.”

 

So, this tribute is for my badass beta male. I love you very much and I am so blessed that you are the father of my children.

Big Sur, California
 


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14 comments

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  1. Diana 11 June, 2013, 12:23

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and personal video of your wonderful family. The video made me cry tears of happiness! What a gift to this world you, Brian and your children are. As always I admire your courage and your ability to uplift. You renew my faith in the good in people. Thank you!

    Reply this comment
  2. Whit 11 June, 2013, 14:15

    I love this, and I love Brian. Yay for badass betas

    Reply this comment
  3. Lara (australia) 13 June, 2013, 19:05

    Ohhhhh yeeahhhhh!
    Let’s hear it for our beta men!!!!!
    Or should I say, our evolved and enlightened men – yes!

    What wisdom.
    Brian, you certainly are a true leader of men with your thoughts and beliefs, thank you for your brilliant articulation of what “the real” problem is here… the complete and utter denigration and diminishment of women’s wisdom and their higher instincts in this world, and the acceptance that men have no say or interest in their family, and a get-out-of-jail-free-card when it comes to public shaming.

    My partner Justin once said, “A world where we empower children, through empowering women, is a world where there can be no imbalance.”

    THIS i feel, is a huge factor in the backlash that saw itself flying towards the beauty that is your family. The fact that women like Jamie, were behaving with the empowerment to make higher choices (choices we use to make many moons ago) for their family, done with love and compassion, and done as a family unit of TWO loving parents.

    This partnership, this love, “that” picture, effectively shamed others into realizing what they themselves have left behind and forgotten, and what they don’t have in their relationship. It didn’t shame their ego, it really shamed their hearts and the higher part of themselves that has been forgotten and relinquished to societal control.

    Your level of empowerment effectively showed and displayed a higher form of bond and relationship between woman and man and child. It removed the shackles of “roles”; it flew in the face of what people think is possible in a relationship with a man; and it reminded women and men of how connected we are and are meant to be with our beloved children on this planet.

    THIS is what made made everyone so bloody uncomfortable. Not you, not the picture, not Jamie, but themselves, and what they have lost and forgotten and left behind. Their discomfort is their own, and your image and choices only serve as a reminder of where we were, how far from that truth they have gone, and the journey home should they so choose it.

    The light always places itself in the darkest places…

    ps… never has a home video moved me like that video of you and Samuel meeting – both my beta male and myself cried profusely after watching that for the first time. Keep leading my friend xox
    ppss… love your wife, she rocks! xox

    Reply this comment
  4. heather 6 July, 2013, 18:47

    He. is. awesome!

    Reply this comment
    • Jamie Lynne Author 6 July, 2013, 19:44

      I know. He really is. However, I don’t think men like Brian are uncommon, though. Society just doesn’t seem to celebrate or talk about strong men who is also nurturing, so you rarely hear about it.

      Reply this comment
  5. Qiqa Mafongosi 12 July, 2013, 13:10

    You guys are selfless and amazing. May God bless you all abundantly and may your family bond grow from strength to strength. This video made me cry…

    Reply this comment
  6. Margie 15 July, 2013, 21:31

    Brian,
    Don’t ever change. As your mother-in -law, I get the privilege to watch in person how you love my daughter and grandsons. Those pictures that are posted give a glimpse of your family and ours.
    As my husband said to both our married children years ago, ‘How would you treat your spouse if they only had a few days to live ?’. …. The answer is always, loving, etc, So treat them like that everyday and you will have the best marriage. You treat Jamie with so much respect and love Thank you Brian for being you.
    Love, Your mother -in-law…Gigi xxx

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  7. Margie 15 July, 2013, 21:48

    More thoughts. I can still see Brian holding his newborn baby in the NICU in the wee early hours in the morning. No sleep for days. He was there day and night for his wife and baby boy.
    He gave it all for his second son also. Flying halfway across the globe to bring home a little boy that needed a dad like Brian. I don’t know all these new names describing make behavior, but what I do know is that we were blessed to have Brian join our family. He is one of a kind.

    Reply this comment
  8. Anica 16 July, 2013, 05:48

    I was only able to read up to the video and then watch 1/2 way through it. I am about to start bawling at work!! I will have to finish it later! SOOOO great thanks for sharing.

    Reply this comment
  9. Anica 16 July, 2013, 07:32

    Ok finished it! Thanks for sharing. What an amazing story!

    Reply this comment
  10. Golfy 25 July, 2013, 19:30

    He’s a great dad and husband! :)

    Reply this comment
  11. Heather W 26 July, 2013, 18:39

    What a great tribute to your husband. I have just started reading your blog and I just watched the whole video posted above and loved it. What a great tribute to your beautiful family. (I had HELLP with my second child who came at 32 weeks also, btw!)

    Reply this comment
  12. Shaina Kumar 21 November, 2013, 17:41

    Beautiful story! It moved me to tears. What a beautiful salute to your hubby! I wish that I could watch your video but it says that is private. Bummer :(

    Reply this comment

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