My father came out to me when I was 28, and he was 49.
My parents had just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.
So, that was fun.
I mean, I wasn’t shocked. It was confirmation of my long-time suspicion, and TBH, it made his road trip playlist make so. much. more. sense. #bornthisway
But even though I saw it coming, when it became real, it felt way heavier than I had imagined. The transition to a new kind of family wasn’t without its, um, challenges. We didn’t get it perfect. I wish I could say we came close, but trust me- we didn’t even come close.
Like, at all.
But soon enough, we figured shit out like we always do. Early this spring, I found myself standing outside our progressive, fully-inclusive church on a sunny afternoon watching my Dad marry a guy he loved. I mean, I love all kinds of love, but I definitely thought that wedding kiss would be weird.
Not because they’re both men- who do you think I am? Geez.
Just because it was my dad. Gross.
But it wasn’t weird, and now it’s like Doug was always here. Their wedding day was one of the most deeply joyful days of my life. It was just the two of them, two witnesses and a minister standing in a field, but it felt like the most beautiful celebration. I’m tearing up just trying to write this.
My oldest son was only a year old when my dad came out, but I worried pretty much immediately about how I would explain “the whole gay thing” to him. I’ve seen so many parents expressing worry or outrage when LGBT love is included in anything their kids might see, and it made me feel like my kid was going to be SO CONFUSED by his own grandfather. I clearly needed to prepare flow charts and graphs and textbooks and diagrams. What a roller coaster this was going to be!
Thankfully, I realized I was being an idiot.
How do you explain the whole gay thing to kids?
I will always answer my kid’s questions honestly, because that’s how we parent. But I don’t have to have some kind of battle plan to explain my dad’s marriage. I’ve never explained anyone’s marriage or family to my kid unless he asked questions.
Why would this be any different?
If you ask my preschooler about Pepere and Doug, he will say they are “a family together.” He knows that Pepere is my father, and Doug is not, but they’re both his grandfathers. He knows we all love each other, and love makes us a family. He will ask more questions when he has them. I don’t have to do anything else.
Despite my best efforts, some jerk is going to expose my boys to anti-LGBT nonsense at some point. We live in a smallish town in a Red state in the Bible belt. It’s going to happen. I am prepared for a few tears and a lot of questions, but maybe they’ll surprise me. Maybe they’ll dismiss that garbage and be totally unfazed. My mama heart can dream.
Whatever happens, whatever they hear, whatever they ask, we are ready. It’s not as complicated as I once imagined. Love is love. And kids understand love.
We’ve got this.