Last night my husband and I went to dinner with a friend we’ve known for 23 years, but hadn’t seen for a while. She has literally watched our children grow up and has always been a big part of our family. But she didn’t yet know about our gay son, her favorite.
We have been slowly but surely telling friends and family over the past year or so, even though we have known for about 3 years. We held off from telling people not because we feared their reactions, but because we feared our own. We felt strongly that presentation was everything and we did not want to present the news as anything but a statement of fact, not tragedy. In the beginning that would have been impossible. We needed time to get comfortable with our new reality and it definitely took time to get there. I am not ashamed to say that, it’s just the way it was. There was never any doubt we’d get there, just uncertainty about the timetable for arrival.
Interestingly the people we have told so far were more surprised at how long it took us to tell them than the actual news about our son. Their reactions, as we suspected, were sincerely loving and genuine. Yes, there was surprise, it was almost universal, but the response after the momentary silence that hung in the air was also universal: It doesn’t matter, we love him with all of our heart, and that will never change.
It was a gorgeous evening last night. We sat outside at this restaurant and over a glass of wine reminisced with our dear friend about all the memories of our kids growing up. We laughed and got nostalgic. We talked about how scary fast the time had passed and the impossibility of denying it when our 3 almost-grown kids stood before us as reminders. And then she brought up our gay son and talked of his uncanny ability to connect with other people’s feelings and how she always believed he’d make some lucky girl an amazing husband. My husband and I looked at each other and knew there would be no better time and we told her. Her reaction was as we knew it would be, loving and accepting. And then with a twinkle in her eye, maybe from the wine, maybe from a tear, she altered her statement and replaced “lucky girl” with “lucky guy”. She had no problem altering her reality.