When I first came out, I had decided not to tell Noah for a while. I didn’t know why, if I’m being honest. Maybe I wanted him to be a little older. Maybe I wanted him to make friends who had two dads or two moms first so that it was easier for him to wrap his mind around. Maybe I wanted time to write out a three-act play with music and dancing and anything else that would make the big news a little more cool.
The age thing, maybe. I mean, five-year-olds can understand a lot, but they also can’t understand a lot. It’s as if he’s on the brink of deep cognitive understanding ability, but he’s not quite there.
The friends with other-than-straight parents probably wasn’t going to happen, either. I mean, we’re in Utah, but he goes to school in a place where the population is literally something like a 98% religious, white, married, non-gay norm.
As for the singing and dancing and the three act play, the best I could do is make up my own tune to chopsticks and hope that I hit half the notes.
Anyway, I was at my family’s house talking to one of my siblings about coming out, and apparently Noah was listening (something else I sometimes forget he’s very capable of doing). On the way home, he asked, “Daddy, what were you saying at the house?”
“What do you mean,” I said.
He started giggling and buried his chin into his chest like a turtle trying to retreat into his shell. It’s something he does when he’s nervous. “You said you could love a boy but I know you were just kidding.”
I think that was the first time I literally felt my heart skip a beat.
Which is when I realized the real reason I hadn’t wanted to tell him yet. I hadn’t thought out how to tell him yet. It was as simple as that.
But the moment was there, whether I liked it or not.
“You know how most boys fall in love with girls?”
“Well did you know that lots of boys fall in love with boys and not girls?”
His giggle intensified. “WHAT?! Dad. that. is. not. true.” He said each word as if it was its own sentence. “You’re. making. that. up!”
I couldn’t help but chuckle at the way he currently was reacting. He was feeling vulnerable, but in such a dang cute way.
“It’s true!” I told him. “Lots of boys fall in love with girls. Lots of boys fall in love with boys. And, some boys can fall in love with boys or girls. Sounds kind of silly at first, huh.”
At this point he couldn’t even talk. He was just giggling uncontrollably.
“But you wanna know what?”
“Daddy is one of those people who likes girls or boys.”
“NO YOU DON’T! That. is. not. true!” Now his curious giggle sounded a lot more concerned. Which concerned me.
“Yeah. That’s just how some people are and it’s normal and okay. You know how I go on dates with girls?”
“Well, I still like girls a lot. But sometimes I go with boys and I like boys sometimes too.”
I just stumbled upon your blog today..its amazing! Real life stuff..not all hair..nails..freakin gluten free everything lol
I hope that the future holds adult Noahs, that were taught by their parents that love is love no matter who it's for. Society would be accepting and it starts by educating our youth on being open-minded.
This makes me the happiest single mother who loves boys and girls too!!! (plus I grew up in SLC....totally understand)
I am so thankful you told him it is indeed normal. Children need to know that attraction does not mean heterosexual attraction or attraction to those like them or why society considers as "normal". We are so inside of our own boxes that society has deemed to be ok that we don't consider much outside of the boxes to be normal, healthy, and ok. What a refreshing post!
I felt like I got punched in the gut, reading what you wrote about Noah saying he wanted to live with his mother. That stuff hurts! Glad everything is well. :)
Well, I haven't been to the page in quite awhile and I missed the entire coming out journey. I ache for how challenging this whole thing must have been for you, but I happen to think that this is fine news. You see, none of my sisters are single. But my gay brother IS; perhaps my fantasy of you marrying into my family someday will come true! ;)
i just stumbeled across your blog and i have to say: i love it. first i wasn't sure, but then i read this entry and you got me. it's not only how you treat your son, but how you think about people. it's not only the gender you're falling in love with, it's the whole personality. thanks for sharing all this.
Well conversely, reading your journey has made me evaluate how I speak to my children (well, 2 are adults) about relationships. My daughter(oldest) has determined that she is bisexual.(and has told EVERYONE) What has my heart warm right now is that the other day I was talking about something random to my youngest (11) and said that as I talk about relationship type things I hope that he knows it doesn't matter if he is attracted to boys or girls.
His wonderful brilliant reply was "ok, I like boys".. which lead to this wonderful conversation. I am thankful for your blog and all of the comments for making me aware of my wording. Making me conscious that I speak in a way that makes it that easy for my kids to tell me about who they are, to explore and wonder openly, and I hope we can all make lives different for our children. I want them to feel like "so?". Thank you everyone.
Dan, thank you so much! I was so touched. My baby girl knows I am gay, we have spoken since she was about the same age as your little one, and she loves me all the same. Once she asked me "What does gay mean?" I said, "It means that a boy likes boys, would like to kiss a boy." She then responded, "Can girls be gay,or just boys?" I said, "Yes, there are girls that are gay, too." She smiled and seemingly jokingly said, "I want to be gay!" I said, "When I was little, people made me feel I could not be me. But I love you and will always help you to be you. I will always love YOU, so you just be you." She smiled and said, "Let's play!" And the moment was over. I am happy for you!
Good job Dan. My daughter asked me, when she was six, what did "gay" mean. I explained that some girls love boys, and some love girls and sometimes they love both. Then I told her some boys love girls, boys or both. Her response...."Oh". That was it......"Oh". Kids are awesome.
Every parent should read this post.
Because it is the perfect example of how parents should talk to children. Allowing them time to process things in their own way, validating their feelings and not freaking out when they react without filtering their thoughts is one of the best things that a parent can do for their children. I'm sure Noah will take away the lesson that internal factors are the most important when choosing who to spend time with.
As a kid with lesbian moms, there are TONS of books out there about kids with same sex parents...I was adopted too when I was 3 by a lesbian couple. It gets tough in middle school and high school just because we become more self aware and a little bit self conscience. We, as kids of gay parents, get into a few more fights just 'cause we stick up for ya and love ya and if anyone says anything bad about you, we stand up strong.
Well, I said you had inspired me and that I was going to come out to my 9 year old daughter today. And I did. And she is the most amazing little girl in the entire world. She said, "You're my dad and I love you and that's all that matters." And then she asked if she could have a friend over to help us make gingerbread men pops. Um, she could've had anything she asked for at that moment!
Thanks for giving me the impetus to trust her!
all I can do is make this face:http://i0.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/007/754/happy-cuteness-overload-l.png
Nobody quite has the power to crush our hearts like our children. Noah is a happy secure child who has parents who adore him and will help him with any problems he has with this in the future. He's a lucky kid and you're a lucky Dad.
I wish I could say I had a similar story. My son is 8, but who knows if I will have that talk with him anytime soon. Unfortunately, his mother and I separated under less than ideal circumstances, and thus there are still is a lot of insecurities on her part. Who can blame her? Still, he is smart enough On 1 occasion he actually referred to him as family, Still, there's a nagging voice deep inside of me the wonders if I will get a similar reaction that you described with Noah It's a worry that his mother' It's a worry that his mother's cynicism and ins I guess the best I can
Amazing. I love kids for their simplistic thinking. For the most part, that's all we really need but as adults we begin to complicate things that are actually quite simple, such as love. You are raising a wonderful little man there Dan!
Dan, I have JUST found your blog, today in fact. You are amazing, a wonderful example. I have often felt different from the "norm", but being raised in the ultimate of "normal" home I felt a lot of guilt. I recall asking my grandmother/mother at one time if she'd ever been attracted to a girl. The response was an instant and emphatic "NEVER". As a result of that I have hidden from myself and everyone else, the truth that I, too, am something other than straight. Thank you Dan! I appreciate your humor and your honesty. I am definitely a fan!
Oh, you certainly know how to make me cry, Dan!! Please give hugs to that sweet little boy for me! And to yourself... <3
You are doing a wonderful job of raising that incredible young man...and your son too. <3 Keep up the excellent work. The world could truly use more people like you. You are a very loving intellegent man and I thank you for being so open to share your life with the rest of us and for keeping it real.
Dan, it is such a testament to your bravery and skill as a parent and a person that you just had the patience to take. a. breath. and wait for him to absorb, process, think. And I'm sure your heart soared a hundredfold compared to the steeltoeboot feeling, with what you got back. You're amazing -- and know we think that too. <3
The most important things to him are that he is able to spend time with you and that he feels loved by you - both things that you do very well! The rest of it doesn't matter. :)
Thanks for sharing! Such a great story. I came out to my daughter when she was about Noah's age. she is now 15 and that fact that I am gay is no big deal anymore. I'm not gonna lie she still wanted to hide the fact for a while and every so often hesitates but I see it as the normal being embarrassed of her parents.
@ChristropherHart Congratulation! I am happy to have read this and I am very happy for you and your daughter :D may you have many more beautifully important conversations in the future. much love from Spain and good luck in this new stage in your lives. Patricio
@ChristropherHart (and at Dan, too) have you seen this?
Epic! I'm sending that to my brother. I gave him the heads-up that I had told my daughter since we'll be visiting in a couple of weeks. He apparently hasn't even told his kids (ages 11 and 14) that my wife and I are divorcing (which was decided 2 years ago) let alone that I'm not so straight. This will be perfect!