Scheduling Bravery

“Honey, we need to talk. Your dad is a lying son of a bitch and likes to have his penis in other mens’ assholes.” No, that probably isn’t  the way I should break the news to the kids. But, the news is going to have to come out. I want GH to tell the kids. I have wanted him to tell them for months, but he’s a coward. Not just a run of the mill coward, but a delusional, narcissistic coward.  He’s  basically a trifecta of stupid and lives in his own fantasy land.

Unfortunately, the inevitable has happened. Maybe I am paritially to blame, but I wont take full credit. The word is out about GH. The king of Mapdot is gay. People know, partially because I have told some friends. But also because GH has his gay ON. He is out and proud with a few folks and has been to the gay bar just north of Mapdot in the Collegtown. He’s also been entertaining his potential partners and their crew at the business. In Mapdot, when something like this breaks, it’s worthy of discussion around the bars, the ball fields, the kitchen tables, and god forbid, now the playground.

I received a call from a friend of mine whose daughter plays with my daughter. Apparently word is out amongst the 8 year olds that “her dad is gay and that is why they are divorcing.” Dare I even ask if an 8 year old really knows what gay is? With what’s on television and the bluntness in which people talk, I can assume that the kids all have a fairly good idea of what gay is. And now my fear is how those kids will confront my daughter. It may range from the mundane description, “her dad loves men like my dad loves women.” They might kick it up a notch with a description, “her daddy kisses boys. ewww. groosssss!” Or my biggest fear, which is probably more likely to occur, is that there will be full on bullying by a bunch of ignorant children who have bigots for parents and are utter homophobes who can string together articulate descriptions of how gays ‘do it.’

As much as I want to don the cloak of cowardness that GH has worn so well, I can’t just ignore this subject. I can’t leave my children unprepared for the social battles they will face. They need some mental preparation but most important, they need the truth. Well, a version of the truth that is age appropriate and gives them the security and confidence to go forward and not be victims.

In a perfect world, GH would sit down with our children and admit to them that he was a gay. He would tell them that he loves them very much but that he can’t continue to be dishonest with about who he is and that it is time that he live a life that allows him to be who he is. He will explain to them that he was weak and afraid to tell anyone he was gay. That he spent his whole life lying to people because he was afraid about how people would react. He’d tell them gently that not everyone in the world thinks that gay people should live an open life and that he was afraid of people being mean to him and saying hurtful things. He and I would then tell the kids together that they may face some people like the ones their dad was afraid of. They may find that they have friends or their friends parents may say mean things. But we will reassure them that daddy still loves them and that nothing has changed for them except that mommy and daddy are getting divorced but we will still be the best parents ever.

So, back to the drawing board for things to tell the kids. My brutal honesty and bluntness will probably do more damage than good to my kids’ evolving sense of self and security (note to self, double up on their therapist appointments). My out loud voice will probably say something caring and rational along the lines of, “You know how mommy and daddy are getting divorced, right? Well it is time you know the reason and unfortunately your dad has been too scared to talk to you about it. Dad’s had a secret his whole life and has been very, very scared about how people would feel about him if they ever found out the truth. In fact, he was so afraid of being honest that he never told me or your grandparents. He’s kept it to himself and it has been very hard on him.  You know what gay is, right? We have gay friends and they come visit us so you know that there is nothing wrong with them. And you also know how some people make fun of them and say mean, hurtful things. Well, Your dad is just like them. He is gay. There is nothing wrong with your dad and he still loves you very much. He will always be the same dad to you that he has been. So if your friends or your friends parents say mean things to you or about your dad, please know that it has nothing to do with you.”

Perhaps I am a coward, but at least I will be an honest one, which is more than I can say for GH. Now, off to the calendar to schedule my moment of bravery, knowing that this moment will be a demarcation in their lives. It will be the line in their lives separating “before we knew dad was gay” and “after mom told us dad was gay.”