Monday, December 24, 2012

For unto us a child is born

It took me more than half of my life
to figure out who I really was.
Growing up in a VERY conservative world -
I had no idea why I liked boys better than girls.
But something told me it wasn't an option.
So put those feelings in a box and
locked it down in the depths of my soul.

And so my life went on.
It was easier to be friends with girls than boys.
We liked the same things so I had many girlfriends.
They spent more time me more than other boys.

Sometimes that got me in trouble.

In 7th grade, a group of bullies beat me up every day after school.
To avoid a bloody nose... I hid until after dark in the public library.
Those days in that sanctuary nurtured my love of books, and learning.

Good often comes out of bad.

For over 30 years
I did exactly what was expected of me.
It wasn't like I lived a lie all of those years.
No struggles with being or not being gay.
I just focused on school, my career,
and achieving accoutrements of success.

I fell in love and got married.
We had four wonderful, precious, treasured children.
I built a successful career.
We lived in lovely homes with lovely things.
Everyone said we were the "perfect family".

Then it all fell apart.

The fact was that it just didn't work and nobody was truly happy.
A period of intense grief led to a time of amazing self revelation
I finally figured out who I was and accepted everything that went with it.
With joy came the terror of possibly losing everyone I loved.
Could my children accept a gay Dad?
Would my new "lifestyle" negatively impact their lives?
Could Ethel and Howard accept that their treasured "boy" liked boys?

Christmas Eve 1995

108 Mt. Tabor Road - Baroda Michigan - Springtime
That year the kids and I
spent the holidays
at our second home
in Baroda, Michigan.
My parents arrived
and we all tried to act like
nothing had really changed.
The tree was up.
Presents were wrapped.
Large toys fully assembled.

Late Christmas Eve as I lay in bed I heard a soft knock at my door.
Ethel came in and sat on the edge of the bed next to me.
Quietly she looked at me and then said -

"You are the happiest you've been since you were a little boy".
"And I think I know why."
"Either you're in love with Candace (my lawyer's wife)".
"Or your friend Larry".

Beyond shocked (and frankly a bit mortified) I responded
"I doubt either of those options would make YOU happy Mother".
With tears in her eyes Ethel said -

"Whatever makes you happy is OK with me".
And with one short statement
my Mother erased a lifetime of fear and confusion.

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas Eve.