That was nearly six years ago. I found an old post I made about this back on our former MSN group. I thought it would be a good archive to revisit here....I told my oldest son when he was nine. He's 13 now(at the time I am pulling this out of the archives he is almost 15 and still doing very well! Great kid), and I couldn't be happier that we opened up the subject so long ago.
I knew it would be an important talk, but I didn't want it to seem like a big or traumatic deal. I wanted it to be simply dad sharing with his son an important, but natural part of his life. We simply had a day together and while taking a walk I explained it to him. He had grown up in a church atmosphere, so this was all new to him. He took in this new knowledge of me though, and I would like to think that he assimilated it as easily as he did because I had worked to have an open and trusting relationship with him before the topic ever came up. So this was just new information about dad, that's all. At probably my best moment in the discussion I told him that for some people it was just more natural to fall in love with people of the same gender. And that dad was one of those people.
I could see the wheels turning in his head, but he smiled and shrugged and digested this. I also told him that some people didn't understand; people like his grandmother, who had good intentions, but who was angry at me for hurting her daughter, his mother. And that his grandparents have a belief, unshared by me, that being gay was some kind of lifestyle choice, a choice condemned by god. I told him that some people were people were haters, and he seemed to know that much already, but I assured him that some people, like his grandparents were just upset by it because they couldn't understand. Because it was so different.
He shrugged his shoulders, looked into my eyes and said, "But Dad, everybody's different." I have to laugh at this point because poor smokey has heard this story so many times now. But that moment was a huge relief to me. I think he already knew that there was some unspoken tension between mom and dad, and he seemed relieved to know what it was, and that it was nothing worse than this.
Kids are emotional barometers, capable of detecting far more than we give them credit for. The rest of that beautiful day was one of the best days we had ever spent together. I think it was a load off of both our minds. Now we've been able to get past this supposedly big deal and just get on with the more important task of growing up... both of us.
Read more stories like this at Gay Fatherhood!