Friday 2:53 AM
“Hey dad, I know you probably are asleep right now, but I saw a movie, and it reminded me of you. It’s called Beginners, you might have seen it. I just wanted to say I love you and will always love you no matter what happens. You are the greatest father, and you have taught me how to be a man. Sorry for the late text, but I feel like sometimes I don’t really show how much I appreciate you, and I just wanted to make sure you knew.”
Saturday 7:41 AM
This is the text I woke up to from my son last Saturday morning. How lovely a moment it was. I had never seen the movie Beginners but wanted to know the thing that “awakened” up my son. That afternoon I watched Beginners. I liked the movie, but wondered, what did my son see in the film that so stirred him up? I did not get that answer until last night.
In a phone call with my son last night he described all little moments in the movie seen from a son’s perspective: a father going off to work in the morning and dutifully kissing mother; a son asking his mother, “mom is everything okay with you and dad?”; A father telling his son he was gay.
I had seen the movie from my perspective, the father’s perspective. My son had seen the film through the eyes of the son. The film stirred all sorts of memories and moments he had lived through over the past 18 years. My son did not say this, but I also think the gentle way the father in the movie pushed the son to relax and accept his new lifestyle was beautifully expressed and respectful. I hope some of this rubbed off my son as well.
And then we had an interesting conversation. I encouraged my son to be more out in his own life about me. He responded he did not need to tell people upon meeting them that his dad was gay. It simply was not the central thing in his life. So much for my ego. That said, I think it would be great if he could find people in his world to share what it means to have a gay parent.
I emailed my son last Saturday that I’d seen the movie. I also encouraged him to attend a biweekly discussion group on his college campus, sponsored by the school’s LGBT group for people whose family members identify within lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and queer communities. He wrote me back the following: “Glad you liked the movie. It had a pretty big impact on me and made me think a lot about what’s been going on the past few years. I wish I could go to those meetings, but I have a class at the same time. Hopefully, there’s some other way I can get involved.” I’m not really sure what he has in mind, but it will be interesting to watch his progression from afar.
One of my hopes for my son was that he would have a more liberating experience in college that stretches his perspectives on sexual orientation and gender identity. I’m really thrilled that his’ stretching’ has begun.