I have something to tell you: I think my son is straight. He is only 3 years old, so it still might be too early to tell.
They say a mom always knows if her son is gay; it's something in her maternal intuition. I say the same holds true for a gay dad, who always knows if his son is straight. This becomes apparent especially when you note how clearly his clothes clash every morning, and how he lacks any sense of color coordination. It's not the trains and cars that fill his world that led me to this conclusion, nor is the fact that he actually enjoys sports; it's just his lack of style and his bad dance moves.
I'm love him just the way he is, don't get me wrong. As a member of an alternative family who was adopted by two men, he is encouraged to accept all people -- let's just say everyone is equal and fill in the blanks with all the other pompous slogans. I'm trying to let him be the boy he wants to be, encourage him to do everything I wanted to do, but couldn't because of my parents always thinking, "what will others say?" And then I failed the test of life just like all the other parents. This overarching question, "what will others say," continues to linger over my head and does, in fact, have an effect on my choices.
It was two weeks ago, when summer finally arrived in full force, that I realized it was time to buy a new pair of Crocs for my son. I picked him up earlier than usual from his daycare, and with thrill and excitement, we went to the shoe store (for those of us who believe that these Crocs are actually considered shoes). Getting new shoes was always fun for me, but apparently not for my dude son, who was upset that we were not going to the playground or to gym class, but instead to a store -- and a shoe store at that, god forbid!
You can't begin to imagine the magical look of these plastics things when they are displayed in lines of bright colors. I told him to pick whatever shoes he wanted from the shelves. He looked and looked and went straight to pink. "I will have the pink ones," he proclaimed. I could hardly breathe.
One would imagine I was thrilled -- my son is picking the color of his heritage! -- but nothing could be further from the truth. I just kept thinking, from all the colors in the store, he HAD to go with the most stereotypical one of all. I could already hear his teachers gossiping about how his gay dads are imposing their lifestyle on the poor boy. I could see in my mind's eye the mothers at the playground telling me with their sour looks, "It's so nice that you let him wear whatever he chooses, but our sons would never wear pink shoes." I was feeling judged -- not for the fact I let my son put these pieces of plastic on his feet, but for their bright pink color. Oh, the shame...
I knew that this was the ultimate test, and all I could say to my son was, "are you sure? Do you want to take another look?" So he did, and after five seconds he dropped the pink ones on the floor and quickly exclaimed, "I want the blue ones." I knew it was too late and that my initial hesitation led me to question his choice of pink. But trying to regain my sense of inner spiritual self, I asked, "Are you sure? You know, you can still get the pink ones if you want."
I really want to be the father that lets his son wear mascara to school; I want to be the father that accepts him for who he is. But, in fact, it seems that I am not going to be this carefree father that allows everything to slide. Maybe it's the Jewish genes that are making me become just like one of the parents I never wanted to be. Who knows?
I guess it's time to accept who I am as a parent, knowing that I will always love him no matter what. I will support him and accept him always, but I hope he doesn't push it -- piercings are out of the question.
I don't want to get an "F" in parenting, so just give me less tests to fail in. Be straight. And be a doctor.