It’s becoming clear that our daughter not having a kindergarten assignment is pushing buttons I wasn’t fully aware of.
Of course I am annoyed for her sake, having to make one more transition in a life that’s had too many. And it’s a pain as her parents, not having a school assignment. We can’t set up afterschool, plan our school year’s hours, or know much about what it’s going to look like. Missing the PTA and parent meet-and-greet and first week social events leaves us out for now. We’re not a part of this big event that’s happening, and don’t know where we’ll fit in. But we will. A 2-week delay in meeting the other kindergarten parents will not really mean much in the long run. Our daughter will make friends and meet other kids and families, and so will we. It will happen.
So it’s upsetting me—and it is really upsetting me!—at some deep level that must be a wound about exclusion and feeling separate. Was it being left out in elementary school sports? Or feeling like a loner as I realized there was something different about me in junior high school?
I thought I’d gotten over those early feelings of differentness. In fact in the last 5 or 10 years, and definitely since having kids, there are times I’m not even sure I’m still gay. I mean I’m definitely gay, as anyone who knows me no doubt can attest. But my life is so fully integrated with the wider world in work, social life, and other families of all sorts that being gay does not mean what it used to. It’s not one of the top 5 things I’d tell you about myself at a party. Or rather, I’d tell you about my family, and you’d put together that I’m gay, but calculating the how and when of “coming out” doesn’t happen anymore. I’ve kind of forgotten what it was like (and I was lucky in life; blessed with accepting and loving family and friends). I can hardly remember back when I was a little intimidated by straight guys, afraid of how they’d react to me. When I’d think twice, or three times, about whether to tell a client about my “personal life.” The world, or rather this little bubble I’m blessed to live in, has completely changed and I’m so grateful for it.
But this awful week of feeling rejected, ignored, and sidelined by the school district lets me know the scars are still there. And I’m guessing just about everybody has them. I mean, feeling left out is hardly just for pre-Obama-and-Modern-Family homosexuals. A straight friend told me recently that having a daughter in elementary school made him realize he’s no longer afraid of fourth graders. They can’t bully him, and in fact they seem so young and unsure, even the mean ones.
So maybe even in this wound, I’m finding myself more a part of the wide world rather than separate from it. And what a lovely difference that is.
Lesson learned. Now we just need to get our daughter into a damn school and kindergarten class and get on with it!