Coming Out

Coming Out

It was time to start telling people. Probably past time.

There’s a dull pounding in my ears.

I take a breath, and steady myself. As nonchalantly as possible, I say “Yeah, Jaden’s in kindergarten in the fall…”

Pause. “…Again.”

It’s strange how vividly every time I ever told someone I’m gay flashes before my eyes when I’ve got an even mildly uncomfortable truth to tell. The faux calm, the blurted statement, the waiting for a response.

Among the many things that are ridiculous about this, top of the list would have to be: nobody cares that my son’s doing kindergarten a second time, or thinks it’s a bad idea. Not one parent I’ve told has given me a pitying look, or had anything but genuine support for the move.

Jaden’s the youngest in his class. The pediatric behavioral specialist told me Jaden wouldn’t have qualified for kindergarten in most private schools (who have, I guess, slightly later cutoffs) and that an extra year in K would be a great gift, given where he is right now. The therapist agrees; the learning specialist agrees. Kindergarten has gotten more academic, and this is our culture’s nuttiness, not my kid’s problem. It doesn’t matter that he’s not on grade level. Not one bit. Plus, the magic of the repeat fixes it. He was an immature, ill-prepared almost-first grader, but right on target for kindergarten. Ta-da!

So why such intense feelings? 30 years ago, telling people I was gay was actually a risk. I was generally lucky, but each coming out carried the possibility of rejection. A buddy in high school refused to see me for a year. Straight guys sometimes seemed scared, definitely awkward. A college adviser (a good guy) wondered if I should pursue teaching given the anti-gay laws passing in some states.

But my poor little guy deserves better than my shame. He’s not in any danger. It’s my self worth that’s been tied to being a good student, it shouldn’t be his, whatever kind of student he becomes.

And he’s so very little, we don’t have any idea what kind of student he’ll be. Right now he’s a  good ninja fighter, and scooterer. A natural swimmer. An empathetic big-hearted kid. And a very, very prepared incoming kindergartner. We’re out about it. And proud. Wish me luck keeping my stuff out of it.

2017-05-18T14:44:22+00:00 July 6th, 2016|parenting|9 Comments


  1. Kim July 6, 2016 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    Love love love.

  2. Ira Serkes July 6, 2016 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    Just what Kim said

    I just love this!

    I’ll bet 2nd time’s the charm … and he’ll be a mentor to all the kids since he now knows the ropes!


  3. Karen July 7, 2016 at 9:06 am - Reply

    ❤️❤️❤️ It’s going to be great for him. It is a lovely gift that you’re giving him, one more year of childhood. He is so lucky to have you, J, and Shayla supporting him.

  4. Susan Mautner July 7, 2016 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Hi David,
    I do wish you luck.
    Just what Ira says !

  5. Avril July 7, 2016 at 11:33 am - Reply

    I repeated kindergarten and was top of my class forever after…

  6. David July 7, 2016 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    Thank you everybody! The universally positive reactions to K2 have made it clear we did ok with this decision. Really appreciate the support.

  7. Pam Dobias July 7, 2016 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    You are a great father and the fact that you are perplexed by this decision confirms it!!! Jaden is blessed to call you his father

  8. Melody July 7, 2016 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    He is lucky have parents who don’t push him toward things he is not ready to handle! My sister is a pre-k teacher and she sees that all the time. There is nothing bad about teaching Jaden that sometimes people need extra practice to get something right. Giving him the time to come into his own is a great decision.

  9. Linda Zanides July 8, 2016 at 1:05 am - Reply

    He will do just fine. You are a very loving dad. That speaks volumes.

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