tales from the surviving straight spouse


I start with a new therapist tomorrow.  Not for me, but for my 13 year old (son#3).  So much is weighing on him:

  • father who is gay, but pushing the Catholic Church agenda
  • older brother who can’t stop talking or apparently shaving parts of his body that have no business being shaved
  • parents who haven’t settled down into divorcehood
  • and the hormonic symphony of adolescence (cue Timpani)

I wish I could just travel with my own genogram and say “here you go, call me with questions.”  Instead I will tell the tale.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve told that tale.  I will hear the usual “Wow, that’s a lot” “Your sure do have a lot on your plate” or maybe just the blink blink and moving on the the next section.  It actually starts to get fun – cause it is a psychologist’s/geneticist’s wet dream. Then the “oh, shit this is a real person, not a case study” sets in and we get down to business.  How do we muddle through this shit and come out okay in the end?

July 3rd was my aunt’s 90th birthday.  She looked great!  We had a party at my brother’s house around the pool.  I stayed in the pool most of the time to avoid the family drama.

It worked out, until we sat down to eat.

“I wouldn’t go to Puerta Vallarta, it’s too gay.”

“How do you know it’s too gay?”

“Because of all the music they play there.  Gays love music”

A roar of laughter erupts.

“Yeah, I want a straight vacation.”

Son#3 looks at me from across the table.  His face is blank but his eyes show the hurt.

“Shall we swim?”

“YES!”  he jumps from the table and we get back in the pool.

He has medium brown eyes that express a lot, if only people would take the time to truly look into them.  Nobody makes time to really look at each other any more.  It’s as if there is a cursory examination – like searching a supermarket shelf for the exact brand and size of feminine product.  Have you been down those aisles?  Geez – too many choices!

“They forget your dad is gay,” I say.  “I’m sorry.”

“It’s not just that.  Why does it have to be so funny?  Why is it even discussed?”

“Because they ran out of bad things to say about Obama?”

Now, he is laughing.

I wish I could wash it all away.  I can’t though.  Tomorrow is Ms. Peach.

I hope she helps him make it to adulthood without too much resentment.

He is a key to tolerance.  His entire life is a lesson of tolerance.  I want him to know how awesome and unique he is.  I want him to learn to take his anger, expel it creatively and never let it fester inside.

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