I understand that many kids have a coming out story to their parents; a moment pregnant with tension or anxiety where parents come to a new awakening about who their child is. We never had that dramatic moment with Brendan. We simply watched him come into himself, the boy we had long suspected he was for as long as he had been. When Brendan shared with us at the age of 14 that he was, in fact, gay, we hugged him and told him he was exactly who God made him to be. To be honest, we suspected this was coming so I had a bit of time to practice in my car talking to myself before the big day arrived! I told him that while it can be hard to be different, it is important to be PROUD. I also asked if it was ok if I wore a rainbow flag so the world knew how proud I was of his courage for being true to himself.
Brendan has ALWAYS been different. As a toddler, he wanted to wear glitter sneakers. He would pilfer through friends’ dress-up boxes and don the flashiest dress. His self-portrait in pre-K reflected that he wanted to be a “princess who drove a train” as a long-term goal (he has since moved on to a more practical, professional aspiration). He carried a Hello Kitty lunch box to 1st grade. In short, Brendan has always been so very GAY and that fact was obvious to anyone who knew him. People in the community have at times remarked about how lucky Brendan is to have a family like ours who accepts and loves him for who he is. How on Earth is that even noteworthy? We have done NOTHING special. EVERY kid should get that.
As his parents, it is we who have been the lucky ones. Brendan is now a confident, happy, strong 17-year-old boy on the cusp of manhood. He has hit all of the metrics of success that would make any parent proud to call him their kid, but that’s not what we admire most about him. Watching him step out into the world as a teen and be able to say, “This is who I am. I own it. Like it, vilify it, or reject it. I’m me and I’m good”, has offered us a chance to witness a daily act of courage. Watching him grow into his own, being brave enough to be who he is, that is what makes us so very PROUD. The blessing has indeed been ours.