By: Ted Peterson
When I came out to my parents, my dad said thanks for letting him know, and to his credit, kept the car he was driving at that moment from careening off County Road 30 into Lake Montauk. My mom first wanted to know if I was seeing anyone. When I said I wasn’t, she said that I should, because life is better when you’re sharing it with
someone. She also said that it was a shame that I wasn’t straight, because I would have smart, cute kids.
Ten years after that conversation, they’re happy that I snagged someone awesome and even managed to become a dad of a smart, cute kid.
My parents thought that by my being gay they would escape all sorts of mawkish, maudlin traditions that they themselves had managed to avoid. For example, weddings. My parents eloped, and they thought that the least someone who couldn’t legally get married would do is follow their example. But no, Ian and I had to have a ceremony and tea for 75 in our backyard, and my mom and dad showed up and were cheerful about it. At least, they figured, we weren’t doing the whole hokey Christmas thing.
And then we did it. We got a pine tree in our living room, and we got stockings over the fireplace, and if someone didn’t tell us about the saturated fat and cholesterol in egg nog, we might have done that too.
We’ve gone round the bend from the holiday traditions in my parents’ house. When I tell people that, growing up, I didn’t have a Christmas tree, or stockings, or egg nog, or carols, or tales of St Nicholas, or boughs of holly, fa la la la la la la la la, they look at me with raw, naked horror. I’d explain that we’d escape the Ohio winter somewhere warm, the Caribbean or Florida, and one year, Egypt, but still, nothing but pity for me missing out on fruitcake and wassail (whatever that is).
I don’t have to escape anymore. I live in Los Angeles, a city with no discernible winter, where children don’t have snowball fights, or make snow angels, and adults seldom slide off the icy freeways into fiery wrecks, the pink hues of which blend gorgeously in the sky with the glorious aura borealis.
Yet, while I flirted with the high holidays in the days before I became a dad, now I’ve gone from Scrooge to Fezziwig*.
This weekend, we’re putting up lights, and the following one, we’re getting a tree. My parents are fine with that, because they know it makes Mikey happy. We had signs of it happening before, but in the words of Jonah Goldberg, we’ve become full-fledged Homosexual Bourgeois, or HoBos.
Maybe when he’s six or seven, we ditch all this and go to Buenos Aires at the end of December. We’ll see.
*Reread A Christmas Carol if you’re not sure who this is. Or watch The Muppet Christmas Carol, where he is called Fozziwig. Wocka Wocka Wocka.