As a young father I often found myself trying to be creative during the long drive from Nanny's & Poppy's house out in the country and my home in the city. My daughter Kennedy and I made this drive several times a week and by the age of 3 those toddler questions were becoming more frequent and in all honesty more irritating. "Daddy why is the sky blue?" "Daddy where do clouds come from?" etc etc.
One bright sunny day, the clouds were full and the cars, bikes and joggers were aplenty on the roads. I decided that instead of the endless mind numbing question from her majesty in the carseat I would create a game. I told Kennedy to count every red car she saw until we got home, silently in her head and when we got home we would see how close our numbers were. Well, she was thrilled with this game as she was and still is quite the competitor! About 5 mins into the very quiet drive she seemed very much into this game.
At this point in my life I was in a great relationship with a great guy. He was great with Kennedy and she seem to really enjoy him too. I never told her I was gay but I certainly never hid it from her. I guess I was waiting for her to talk to me and ask any questions she might have...
Then there was that day in the car. Halfway home and about 10 mins into the game, the sun still shining bright on her pretty squinting face. I looked into the rear view mirror and our eyes locked.
"Daddy" she said. "Yes" i responded. "Do you love Barry?" Well i felt like the bottom dropped out of me. Here she was, 3 years old asking me if I loved my gay boyfriend. I promised myself that I would never lie to her about this. This was the turning point in our father/daughter relationship. "Yes Kennedy, I love him very much." "Yeah, I could tell." She said smiling, looked out the window and continued to count the red cars... Kennedy never did think there was anything wrong or different about it, in fact i think at once point she thought all dad's had boyfriends. One thing is for sure, she is honest, non-judgemental and the most beautifully pure person I know. She is now 14 and I thank her everyday for that question she asked me back in the car on that lovely summer day. She taught me what love was all about. Kids do that. a lot.