Grandparents and Gay Children

Adam was 13 when he told his mother that he is gay. She tried to be supportive, but was unprepared to deal with the idea of her only child making such a profoundly bold declaration. She eventually decided that it was easier to assume Adam was going through some sort of “phase” which would eventually work itself out. After 3 years, having heard nothing further on the matter, Adam’s mother had long since assumed that Adam was over his “phase” and concluded that he’d moved on with the business of growing up.

Adam’s Grandmother, the matriarch of the family (affectionately known to her grand-children as “Gee-Gee”) was the type of person who would simply NOT allow her family to fall victim to scandal or rumor. She was always quick to answer the gossip mill with the “facts” of any matter she felt was a threat to the reputation she so painstakingly had cultured for herself and those she loved. Indeed, Adam’s Grandmother was an excellent figurehead, and truly engaged grandmother of more than 20 grand and great-grand children.

Adam’s mother never told “Gee-Gee” that her son had outed himself as a homosexual. She was far too embarrassed to admit such a thing. Adam was not willing to tell his grandmother that he is gay, but ironically – he didn’t have to. Through her obvious maturity and wisdom in life, she had figured things out for herself.

There was a tradition in “Gee-Gee’s” family, one that she held very dear to her heart. As a wedding gift, she would always present the newlyweds with a new set of silverware. But not just ANY silverware; no, it had to be the best she could find. Sterling silver, gold plated, encased in a hand crafted display case. It was well known in the family, that when a grandchild was married, the silverware gift would come from “Gee-Gee”. Now, in Adam’s case – it was quite likely that there would be no marriage. At the time – same sex marriage was not legal in Canada. But – even though she had never once mentioned Adam’s sexuality to any human soul, upon the 5th anniversary of Adam and his Partner, she presented them with an incredibly beautiful silverware set.

“Gee-Gee” passed away more than a year ago, but not before taking it upon her self to openly welcome Adam’s partner to her family in such fine fashion. Along with the new partner, came 3 step children which “Gee-Gee” treated like her own great-grandchildren. They loved her dearly, and – to this day speak of her with a great deal of love and admiration.

Perhaps one of the best kept secrets of LGB T Community is that of our Grandparents in a support role. Too often we forget that we have such an enlightened and experienced resource in the elder members of our society. Perhaps it is because they have a lesser time investment in the lives of their grandchildren, they are able to see a bigger picture.