Tova, my 6-year-old daughter, has been dealing with envy and jealousy a lot lately. As anyone with two kids knows, sibling rivalry is at times unbearable! I honestly wonder how my mom survived with three girls fighting over bathroom space, clothes and boys for 18 years! I do know that all the moms on my block would get together and drink wine (from a box), starting at around 4 PM every day. It was pure 1970s survival drinking.
Lately, Tova has been very interested in who is kissing whom and who is in a relationship with whom. She loves to ask Mommy and Daddy to kiss. Tova deeply loves her friends; she also loves The Jonas Brothers — and she loves Zac Ephron even more. It may also be all the Disney movies she watches, with the prince kissing the princess and things ending happily (well, sort of). Basically, my daughter loves love.
Recently she asked me if her Uncle Scott, who is gay (which both of my kids are aware of; they’ve also met his boyfriend), kissed boys. When I replied, “Yes,” she kind of looked at me sideways with her eyes, pursed her lips and asked, “Hmm. How would he have a baby?” I reminded her that her good friend’s two dads — who are also gay — had adopted their kids. That satisfied her curiosity, for which I was relieved. (I was afraid she was going to ask me about sex, and we were already late for ballet.)
The next week was Valentine’s week, and love was in the air at our house. My son, Asher, was making a valentine for his “girlfriend,” Tammy. Meanwhile, Tova was cutting out hearts to put all over our house for the special mother-daughter tea party we were hosting with the girls from our neighborhood. Asher had just finished his red-painted valentine for Tammy and had gone into the den to play Wii when Tova turned to me and said quietly, “Mom, I am going to be gay with Tammy.”
You see, Tammy is a good friend of Tova’s. She is in Tova’s class in school, but she and Asher have also become good friends. (Actually, they’re boyfriend and girlfriend, but we aren’t allowed to say that in the house, or Asher becomes very angry and makes each of us promise not to tell anyone. We even have to pinky swear.)
Asher is a private person; he’s less open about his relationships than my wonderfully loudmouthed, where’s-the-party Sagittarius daughter is. Tova wants to talk about her relationships and everyone else’s. I can only imagine what she might say to her teacher about her mommy and daddy’s relationship! Something like, “My daddy said to my mommy that if she doesn’t stop shopping at Target, we are going to have to sell the house!” would be applicable.
As a psychologist who works with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender clients, I am completely open to and aware of the fact that either of my children might end up not being straight. So when Tova said, “I want to be gay with Tammy,” I thought, OK, I can deal with this one. I said, “Really? What do you mean, you want to be gay with Tammy?”
“I want to marry her and we will both wear big white dresses and we will be gay,” she replied.
So I said, “Tova, you can love and marry whomever you want,” and she said, “Okay, but Asher might get mad” — and I just let that one go.
All week long, Tova told me, her dad, our babysitter and (repeatedly) Asher these exact words: “I am going to be gay with Tammy.” To which Asher simply made no comment. He was truly unaffected by it. Seriously, she said it over and over and over.
We finally realized what was going when she walked into the kitchen and said to my husband and me, “Just so you know, Tammy says she is going to marry Asher, but after the wedding she is going to ask for a divorce so she can be gay with me!” And stomped off.
My husband, Michael, turned to me, poured his cup of coffee and said, “I think our daughter is spitefully gay.” I choked on my coffee, laughing, and realized that he was totally right. Tova was being spitefully gay! Tova was really wanting to feel more secure about her friendship status (what better way than to be the one to marry her?) with Tammy, and had felt threatened by Asher giving Tammy a valentine. Let’s face it: She’d been trying to rub it in his face all week! It did seem slightly mean for Tammy to actually marry Asher and then immediately ask for a divorce so she could be gay with Tova. That smacked of cruel and unusual punishment! Tova being gay with Tammy was actually just good old sibling rivalry — jealousy and revenge playing out before our eyes.
Tova’s spitefully gay streak seems to have waned lately, but Michael and I have decided that at her wedding — whether there will be two brides or a bride and groom — it will give us a funny story to share with our guests.