I’m Abby Fink and I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I recently came out to my grandfather.
He was kind of the last one in my family to know. His name is Irving and he’s this old, 90-year-old little Jewish man, who still lives in Minneapolis, where I’m from. And he lives in this apartment complex with all of his old buddies from the old neighborhood and every time I’m home, I make sure to visit him and have a meal with him. Have dinner. Have lunch with him.
I’m pretty close with him. I call him every couple of weeks. And usually, we have a phone conversation and he asks how New York is, or school, or wherever we are. And in every single conversation, he’s like, “Do you have a boyfriend? Do you have a boyfriend yet? Where’s your boyfriend?”
I’m always like, “No, Grandpa. I don’t have a boyfriend. I don’t have enough time.” And I make up an excuse, “I’m studying.” Whatever.
And recently, just recently, since I started moving to New York, which is almost a year ago, he started asking me, “Do you have a boyfriend?” And then at the end, he’d be like, “Well, do you have a girlfriend?”
And it was kind of like this new thing, and I wasn’t quite sure if it was because I moved to New York, or because he started catching on that I was 24 and never had a boyfriend. And I would still always chuckle and didn’t want to come out to him on the phone and didn’t really know how to react.
And so I made a trip home with my girlfriend over Labor Day weekend a couple of months ago. And I brought her to Minnesota and I sat down with my dad, and I was like, “Dad, what do I do?”
And he was like, “What’re you talking about? She’s going to come with. She’s coming to lunch.”
And I was like, “Okay. What do I call Reni?”
And he was like, “You’ll call her your girlfriend because you need to come out to Irv. You need to come out to your grandpa.”
And I was like, “Oh. Okay.”
So we actually went to go have lunch with him the day that we were leaving, so I was at home for four days and it was the last thing that I had to do. It was the last thing that I had to accomplish and it was on my mind, and I was putting it off sort of and I didn’t know what to say, and I finally decided to go have lunch with him before I took my flight.
He loves sushi, so we picked up sushi. We get to his apartment and somehow Reni, my girlfriend, is holding this gigantic platter of Sushi and she is the first one through the door of the apartment. And my grandpa has no idea who she is. My grandfather has never met her before, has never seen her face, doesn’t know who she is in the whole wide world. And she walks in with this platter of sushi in her arms.
And my grandfather’s kind of like, “Who’s this? Who is this girl? Who is she married to? Is this…” you know, rifling off my brother’s names, thinking she was married to one of them. And then, I don’t know, he wasn’t even saying anything that was relative to the situation
So she walks in and she’s kind of like, “No… I’m Reni!” and doesn’t really say anything.
And my dad is like, “This is actually Abby’s girlfriend.”
And she and I both made eye contact at the same time, and we’re both like, “Surprise!” at the same time. Like, simultaneously. And everyone kind of chuckled, and then there was like this long pause. They were all kind of like waiting for him to respond.
And he just goes, “I love it!” And that was kind of it. And that started off the lunch and got it out in the air, and we sat down and had sushi and talked with my grandfather.
And they got along really well and at the end of lunch we just sort of – I went up to say goodbye to my grandpa, “See you next time. I don’t know when I’ll be back but I’ll see you soon. I’ll call you in a week.” And he was just kind of really gung-ho about it and really open and he asked us if we were really good to each other, and he asked us if we good for each other, and if we were happy, and we were just like, “Yes, everything’s wonderful.” And that was kind of it.
My family is really important to me and being open to my family and being who I am around them is very important. And I think that I felt much better after I took that leap with my grandfather and I felt close with him and I felt honest with him. It was hard because I was definitely considering just putting off the situation. And I think that that is probably the mentality that a lot of people have when it comes to coming out to their grandparents. Maybe they’re from a different time period. Maybe they’re going to die soon, which is a little, you know, maybe that’s the situation.
I would definitely recommend that people should trust themselves. And people have the opportunity to get closer with their grandparents and be honest and create that relationship with them. And I think that they should take it rather than wait.
I would do it again in a heartbeat. I wish I would have done it sooner, for sure.