subject line: disappointed in me.

 

atlanta, georgia

Tonight, he looked me straight in the eyes and told me he was disappointed in me. My grandfather. The one who used to tell my cousins and me Bible stories whenever he babysat, the one who used to forward me all those chain emails of funny pictures, the one whose fridge was always full of ice cream, the one who picked us up from school in his beat-up old truck.

I’m at that age where you realize everyone you’ve looked up to your whole life might not be perfect. My grandfather falls shorter of that standard every day. I had a concert at school on my eighteenth birthday, and he and my grandmother drove there, couldn’t find a place to park, and left. Didn’t call me or anything. I had the opening number on my birthday, and they didn’t even show up. I keep getting my hopes up and feeling let down each time. It’s funny, but not really: the main reason that he doesn’t meet my expectations is that I don’t meet his. I will never be the Southern Baptist, uber conservative, hymn-singing granddaughter he wants.

So tonight, when he told me he was disappointed in me, it wasn’t as much a slap in the face as it was confirmation of what I already knew.

Bobby, I’m sorry that I want to eat my food before everyone else sits down because, when you’re eating with ten people, it gets so cold and I get so hungry. I’m sorry that I don’t know your hymns and I don’t want to. I’m sorry that I love gay people. But even as I write these apologies, I know they are not true. I’m not sorry for who I am, even though it’s who you’re disappointed in. You’re breaking my heart every time I see you. You want me to be different; I want you to be different. And the sad reality is, we’ll keep going round in circles like this. The first time someone called you a crotchety old man behind your back, I defended you. Now, I feel like you’re the one attacking me, and it hurts. Why can’t you just accept me for who I am? I love Jesus and I love my friends and I love the kids I volunteer with and I love what I write on my blog, even though your comments always preach at me. I love who I am, and no matter the way you feel about me, you can’t change that.

You’re disappointed in me. I’m disappointed in you. And I don’t think it’s going to change.