“This app is taking forever to load,” my 10-year-old son Chase said as I was driving. It was just the two of us in the car and he was fiddling with his iPhone*.
“What app is it?” I asked. He isn’t supposed to download anything unless he has our permission.
“It’s called Grindr,” he said. I nearly crashed the car.
“You can’t download that,” I said quickly, full of panic and resisting the urge to reach over and snatch the phone out of his hands. I was certain the app would load faster than any app has loaded in the history of all apps and his profile would be automatically complete and naked selfies of men would flood his phone and his brain.
“I can download it; it’s just taking forever,” he said.
“No. I mean you aren’t allowed to download it. I’m saying no. You’re not old enough and, besides, you didn’t ask for permission.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said. He hates even remotely feeling like he is somewhat near being in trouble.
“It’s okay. Why do you want to download that app anyway?” My panic was fading a little.
“I was looking through lists of the top iPhone apps and I saw that they had a list of the top LGBT apps and that’s so cool that they even have LGBT apps. I wanted to show my support and Grindr was the top LGBT app, so I wanted to download it to show my support for everybody who is LGBT and let Apple know that they should make more LGBT apps,” he explained.
Chase is the best person I know. When he’s old enough, and if he goes that route, some person on a dating app would be lucky to meet him.
“That’s very sweet. That app is for adult gay men who are looking for friends and boyfriends,” I explained.
“That’s cool,” he said.
I reminded him about the rules that came with his phone – including no downloading apps without approval from Matt or me.
Later, when we had a moment to ourselves, I told Matt that our son was loading Grindr to his phone.
Then, I called my brother to tell him.
Chase had the best intentions in mind…and he had a $30 iTunes gift card burning a hole in his pleather wallet. You see, Chase’s birthday is today, May 7. My first-born son, the one who made me a mother, is 11 now. Yesterday I took him on a lunch date. I watched him eat his hamburger. I just stared and stared and stared. He is beautiful to me. I could watch him forever. But he doesn’t want me to. I embarrass him.
He’s a tween. He has a playoff football game this weekend. After much prodding, he asked for a leather jacket and a coffee mug for his birthday. He wants steak for dinner. I took him to buy new sneakers; he now wears a size bigger than mine. I’m helping him become self reliant, but dread the day he leaves the nest. I love that he loves all people and wants to support the LGBT community. He just can’t show his support by downloading Grindr.
How would you suggest an 11-year-old boy who identifies as straight show his support for the LGBT community?
*To some, the fact that my 11-year-old has an iPhone will be the thing that sticks out to them most in this blog post. I explain myself only to avoid receiving a shit-ton of comments and emails voicing disapproval of this. Chase does not ask for anything. Ever. We have to beg him to write Christmas and birthday wish lists. This past Christmas, the only thing he asked for was an iPhone. We were eligible to get one free from our wireless provider, so we did. And, we gave it to Chase. He deserves it. He’s the awesomest. End of story. Thank you for your concern.