If you are ever out on the streets of Brooklyn, you might hear my family coming. We are the ones with the two boys — one, 4 years old; the other, 21 months — scream-singing “Let It Go” for all to hear. Well, the younger one just repeats the only words he knows to the song” “Let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go.”
Yes, “Frozen” has finally hit our house. A friend gave my kids the DVD last month and we’ve seen it a few times as a treat. By “few” I mean, of course, 19. “Can I watch 'Frozen'?” my oldest, Keith, asks every few days, spurring my youngest, Jason, to chant in his husky toddler voice, “Elsa, Elsa!”
I give in, almost always, because I am secretly a huge fan, too. I wasn’t a Disney kid, as I was too busy emulating my big brother’s appreciation of the “Police Academy” and "Airplane" sagas. In fact, I have seen so few kids’ movies that last week my husband literally asked me, “What did you do your whole childhood?”
So when I watch “Frozen” with the boys, I feel a recapturing of that time. And maybe that’s why I’m dangerously close to becoming a superfan. And I was once a dad who didn’t even let his kid watch “Sesame Street." This past weekend, Keith declared he was done watching — spoiler alert, dads — just as Anna was reaching Elsa’s castle! Without getting up from the couch, I said, “Eh ... okay, why don’t you go play or something?”
The other night I was putting Keith to bed. (We have this really adorable routine where he stalls and stalls as I get closer to tears.) Out of nowhere he asked, “Why is Elsa afraid of her powers?”
Sensing a teachable moment, I took a deep breath and slipped into my “Dad-slash-film-critic voice. “Well, that’s a good question. The troll specifically told her parents that fear would be her enemy, right? But then her mom and dad made her frightened of herself? I mean, jeez. That’s why I always want you to be able to talk to people about your feelings, okay?”
Keith looked at me thoughtfully. “I’m thirsty.”
Thank God he stopped me before I went into my coming out story.
Which raises the question: Have I contracted “Frozen” fever because I am a gay dad? It’s old news now that the filmmakers were accused of orchestrating a mass gay conversion of the world’s youth when the movie came out. And now that I am a “Frozen” fanatic, I’ve had a fine time Googling the backlash like I’m living out some camp sequel to the film. “So, How Gay IS Disney’s Frozen?” is the delightful headline on the personal blog of the “National Catholic Register" film critic. This contribution to cinematic studies must have got a lot of hits, so he presented another treatise: “So, How Gay is How to Train Your Dragon?” (To save you a click: to his well-trained eye, not nearly as gay as “Frozen.”)
That critic’s trusty gaydar would have short-circuited if he saw the four of us out yesterday. Brooklyn had its first snowfall of the season and our children happened to have the day off from school. We went out to explore, with my husband and me soon giving in to carrying each kid on our shoulders. As I hoisted Keith up, he told me “Elsa was here” and that she’d brought the snow. He then launched into her “Let It Go” and sang every word as if it were his anthem.
And he deserves a fight song to strengthen him. At 4, Keith already has to come out all the time, telling people he has a daddy and a papa. He loves showing us off, but it won’t always be so easy. Like Elsa, he will have to choose to be brave and, yes, know that some people will shut him out because of who he is. “I don’t care what they’re going to say,” Keith sings to me in his full, hopeful voice, “The cold never bothered me anyway.”