Copenhagen - Arrival Day

After we rested and had the last of our Swedish snacks, we ventured out.  Having read several “Things to Do in Copenhagen” lists, we knew that Tivoli Gardens is a “must see”.  Europe’s oldest amusement park, Tivoli Gardens is a mere 3 blocks from our apartment.  We knew that we would not go tonight, but we wanted to scope out the area and this seemed like a good direction to go.

I am at a loss to describe the following events.  I will attempt to do so nonetheless.

The lighting was transcendent.  The architecture propelled me to the 18th Century.


The massive array of bicycles overwhelmed us.

We noted the majestic chime of the city’s grand clocks, from both churches and city buildings.

And we heard music pounding from a distance.  Since the sounds were reflecting off the massive brick facades, we were initially unable to ascertain their origin.  We chose to stroll to Tivoli unless something else grabbed our attention.

Our attention was most certainly grabbed.

As we approached the park, we came upon a square which was undoubtedly the source of the bass heavy music.  We had been noticing also the throngs of people heading toward the concert/festival.

I have lived in New York, London and Boston.  Susie grew up in Boston and lived in Chicago.  I share this less for biographical reasons than to state that we are not easily rattled. In fact, I suspect that little of what followed would have bothered us much had we been sans children.

Yet we had all four in tow.  It was a robust GLBT celebration.  In fact, a quick Internet search later revealed that this gathering was the largest of its kind in Denmark (or Scandinavia).

Susie and I briefly conferred and came to the following conclusion:

  • This is the year we are traveling to show our children the world
  • The Silver Fox (my mom -  this is her second mention in 4 days!) once told me to assume more intelligence in your children than others do.  In young children, this means using real words and not baby talk.  In tweens and teens, it means addressing what you see.  Since I had boldly declared “lets see what that music is about”, I did not think we could do a u-turn and ignore the Silver Fox’s advice (which I do not do). [Note: I know I am mid-story, but I just have to repeat an observation that I made this summer.  Having attended 10 camp dances this summer with playlists created by 19-22 year olds, I noticed an odd trend: the music that Susie and I danced to as teens is now mega-hip.  Journey, Michael Jackson, Foreigner, Cyndi Lauper, Eddie Money and Aerosmith all made regular appearances at our dances.  Suddenly we are in Denmark.  In 2011.  At a Gay Pride Festival.  And they are playing INXS.  It is as if we have all been transported into MTV circa 1983.]
  • Our children talk about more than we think they do. As a camp owner, I can attest to this.  I almost find it comical how teen campers will occasionally believe that they have learned about things their parents do not know about when in fact the parents have been “protecting” them from these very ideas all along.

With all of this reasoning in mind, We decided to walk through the event.  We said things like “these people have made decisions different from the ones mommy and daddy have made, but they still deserve respect.”  We also said “please do not touch that person, I think he is passed out” and “I smell it too sweetheart,  I am not a fan” and “no, I do not think anyone should wear that outfit either - ever”.

In an odd way, it was a special family experience.  We talked about topics that parents want to broach with their children, but rarely have an intro into.  Suddenly they wanted to know what we thought about a wealth of difficult topics that we wanted to talk about (drugs, monogamy, modesty, etc) – but THEY were asking US.  That means that they would listen to our answers if we shared them.

We then took this opportunity to the next level.  We smiled at them and said “you don’t really care what we think do you?”

Admittedly, this was a touch cutesy. Of course, we were DYING to have them hear our views.  But what better way than to seemingly withhold them?

We had great conversations tonight.  I think we grew even closer.  We also had fun.  I know that our children are less likely to be intimidated by odd situations.  Oh, I think none of our children will ever dress like this guy.

Steve Sir


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