To Kaedee, formerly Katie:
You were unique from the moment you joined us. We had hopes and dreams for our baby-to-be, only to be told you’d suffered severe oxygen deprivation at birth. But together we fought, we learned what we needed to know, and today you’re our star A student, beautiful and perfect in every way. You have scars and a couple of challenges, but you’re still perfect as far as I’m concerned.
When you came out to us, the only thing that surprised me was how shaken I was. I’ve had tons of gay friends, still do, and thought having a gay child would not be a big deal. And it wasn’t – it didn’t change how I loved you, how I saw you, how I felt about you. But it did scare me.
Now, all of a sudden, you were vulnerable again, just like that baby in the ICU. We live in a part of the country where people say the most horrendous things about homosexuals, and I worried that you’d be hurt. Physically. Emotionally. And there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it.
I can’t call someone and get help. I can’t read books and learn what to do and do it to make things better. You have to travel this road alone for the rest of your life. There will always be people who hate you for who they want you to be, not who you are. People who don’t bother to know all your wonderfulness because of this one thing. Some of them will be so hurtful, and there’s nothing I can do.
So I was shaken. Had to figure out how to handle it. Not sure who is safe to confide in, so I can’t tell a friend for support. Don’t know how to find out if you’re being bullied, or hurt, or whatever, you’re too proud to tell me. I want you to have all the things I have always wanted for you – the warmth of good friends, the love and acceptance of that special someone, the unbounded love and joy that is children. And I worry that those things will be harder for you to find than if you were straight.
The dating pool is a little slim here, everyone being in the closet around here, so I worry that you won’t have those formative relationships we all have when we’re young that help us learn about choosing partners. If you manage to find someone to love for life, you can’t get married in this state. Children will be complicated, especially if you aren’t married. Maybe you won’t even want children. That would sadden me, straight or gay.
I know you will find a way to navigate all this, with the grace and style that God gave you. I’m not as scared now, you seem to have a good handle on who should know, who knows but just doesn’t want to acknowledge, and who needs to be kept in the dark. I discovered that you’d show me the way to do this, and that I could trust you to know yourself.
Thank you for coming out to us, and sharing your true self. Thank you for trusting us to continue to love you. Thank you for leading us through the thicket of prejudice.
We will do everything we can to help you find a full and authentic life. If it means sending you a thousand miles away to a community that will not revile you but welcome you. If it means understanding that raising children is just not your thing (though your father told me he didn’t want kids either when we first met...). If it means all I can do is wrap you in my arms and tell you I love you every day.
If all I can do is write you a letter. I’ll do it.
Because I love you.