Though you have barely been imagined, though you have not yet been yearned for and you don’t have a star in the sky I point to and call yours, I am writing you this letter because my heart is heavy with the world today. Someday, when you are here, and running barefoot in a green backyard and I am watching you with my feet in a blue plastic kiddie pool filled from the hose, I might remember this letter. Someday when you are dripping in hormones and slamming me out of your bedroom (like I did to my mother) I might slip this under your door.
I may not know if you are gay, or straight, or transgender, or if you don’t believe in labels. You may not know who you are yet either, and that is wonderful too. None of these things change the part of me that is also a part of you. The part of me that gave birth, or adopted, or fostered you into the person you are now, the part of me that heaves in pain with you in one breath, cries out with joy in the next.
Whoever you are, I hope I have already instilled in you these things. I hope that the children around you, the world around you, and the men that you look to, do not view things the way they do now. I hope, and I pray daily, that the world you will live in has changed for the better.
I hope that we are not afraid to talk about sex. To talk about those feelings, and to talk about it safely. I hope that you can plop down with me at our kitchen table while I make dinner and ask me embarrassing questions and share your fears and confusions. I hope I have answers, and patience, and love. I hope the words I write next will make you want to talk about it, will make you feel a little uncomfortable, and will give way to good dialogue:
It is not okay to pressure anyone into doing something they don’t want to do, or are too impaired to do, or are hesitant about.
It is not okay to touch someone, under any circumstance, unless you have express permission.
It is not okay to use social media to shame someone, or bully them, or to hurt them.
It is not okay to call a woman a bitch, a slut, or a whore. It is not okay to call someone retarded, it is not okay to use the multitude of racial epithets that exist, and it is not okay to discriminate. It is important to recognize your own biases, and to fight against them and listen to others when they tell you they are hurt by what you say.
If you are scared, or someone is too drunk, or high, or passed out, and you aren’t sure what to do, call me. I promise to come get you no matter what.
It is not okay to rape someone and it is not okay to take advantage of them: not when they are drunk or high, not when they are too young or too weak to fight back, not when you feel as though you are going to burst out of your skin if you don’t. This is always YOUR choice: no matter what they may have done in the past, no matter how many people they have had sex with or even if they promised to have sex with you, no matter if they are drunk and say they want it, no matter what they are wearing, this is YOUR choice.
It is not okay if any of these things are done to you, either.
Sweet child, you will have many choices to make in your life. Sometimes, you will make the wrong one and there will be consequences you have to live with. There will be days when you feel as though the curtains are being drawn on your life and you can’t go on. There will be days where you don’t know where to let out your feelings, or even how, and all you feel is the gravitational pull of the ocean on your chest. I will love you even on those days, and on the days when you say mean things to me, and on the days when you fail. I will hold you on those bad days, or let you throw paint at a canvass, or break old dishes with you on our deck, or let you cry it out in the shower and pretend I don’t hear.
I hope that you forgive me for all the mistakes I will make too. I hope you still love me even when we fight. I hope, most of all, that the world doesn’t look like it does today.
I love you,