July 4, 2012
I may be kind of late on this meme, and I know there’s a lot going on at Twitter about the kinds of things people want to say to their children, things they won’t be proud of when they’re looking in the soft, bright eyes of their own progeny and wondering why they thought the things they thought.
I know this will still exist when you’re born and you’re grown. I don’t know when I’ll see you, or how much we’ll know of each other, or who your other parents will be. At least not yet. But I wanted to send you a letter through time with my love, devotion, and respect for you.
Most of all, I want to send you a promise. A promise that I’ll strive every single day to make my world, and your world, better in any way I can. That when you come into this world it’ll be ready for whatever and whoever you want to be. That it’ll be prepared for whatever seeds you want to sow and primed for whatever you want to grow from it. A promise that I will do all I can to make sure the world is beautiful, free, and ready for you. Make sure that there’s as little hatred, disrespect, and fear as possible. That it will be for you what it couldn’t be for me – safe.
I wish I could see your eyes and hear your voice now, when it’s difficult, to know that all of this is going to culminate it something bigger and more important than me. I wish I could hear you tell me about what we’ve done to make the world better from where I’m writing from, what we’ve done to make it easier for you to thrive. Since I can’t do that, at least not yet, I’ll imagine a world for you. The world I want to give you.
In our future, the future I want to give you, you’re a child of a diverse and interconnected family of intelligent, thoughtful and loving people. A chosen family of lovers and friends and confidants that’s stronger than traditional families, that’s built on love and trust and respect. You may be one of many children that are only related by philosophy but you still call each other brother and sister, you’re still my children and I’m still your dad. You’ll always be part of me, even if you don’t carry my genes. This is because I love you, and I’ve loved you since before you were even a possibility. I’ve loved you since I first thought about the concept of a child, of my child, of the child of anyone who wanted me to be a parent to their child. That love is why I want to leave a world better than my own for you. It’s why I cry a little when I think about you in the world I know, rather than the world I want.
The world I want for you doesn’t hate you because you want to be a boy or a girl. Or some other identity that only you know of and only you can name. It doesn’t hate you because you like blue skirts or pink hats or high heels or wearing opera gloves to school. It’s a world where you get to decide who you are and what you are and people embrace you for it, love you for it, and seek to understand you. I want to leave you a world that respects your choice in identity and expression because it’s yours and that doesn’t belong to anyone else. It never can.
The world I want for you won’t hate you no matter who you love. Whether you like boys or girls or other identities that only those people can name and understand, the world won’t look down on you or judge you for it. I want a world where you can love lots of people, different people, any people and everyone knows it’s just love and that’s special. I want to leave you a world where people get married to whoever they want to and they do it for the fun, the party, and the heck of it. I want to leave you a world that respects your choices on who to love and how because they’re your choices and they don’t belong to anyone else. They never can.
The world I want for you won’t judge you if you’re not like other people. No matter how big or small you are, how strong or weak you are, no matter how fast or slow you are, no matter what color your skin is, the world I want for you will respect you and love you. I want to leave you a world that will help you when they’re something wrong and will respect you even if you don’t have the same capabilities as other people. I want to leave you a world that, if you have my neurological differences, you’ll still love and find a place in. I want to leave you a world that respects exactly who you are, who you want to be, and what you’re capable of because those realities are yours and the won’t change, even if the world tries to make them change. They never will.
The world I want for you won’t punish you for being a child, especially for being my child, and will give you the best education you could ever hope for. It will have the perfect job waiting for you and all the most delicious foods and all of the experiences you could ever hope for (and quite a few you never even thought about). The world I want for you won’t limit you because you grew up in the wrong family or the wrong town, won’t limit what you can do because you’re too close or too far away from the things you’re interested in. The world I want for you will be yours because you’ll have every opportunity to be and do anything you want to, like anyone else. Everyone should have that opportunity.
The world I want for you will be free, and equal, and loving. The world I want for you will still be hard, and it’ll still hurt sometimes, but you’ll always have your family, your brothers and sisters, your moms and dads, and, lastly, me to come to when it hurts. When you do, I’ll hold you close and I’ll sit with you and I’ll tell you about how I braved the world I’m in now, and how all of the things I’ve done and all of the stuff I’ve lived through is in you now, and how that makes you strong enough to get through it all. I’ll be there to cry with you, I’ll be there to hurt with you, and I’ll be there to help you up again and make sure you’re steady on your feet again. I’ll still be there, whether it’s easy or hard, as long as I can be. I will be there because I love you. I’ll always love you.
So, to my future child, I hope you get the world I want for you. You might not, you probably won’t get a perfect world, but you’ll at least get me, and your family, and we’ll do all we can to make sure the world is as equal as possible. As loving as possible. As ready as possible.
All we ask of you is that you take our lessons and make sure there’s an even better world for your children, for our grandchildren, so that one day we can have a perfect world.