We loved you before we even met you. And once we laid eyes on your chubby cheeks and tiny nose, our hearts pulsed with that love. You have brought us so much joy, even through these rough years, and we know you will continue to do so.
We will support you in whatever you do and whoever you are and no matter what you identify as.
We’ve always believed in letting you follow your own path. But to be honest, we thought it would be about who your friends are, to participate in sports or dance, career choices, to get married or not, or to have children.
We never imagined it would be about that you’re neither boy nor girl.
I will admit we are a little reluctant to fully accept this.
It’s not that we would love you any less or think you are less of a person. We want you to be sure this is you.
You have a habit of diving headfirst into interests until it consumes you. You soak every aspect of it in until one day, it’s gone. We want to be sure this isn’t one more thing you immerse yourself into, then one day, decide it’s not you.
We want to make sure you’re not just following your friends. We know a lot of them identify as something other than heterosexual. We have no problem with that. Each one of them is a good person, and we’re glad you found such kind-hearted friends.
We also know that maybe you have been friends with this group for many years since maybe all of you have felt different and have flocked together as to not feel alone and knowing you all accept each other no matter what.
You have always been our little girl even as you grow taller than me. For years, we watched you play with Barbies, dress up as Elsa and sing along with “Let it Go.” You would change your clothes four times a day to wear another pretty outfit. But now you want to hide under baggy clothes and pull hoodies over your gorgeous hair.
You don’t want us to refer to you as “her” or “she” anymore. Instead, you want us to say “them” and “they.” Understand why we have an extremely hard time with this. Them and they reference multiple people. It was beaten into our heads by every English teacher we ever had. I’m somewhat of a grammar nerd, so this makes my brain hurt. Even though it seems as teens do suffer from multi-personalities, you are still one person.
Maybe your generation can come up with new pronouns for those like you. Possibly “shim” or “herm.” Yes, I realize they sound absurd, which is why I will leave it up to your community to address this issue.
You came up with a new name you would like to be called. Please understand how much this hurts our hearts. In the months before you were born, your father and I poured over baby names, made a list, picking the perfect one. We love your name and believe it fits you wonderfully.
We don’t want you to label yourself until you’re a hundred percent sure. And maybe you are. Maybe you’ve been struggling with this for years, and we were too blind to see. But we also know these years can be confusing and overwhelming as you try to find your place in the world.
As you come into your own, we are trying to understand that how we see you is not how you see yourself. And that is OK. Please be patient with us as we learn to adapt.
We must allow you to follow who you are for you to find true happiness. And after all, isn’t that what every parent wants for their child?
Mom and Dad