My sweet boy Liam,
I realize open letters may seem cliché and are so often over-used. But that seems somewhat inconsequential. I have so much to say to you and even in this very public forum, I find that what I have to say would possibly be a shame to not share with people alike. Here’s the thing. You are perfect. You are my sun and my shining star. When you were born you changed our lives in so many ways. Your father and I became parents and we knew that everything as we knew it would be different. By the time you read this (which I do hope you do someday) you will probably know that your mom is a bit of a planner. I wish I had the ability to wait and be surprised with things, but I was always the little girl that searched for her Christmas presents (I still am). So when we found out we were pregnant I had to know what sex the baby would be. After all, how in the world would I be able to decorate a nursery and buy clothes without knowing the sex! At 12 weeks we asked for a sneak peak and were told we had a 50% chance you were a boy (HA)! But on that 20th week we found out for certain that you had those little man parts and a boy would enter our world. Let the “blue” shopping begin! I had never had a brother and had no idea what to expect. Do we buy cars and boy things? Do we start taking stock in superheroes? Who knows? So we chose to let you make those decisions. And BOY was I glad we did. Where am I going with this you ask?
It turns out you didn’t like cars (sure you will push them around sometimes but they never appealed to you when given the choice). From the day you started showing your personality you always gravitated to less “boy-like” toys altogether. Questions started to arise and most importantly we wanted to be sure that we were on the same page with the way we wanted to raise you.
Do we support your love for tutus, princess dresses, barbies, mermaids, poneys, and really anything pink or purple? Yes, yes we do. In fact, f*&$ yeah, we do.
So let’s get this straight. We love you, and we will ALWAYS support you for whatever choices you make.
But that doesn’t mean we haven’t also wondered what this all means. The day you started showing your love for tutus I can’t tell you how much time I spent on the Internet researching “my son likes tutus, is he gay?” (Again, always the “planner”). Turns out it doesn’t mean that at all and the truth is I couldn’t care less what your sexual preference is. What I am afraid of, as a mom, is that who you become and what your choices are will be dictated also by society. I want to shield you from the pains that come from being different, I want you to live the same accepted life as any person (straight or gay), and I want you to flourish and continue to grow into the amazing person that you are. I want you to feel comfortable and able to express yourself however different that may be. I never want you to be judged, and I can only hope that by the time you are older this won’t matter. Unfortunately, I already see it happening.
You are only 4, but there are kids in your class that ask why you wear dresses. I have colleagues tell me that I need to “stop” this behavior and teach you that it’s not, in fact, OK to express yourself in a dress because other kids can be cruel. Maybe they have good intentions, or maybe they are just ignorant. Good intentions or not, I can’t stop people from questioning who you are. But I can help you by telling you how awesome you are and how wrong everyone else is that says otherwise. Why should we stop you from being yourself? Isn’t that teaching you to hide and pretend to be something and someone that you aren’t? Why would we want that for you?
And hopefully, our support and love will be enough for you to stay confident in your choices. I fear the day you realize other people may not find your choices acceptable and hope that we can prepare you to stand up for yourself in every way possible.
You are amazing. You are sweet, warm, caring, and have a heart of gold. I love that you love feminine things. I think it’s silly that girls can wear boy dress up clothes and no one bats an eye but you can be judged just for wearing a dress. Dresses are fun, twirling is fun, nail polish is fun, the list goes on. It doesn’t mean anything and I’m pretty sure if your dad had the same dress-up bin he would have chosen the same awesome choices you have. You share in his amazing sensitive heart and warming soul. I’m so lucky to have you both and not just typical boys that play sports and beat each other up. So here is my point:
Don’t ever be anyone other than WHO YOU ARE!
Your dad and I both want you to know that we want nothing other than your happiness. For you to shine however you were made to and that no matter what we do not, in a million years, want you to lose WHO you are. You are different, and that is what makes you so special. If you want to wear dresses until you are 50 or until you are 5 that doesn’t matter to us. What matters more is that you don’t ever listen to the people who tell you that you need to be just like them.
Your individuality is what makes you YOU. So grasp that and love who you are. We sure do!