To my charismatic son, who brings a burst of energy with him wherever he goes and who has recently discovered swordfighting...
...and to my inquisitive daughter, who thinks underwear make splendid hats and is madly in love with Dora the Explorer,
You are growing up so quickly in a world struggling through change. There are still people out there who think it is best for other people to lie about who they are, who want those who are different to shut their mouths and hide from public sight. I am not one of those people, so don't be afraid to be yourself around me. I don't care who you love, as long as that person treats you with the respect and kindness everyone deserves.
You are very young and I admit I do not know you yet. I know your baby-selves, your toddler-selves, but I have no idea who you will grow to be. I don't know what your interests will be, how your personalities will grow, or what kind or people you will be attracted to. As long as you're not hurting yourselves or others, you have my support to be who your heart tells you to be.
I don't know where your life will take you. Will you want your hair short or long, wildly colored or natural? Will you set fashion trends or dress for comfort? Will you want to be an astronaut or a dancer, a chef or a doctor, a rock star or an engineer? Will you want to play soccer or chess or violin? I will nurture your interests even when they differ from my own because I want you to find what you are good at and what makes you happy and use that to create your own fulfilling life.
I don't know where your love will take you. Who will you plaster in poster form on your bedroom walls? Who will you scrawl secret love notes to in your diary? Who will you ask to your high school prom, and will you want to wear a skirt or pants? Will you choose to marry, will you have children, will you grow old with the same person you loved when you were young or wait until you are older to settle down? I'll help you tape your posters to the wall, giddily take pictures of you with your prom date, dance with you at your wedding, and will support you in any way you need as you make a life with the person you love more than you ever dreamed possible.
Respect yourself and others. Be fearless. Be bold. Be yourself. Never lie about who you are to appease others. Most importantly, love. Platonic or romantic love, male or female or outside or in-between, surround yourself by the people you love and who love you in return, and never let anyone drag you down. If someone tries to hurt you, that person isn't worth your love so leave him or her behind and find a person who is worthy of you.
I hope by the time you are grown up the world has grown up with you. Your parents and much of their generation are striving to make the world better for you. We've come a long way, but still have a bit farther to go, so I hope you forgive us if progress ends up being slower than we hoped. Minds are slow to change and there are still a lot of people who think it is their right to force their personal biases on the rest of society. It's difficult to change tradition, even if the tradition is unjust and cruel. It's time to create new traditions so our children will never again be tormented or denied rights because of who they love.
For now, I want you to grow, learn, play, dream, and laugh. Become the wonderful person I know you will be. A better world will be waiting for you when you grow up.
I love you always,