Dear Ophelia, Every once in a while when talking with your dad I will start a sentence with "If I die soon, you have to remember to..." This usually illicits an eyeroll or two from your dad who doesn't have the same morbid hangups as I do but who also isn't as much of a planner as I am. True, there's not much potential for my early demise; I'm young, I eat well, exercise, look both ways when crossing the street and floss between my teeth (sometimes). But now that you are here what I leave behind feels that much more important so if in fact some unforeseen tragedy does happen to me I want a contingency plan in place. That's why lately I've been thinking more critically about what is most pertinent that I write to you in this blog. What if this blog was all you had left of me to refer to as you grow up? What would I want you to know about the world around you, about the ideals I sought to instill in you and the person I hoped you would become.
I think it goes without saying that I have high hopes for you, dear daughter. Your name, Ophelia, means "helper" and from the time we chose it for you I knew you would be a true humanitarian, the kind of person that truly gives a damn about others. Don't worry, I don't expect you to join the Peace Corps or anything (although I'd be even prouder of you if you did) but I know that you will take very seriously the upholding of human dignity. That being said, I feel that I have some sad truths to tell you. As of today, our country is at a standstill because many people want to deny what has become a basic human right to millions of Americans. Right now, same-sex couples in most states cannot be legally married or enjoy any of the benefits that are given to married couples.
Ophelia, I still have not decided when I will let you read this blog but I truly hope that whenever you do read it for the first time, those last two sentences will no longer be true. It is sad to think that you were born at a time when so much ignorance and hate still abounded in a country which claims to be a land of freedom. But I do have faith that things will change and that you will grow up to see those changes take place around you. I hope that this also means you will be part of a generation that wholeheartedly embraces gay marriage and homophobia will quickly become a thing of the past.
One of the interesting things about writing this blog is that in many ways I don't know the person to whom I'm writing it. True, I know you. I know your spirit. I know that you have parts of me and parts of your father. But what else? Who else will you be? What will be the details that make you a whole human being? I love that I am getting to find all of that out in small doses every single day. In general, I make very few promises because I'm only human and I'd hate to have to go back on my word. That and promises are special and should be used sparingly. But now I would like to make you the promise that I will never presume to know things about you which you have not told me or are not expressly obvious. Even that last bit I'm a little iffy about. What I mean to say is I will make it my job to get to know who you really are and I will do my damnedest not to assume that you are anything simply because I am that thing. I will not assume that you are straight or do obnoxious shit like ask if your little friend Billy on the playground is your boyfriend. I will not assume that you identify as a girl even though your anatomy says you are one. I will not push dolls/makeup/pink crap on you nor will I deny you the opportunity to play with "boy toys." I will make it my duty to establish a relationship with you in which you feel comfortable and safe telling me intimate things about yourself but I will never demand that you divulge any information which you don't want to tell me. I will respect your right to privacy but make it clear that whoever you are is not only okay with me, but thrills me.
If all goes well this will sound very familiar. Maybe you will tire of hearing it, but if it has been said so many times maybe you will be incapable of not believing it. Whatever you are, whoever you are, that's the you I want to know.