Look up! There’s a video of me reading my letter. Below, you’ll see the transcript if you’d prefer to read instead. What are your hopes and expectations for this next generation? What’s next for you?
A letter to my daughter after the passage of Amendment One
My darling daughter,
You gave me a sweet memory the other night. You were all snuggled in your bed. We’d just wrapped up our ritual of ‘a lotta kisses and a lotta hugs’.
“Wait, Mom,” you said, “Say, no matter.”
“Oh, I love you no matter what.”
“No, Mom. Say it with your eyebrows up.”
“Like this?” I said, with my eyebrows raised. “I love you no matter what.”
“Yes!” You said.
And I thought you are so funny and I love you so much. And then I went downstairs and watched as Amendment One was passed. And I was shocked and distressed and really sad. I thought, how could I explain this to you? I mean, you’re only three now, we can’t have an in-depth conversation, but if you were older, how might I begin?
So I’m writing this letter to you and to some future version of you kind of at the same time.
Here’s the deal, kid. Right now, we don’t know if you are straight or gay or somewhere in between. We don’t know if you will get married one day or not, get pregnant one day or not, get divorced. We don’t know what choices you will make about who you partner with and how you live your life.
But I want you to know that these are my hopes and expectations for you… I want you to be happy and safe and kind and true to yourself. I want you to treat others with respect and with a generous spirit. Be responsible. Love yourself and lead a life filled with compassion, wisdom, authenticity, possibility and creativity. Those are the family values that your father and I are trying to instill in you.
Althought it’s hard to imagine now, one day you will be a grown-up person, and assuming we don’t back-slide as a country, you will be able to make grown-up choices alongside other grown-ups about your grown-up life. Love who you love. Create the family you define for yourself. Don’t let other people take control of your body. Never let anyone tell you that you are worth less. You are worth everything.
But here’s the important part… you are worth-full, and so is everyone else. All your little friends, all the grown-ups, all the people you know and do not yet know — all people are worth-full. You and everybody else.
Since you were born, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I live my life, how to live out the values that I profess to have. When I look at your sweet sleeping face and I think of you or one of your little friends being discriminated against, my blood boils.
As your mother, it’s my job to protect you and fight for your rights always, and as your mother, it’s also my job to lift my head up out of our beautiful family bubble and not just think about your future rights, but also the rights of all people now. To advocate now and to walk this talk I talk to you about freedom, about choice, about equality, about love.
And this is how I’m doing it: Repeal Amendment One. I voted, now what’s next?
I love you, Mom
13 thoughts on “A letter to my daughter after the passage of Amendment One”
Tamara, I couldn’t have said it any better. For my Ryan and all the others who are discriminated against, I want to say thank you to you.
Kathi, thanks so much for your kind words — they mean so much to me. You are a model mama and I’m proud to have you as my friend. t
Moving and inspirational. Thank you Tamara.
Mary! Thank YOU!
Tamara – this touches me so deeply. I am a 40 year old male, and this video was shared with me on Facebook by a very dear friend of mine who is in his mid 20’s. He and I have something very tender in common… our parents have completely shunned us because we are gay, and there is not room in their religion, nor their lives for us because of this.
Seeing you read this, telling the story of looking at your precious three year old in the face and saying, “I love you no matter what!” brought tears to my eyes. How I long to hear my mother say that to me. We used to be so close as I grew up. And it was just 5 years ago that I had the courage to come out and live my life authentically. And, I’m a good man. I live a good life, am kind, treat others with love, run my business with heart and try to contribute to making the days of everyone I connect with, just a little better, in any way I can. But, because I happen to love another man, there is a deafening silence from my mother, my father and my two brothers. None of them will even greet me. So sad.
I just want you to know that you saying those words, “I love you no matter what!” and sharing them with the world through this video gives me such great comfort. The unconditional love you have for your daughter permeates the web and embraces me, just the same. It’s parents like you who give me hope, strength and faith that one day, we really will be able to be a true family, loving one another for ALL that we are, including those we happen to love.
Truly – thank you for sharing your love with your daughter, and us… and doing what you can to change the world. It means so very much. I bow in gratitude and appreciation to you.
Thank you so much for your comments and for sharing your story. I am deeply touched by your kind words, and your courage, and your hope. For me, speaking out — taking a stand — sometimes feels scary and sad and complicated, but at this point in my life, I believe it’s the only way to make change. And today, I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of folks who’ve contacted me with love and hope and faith. It’s so beautiful! Please know that I’m sending you love-no-matter-what. With sincere and great admiration, Tamara
Good Morning Tamara and Commenters:
That people will love each other, be kind, and try not to let politicians tell them whether they are allowed to or not.
A campaigner against Amendment One came to my house on election day, and she seemed really uncomfortable talking to me, probably just because she was out of breath from the hike up the driveway. I tried to comfort her, but I wanted to know whether she was really happy. “Will you be happy if this measure doesn’t pass?” I asked. “Well, of course,” she said. “But what about when the next political move that you don’t like comes along? Will you be happy then? Will you be happy in the next election cycle?” Clearly politicians run her life.
Thank you for posting this Tamara, because I’m having a really hard time understanding: why out of all the shitty things in this world, are so many people picking this political stunt as so tragic? I understand there are lots of people that it’s directly relevant to — and I care about those people — but everybody seems to be really upset about it. Are you upset about anything else? There’s plenty out there that frightens me when I’m tucking my kids in, I just wonder why politics is never there for me, and it is for so many other people. Am I blessed or cursed to see politics as a series of stunts by uncompassionate people?
If it’s any comfort, a similar measure was passed by popular vote when I was a kid (twenty years ago!) in Colorado, and it was immediately challenged and struck down as unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. This measure will probably suffer a similar fate even faster. That result shows me that all people want by raising these sorts of measures is to divide and control people. Even if the law is struck down, they’ve already produced the acrimony (i.e. lack of compassion on both sides) they need to achieve their other political ends.
Thank you (again),
Joel “Who Barely Knows You” Adamson
Hi Joel, Thanks for your comment. I’m eager to talk with you about this. I’ve also been really frustrated by what I consider to be political stunts and misdirection. I can’t believe we are still having conversations about (and spending so much money on) what boils down to basic civil rights. It seems pitting people against one another is the strategy these days and I’m eager to move past that and focus on some the things that ‘frighten me when I tuck my kid in at night’ — unfortunately, one of those things right now is the discrimination that I see. Anyhow, thank YOU. Can’t wait to talk with you…Tamara
My guess is that discrimination seems to me like something inevitable but something my kids can deal with, whereas an escalating nuclear conflict that could interrupt the food and water we take for granted doesn’t seem like something they can deal with. They can, of course, only deal with discrimination as well as anybody else can deal with suffering (that is, badly). My wife has dealt with discrimination her whole life and when I’ve seen it, it has really bothered me, but she’s still alive.
I read an interesting sutra passage this morning: the Buddha is asked by a monk if he should go preach to a country filled with barbarians, and the Buddha says “but what if they insult you?” and the monk says “I’ll thank them for not beating me.” The Buddha says “Well, what if they beat you?” and the monk says “I’ll thank them for not stabbing me.” This continues up until “What if they kill you?” I interpreted this to mean that we all know hardship, but we don’t all know compassion, so facing that challenge and still showing compassion is the most important thing we can do.
Joel! Thanks for your comment. I’m wrestling with it and haven’t yet come up with a response. I appreciate this conversation so much. It’s complicated and it valuable (for me). I just wanted you to know that this is on my mind. I agree that “still showing compassion is the most important thing we can do” — I think I fail in that arena often, but every moment is a new opportunity, I suppose. Wishing you well. t
Reblogged this on Sex, math and programming and commented:
Am I the only one who sees politics as a series of stunts by people who want to divide us and blunt our compassion?
Thank you so much for sharing this. Nora is a luckly little girl. I plan to share it with my girls.
Thank you for your kind words, Laura. Much appreciated.