My daughter said, “Mom? Can we chat? I need to talk to you.”
“Absolutely.” In my head I thought, “Geez. What now?”
This kid—this one—she’s empathic to a fault. She feels things for others and internalizes so much. Her feelings are easily injured, and she frequently takes the weight of the world on her wee shoulders. It’s easy to see those shoulders as wee shoulders when in reality she’s nearly an adult. She’s as tall as me and is always ‘borrowing’ my clothes.
I drive and we shoot the breeze. I can tell she’s nervous. Opening the door for whatever she wants to talk about is my job. Her’s is to walk through that door. I’m not going to force her to share but rather create the environment where she is willing to share.
“Mom? I want to tell you something, but I don’t want you to tell Dad. Do you promise?”
“No. I don’t promise but I’ll consider it after you tell me whatever you want to share with me.”
“Okkkaaayyy…so…I like someone!” she tells me in a sing-songy voice with big, smiling eyes.
I smile. I love that she shares with me.
“Tell me more.” I encourage her with a smile.
“Well. I’ve known this person for a while.”
“What’s his name?” I ask. She looks at me with wide, nervous eyes. She’s watching me very intently and breathing quickly. She stammers a bit and looks down, wringing her hands. I leave space for her to talk and share. She just sits there, looks out at the misting rain, and looks at me again with even wider eyes. Lightbulb.
“What’s her name?” I catch myself, hoping that I don’t sound too tense.
“I’m not ready to tell you that. But you’re okay I like a girl?”
I immediately hug her and reassure her I’m completely okay. I make it clear—as I always have—I don’t care what gender of person you’re interested in as long as they’re a good person and you make one another happy. Who am I to judge someone else’s happiness? As long as everyone is safe, kind, and caring, I’m good. If my child is interested in women, men, both—works for me. My only desire is that she not compromise who she is to be with someone.
As asked, I left it to her to share with her Dad. I knew she wouldn’t be able to hold this in for long. As excited as she is to have someone special in her life, her news of a girlfriend would explode from her happy heart sooner than later. When she finally told him—his easy reaction, “Sounds good. When is she coming over?”
I’m so thankful my kid talks to me.
While I don’t always say or do the right things, I hope this time I conveyed just how proud I am of her and how much I cherish her and our relationship. I’ve always said I won’t be friends with my kid until they’re in their thirties.
I’m a parent right now. But man…I can’t wait. I’ve got some amazing kids.
The author of this post has been withheld to protect the privacy of her daughter.