Today is Mother’s Day. It’s a special Mother’s Day because it’s the first one for our family since I came out as a gay man and since mommy and I decided that we are going to get divorced. That makes it a somewhat bittersweet day for us—happiness and some sadness all at once.
Let me explain the sadness that I feel. I sometimes feel sad that I’ve decided that I don’t want to be married to mommy anymore. She’s a remarkable woman, and she has brought a lot of happiness into my life and into the lives of the many people who love her. She’s been very supportive of me and I still feel like she’s my best friend ever. But over the last year I realized that I wasn’t as happy as I need to be because I couldn’t feel like I could be myself when married to mommy. That’s not her fault. She’s beautiful and fun to be with. But God made me in such a way that I love men and I want to spend my life and commit myself to another man, not a woman. I’m happy that I’ve made peace with that. I’m happy that I can admit that to myself and to mommy and to the two of you and the other people in my life. But I still feel some sadness about the pain that has caused our family. I feel a sense of loss.
But this letter isn’t about me or about sadness. It’s about your mommy.
You girlies are lucky that God and nature conspired to make you her daughters. As you grow up and become big girls, then young women, and then adults, you will understand why I say that. You will be inspired by her strength and compassion. As you get older you will better understand how difficult this past year has been for her and you will learn that strength can blossom and grow in the face of adversity. You will learn that you can be graceful and kind under intense pressure. You will learn that you can always start over in your life, even when your whole world seems to be turned upside down and you’re not really sure where you fit in. You will learn how important it is to forgive. You will look at her and you will see an example of a strong, independent woman who has always allowed her love for the people around her to trump feelings of anger or resentment or bitterness. You will see a woman with a great sense of humor and a love for life.
Your mommy isn’t perfect. She makes mistakes. You’ll see that as you grow up, too. You see it sometimes now. And sometimes your mommy’s mistakes will make you angry. She can have a fiery temper sometimes. Sometimes she yells too much and her patience runs thin. But she is always trying to make herself a better person, and she’s willing to accept her imperfections and her humanity. You’ll learn from that as you grow up as well.
I think the most important thing you need to know about your mommy is that she finds the greatest joy in seeing the people in her life succeed and be happy. I’ve seen it with you girls. The times when I have seen her happiest as your mom have been when you have been happy being yourself, dancing and playing or imagining, or when you have achieved something. I’ve seen the same thing with her sisters, with her mother, with her friends, and with me. Mommy feels really joy and contentment when she sees the people she loves doing well and being happy. She wants to help all of us be the best we can be.
You will have many examples and role models in your life. You should have many because you can learn something new and different and helpful from so many different people. But I really hope that your mother will be one of your greatest and most influential role models. I just want you to know on this Mother’s Day that I honor and respect and love your mother. She’s a special woman and a special friend. Even though our family is changing now, we will always be a family. She will always be my family.
I love you girls. I hope you will grow up to be independent and strong and happy with yourselves, but I hope you’ll be a lot like your mommy, too.
All my love,