Cameron, you are my light and my world. You bring such joy to my life, and to your father’s life. You’ve changed everything, and the world is better because you are here.
To you, I make a solemn vow: I will raise you right. I will raise you the best I can. I will raise you as an advocate, a defender, and a pioneer. You will not follow in the footsteps of many who look like you, and who also come from privilege. I promise that, even though many times I will want to, I will not raise you to feel more important than others. Against all odds, I will raise a good man, with a good heart.
- I will actively fight to expose your privilege, and we will have open and honest conversations about it. Your skin and gender aren’t things you chose or that you should feel guilty about, but they also are things you must not ignore or hide behind.
- I will support any informed path you take with your body and sexuality. We created you to be a good person. As you age, I will raise you to make the best choices about the person you wish to become.
- I will not criticize your choices as long as they are thoughtful, safe, and do not harm others. You can have green hair. You can wear tube socks on your arms. You can get a tattoo when you’re legally able. I won’t always love every choice, but they’re yours to make, and the mistakes you make are yours to make as well.
- I will guide you to always take the fork in the direction of “goodness” and “kindness,” even when it’s uncomfortable. You will not fear the homeless. You will not feel uncomfortable being the only person in the room that speaks English (and ideally, you’ll be interested to learn more about the predominant language). You will be respectful of other cultures and religions. You will support and defend others’ rights to live as they choose.
- I will encourage you to embrace any spirituality that suits you, and also encourage you to change your mind if you’re so inclined. I will support your quest to learn about any religions that interest you. I will answer questions about my beliefs candidly, but without a demand for reciprocity. The endless search for enlightenment is one of the great privileges we have as human beings, and I will not deny you that or judge you for it.
- I will protect you with every ounce of my being from those that wish you harm, and I will do my best to remember that I will not always be there to do that. I will arm you with the best resources I can to protect yourself and your heart from pain. I will also arm you with the resources to manage the pain you can’t avoid.
- I will educate you as you grow. I will protect your innocence for as long as I can, but I also will not hide the truth from you as it ekes its way into your purview. I will be your advocate and support system, and the person you can ask anything of.
- I will demand that you treat every living person with kindness, and treat them as an equal. Moreover, I will ensure you are outspoken when it comes to your peers doing the same, for you have the privilege to speak out when others can’t.
- I will love you and snuggle you and tell you how amazing and incredible you are, regularly. Often. But you will also know the world does not revolve around you. We will learn patience and tolerance together, and it will be a lifelong journey. (It continues to be for me.)
- I will remind you and others that education is not just a product of school. It is a product of the home, and of the world. You will travel and see how others live. You will not live in an insular bubble. You will appreciate your opportunities because you will be exposed to those who don’t have them. You will recognize how lucky you are.
- I will raise you to be confident and driven. You will believe in yourself. But you will know there is a fine line between confidence and entitlement. I will do my best to prepare you not to cross that line too often.
I will raise you to be better than me, because you are. You are a clean slate. You are perfection. I vow to you, baby, that I will not fail you. I will give you everything I have, and prepare you for a world that you will help to make a better place.
Cameron, my love, it’s going to be an amazing journey. I promise to do my best for you, and for the future.