All They Want Is This

It was a long time ago. It was in a pretty conservative place, in a less understanding era. And even if it wasn’t, even in different circumstances, no parent wants to walk in to see their teenager making out with someone in their room. But in this case, a mom had been stunned to find her daughter on top of the covers with her daughter’s best girl friend.

She slammed the door and ran out of the room. The girls were mortified. A few minutes later, they heard a knock. Are you decent, her father asked tentatively, before entering. Was he going to yell? Would he kick them out? “I want you both to know that I don’t care if you’re–” he said, before cutting himself off. He just looked at his daughter and said, “Sara’s a lot cuter than Dustin,” referring to his daughter’s last boyfriend. “Your mom will get over it,” and then he walked back downstairs.

We can imagine the enormous relief both girls felt in that moment. Sara, who tells this story from the early 1990s in her beautiful memoir High School, co-written with her twin sister and bandmate in the band Tegan and Sara, would come out a few years later. Her friend? Was it just experimenting? We don’t know and really it doesn’t matter.

Your kids are going to do things that surprise you. They may do or become things you don’t understand. But that doesn’t change your job–which is to love and accept and appreciate them. That’s what they want. That’s what they need. That’s what you promised to give them when they were born.

Nothing gets you off that hook. Not your religion. Not your fears. Not your expectations. Not your political beliefs.

Love them. Accept them. Appreciate them.

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