Dear Maxwell and Chase,
On our first date, we bonded over having always wanted children. But that wasn’t something many gay couples were doing, as you would say, “way back in the late 1990s.” After years of discussion and planning, and thanks to your loving surrogate, we finally realized our dream of becoming dads. We are forever a family thanks to you – and there is no bond stronger than that.
Max, you opened our hearts and made us see the world in new ways. We still see in you the little 2-year-old who loved rainbows and bright colors in everything he wore or owned. That’s still true today in your clothing, but also in your friends. You choose them like you choose everything – for being unique and interesting. You are clear and focused about things that are important to you and are willing to trip in the process of achieving your goal. You are kind and loving, and quick to help when it is needed. You are supportive when things are tough and a life preserver when things are even more difficult.
Chase, you have such incredible empathy for others. You carry your friends’ lows and work very hard to raise their spirits. Your friends trust you and confide in you, which is an outward sign of deep trust. You have an infectious energy and always make people feel comfortable. You use your cleverness during the tougher times to cook or bake, find a craft project to do, or help when things are busy. You are reliable and that is a quality that will take you far in life. You carve your own path. Sometimes, it may be hard to follow, but it is your decisions that lead others to grow and learn. It is we who must adapt in order to support you.
In pursuit of equality, visibility matters. We have always known that – and now you both know that, too. Changing hearts and minds happens one person at a time when they can see the authentic life of a single LGBTQ+ person, or a couple, or a child of LGBTQ+ parents. You have been leaders in showing your teachers that there are lots of different kinds of families, and in helping your friends and their parents see that loves makes a family.
Both of you have been powerful voices for equality, especially around the oft-oppressive role of gender norms in our society. Whether it’s holding firm to the notion that a boy’s favorite color can be rainbow, or that gender is a matter of hearts and minds and not parts, you are leading the way to a world that sees gender as a spectrum and seeks to break down gender stereotypes and limitations.
And we are eternally grateful to the village – family, honorary aunts and uncles, teachers, friends, and mentors – that has embraced you, influenced you, and will continue to guide you as you grow up. When you aren’t sure what to do next, remember them.
Always be true to yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t be afraid to fail. Learn to adapt to new challenges. Listen to others and always seek to understand. Work well with others by sharing both responsibility and recognition. Remember that actions and results speak louder than words. Make everything you touch better. And above all, remember to always be grateful, but never satisfied.
The three happiest days of our lives – the days you each were born and the day we married – were unimaginable to our younger selves. The same will be true for you. What seems out of reach today will come to pass if you are willing to see it, value it, and fight for it. It’s not just your opportunity; it’s your responsibility.
We love you more than you will ever know,
Daddy and Poppy
Dear Poppy and Dad,
Happy Fathers’ Day! Here is a letter of appreciation for you both. I have learned everything that I know from the both of you. Whether it is cooking, how to manage my workflow, or just work ethic in general, it has been learned from you. Even learning how to use the Wi-Fi in the house was from you two (thank you for that especially). I am so grateful for everything that you two have done for me and I would not have the knowledge or mindset that I have right now if it were not for you both. I am so happy that I ended up with not only one, but two great dads. I look back fondly on all of the different memories and experiences we have had over the past 14 years together. I am also very excited to make even more memories to come. I do not know where I would be today without the help and guidance from both of you and wonder if I would even have the same hobbies and interests. “I am me only because of you” – Richelle E. Goodrich. I love this quote because it really embodies what I think about you two and it is really true. If either of you had decided to parent me differently, or make a different decision than you did, I would probably not be sitting on the sofa right now writing this letter. So, to finish off, thank you for everything that you have done, taught me, given me, and for everything in the years to come.
Dear Poppy and Daddy,
You both have done so much for me during these 13 years I’ve been on this planet. Whether it was about how I identified or who my friends were, you loved me no matter what. You both have been role models for me. I look up to you because of how hard you both work to keep Max and I happy and healthy, and how much effort you put into being a part of our lives. Even though I may not show it or say it enough, I love you two so, so much. I love going on fun trips with you guys. In my future, I hope to be like you two. I want to be as loving and caring to my kids as you are to Max and I. I want to do as much as you guys do for the community. I aspire to work as hard as you and to be as understanding toward others.
Even though I am a teenager and may not show it enough, I love you both so, so, so, so, so much. You both mean so much to me. I cannot imagine my life without you.
Thank you for always being there for me.
I love you,