Q. President’s Day (begun in 1796 to commemorate George Washington’s birthday) has always been a huge celebration in our home. Not only because we all admire George Washington but also because it is our wedding anniversary, my birthday, and our daughter’s birthday. My daughter just told us she is lesbian. She wants us to celebrate President’s Day as usual but I’m wondering whether we should just cancel for this year. What do you think?
A. What I think is really irrelevant. What your daughter may think is, especially if you want a good relationship with her for the rest of your life. I do wonder, however, the reason you would even consider canceling. It’s still your wedding anniversary. It’s still your birthday. It’s still your daughter’s birthday. If she had not shared this information with you, my guess is that your family would joyfully celebrate this year as always. Your daughter is the same girl and has the same sexual orientation she's likely always had. Nothing has changed except that you now have a piece of information you may not have had last year. Has this resulted in you no longer loving your daughter or desiring to be with her or wanting to continue your family’s celebration tradition? If so, the message to your daughter may be that your love is conditional upon her sexual orientation—or, even worse, upon her hiding information from you.
I hope that your family’s traditional celebration is not about someone’s sexual orientation. Rather, about your biological family members affirming each other and the events that have meaning for you, having a good time together and making more memories. Time with each other on this planet can be very short.
What may happen if you cancel? Will you try to restart the annual celebration next year? Will your daughter have the heart for it or will the magic have been broken and a lovely family tradition killed? And for what? We are on this planet such a relatively short time. On your death bed you will likely not mourn for doing your best to love and affirm your daughter while you were alive; you will likely mourn for not doing that (should you make that choice) and for the wasted years and fractured relationship.