Dearly Beloved

Chapter 1

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dearly beloved, i hope that when you have a daughter
and she comes to you one morning with the plea
i don't want to go to school today,
you notice that her words fight their way out of her lips
as though she were speaking through a mouthful of iron nails.
dearly beloved, i hope you will not tell her you stayed up too late, that's why you're so tired.
dearly beloved, i hope you ask her what it is that keeps her from seeing her friends,
and i hope you do not rush off to work,
throwing a feel better over your shoulder,
dearly beloved, i hope you take her in your arms and hold her,
and dearly beloved, i hope you let her cry to you for an hour.

dearly beloved, i hope that when your son stops eating,
and his shoulders start caving into each other,
his skin growing paler than the moon who watches him,
that you notice it.
i hope you remember what it is like to be a teenager.
dearly beloved, i hope you don't tell yourself that he'll get over it
instead of asking him why you can see all of his ribs.
dearly beloved, i hope you find his blades before he becomes addicted,
i hope you sit him down and roll back your sleeves,
i hope he sees your scars and i hope you will kiss him on the forehead and tell him all the stories he was too young to know before.
dearly beloved, i hope you do not dare to tell him that depression only happens to teenage girls,
and i hope, dearly beloved, that you let him know you once stood where he stands.

dearly beloved, when you catch your daughter kissing a girl,
i hope you do not yell at her.
smile, beloved, and welcome her with open arms,
and do not comment on her style of clothes.
if your son walks through the house one day wearing his sister's makeup,
if your son grows out his hair,
if your son asks to be addressed like a girl,
do not comment, dearly beloved.
smile, and ask her what she would like for dinner.

your children are an extension of you,
and dearly beloved, i hope you love them down whatever paths they choose.

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