I have one daughter and she recently told me she loves another woman. I love my daughter but my hopes and dreams for my daughter feel shattered. She tells me she wants to marry this person. How can she have a wedding? How can I ever have grandchildren? Can she still go to synagogue? I’m ashamed and don’t understand how this happened. What now?
-Shari from Northeast Philadelphia
You have taken such an important step by reaching out for help. It is not easy when you have a vision for what you want for your daughter and reality turns out to be something different. It is normal to have the feelings you are having. We all want what is best for our children. Ultimately, we want them to be happy even if their dream is not perfectly aligned with ours. It’s tough to let go of your dream for your daughter. Sometimes it helps to reframe the way we think about things so that we can best support our children. Perhaps your dream and her dream are not too different after all. Your daughter can still have a wedding. Same-sex marriage is recognized by many states and there are more in the process of making it legal. Even without the marriage license, many same-sex couples focus on their marriage being symbolic of their everlasting love and commitment. The other good news is that there is also a range of options for same-sex couples to have children. As far as going to synagogue, there are numerous places in the Philadelphia area that your daughter can attend with her partner and feel welcomed. One that I will mention here is Rodeph Shalom.
Shari – I’m so glad you reached out today. Sometimes parents and family members with LGBT children have to go through their own process before getting to a place of understanding and acceptance. It’s ok to have the feelings you are having. It may help to talk to other parents and family members going through a similar experience. Jewish Family and Children’s Service has a parent mentoring program. If you want to talk anonymously with another parent who has an LGBT child, you can send an email to email@example.com. I encourage you to also connect with Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays at www.pflag.org.
Take care and be well,