I apologize for the delay in posting…it has taken me longer than I thought to sort through the 102 letters, emails and cards we received in response to our letter, trying to decide which ones to share.
Yes, you read that right…over 100 people took the time to respond, and that is not counting the phone calls we received! Once again we found ourselves overwhelmed by the kindness and compassion of others – not just from close family and friends but also acquaintances who reached out to offer their support. Following is just a sampling of the heartfelt messages we received…
From a rough and tumble woman with a heart of gold…“We admire your honesty and courage and wish your family the best in whatever anyone does, just as you would to us!”
From the sister I never had…“If first we are not true to ourselves then we cannot be true to anyone. I admire your wisdom and courage at such a young age.”
From a woman who works three jobs to support her family…“Everything is going to get better and better for Sam. He’s on his way to find true happiness and that’s all we ever want for our kids. Hang in there.”
From a favorite 7th grade science teacher and his wife…“Thank you for inviting us to know and understand your situation. We are honored you asked for our support and offer it up 100%. It can’t be an easy path you are on, but we admire your courage and wish you all a sense of community and support. We feel certain you will be a fine young man.”
From a co-worker of mine…“Thank you Sam, for having the courage to enlighten us.”
From neighbors with young children who even had their 5 year-old sign his name on the card they sent to us…“Your courage and strength are a shining example to us all.”
From a school principal…“I am in awe of all of you and the strength and courage you have to acknowledge Sam’s journey and for you, Sam, to walk it. I’ve known too many people who don’t feel they are allowed to truly be who they are until much later in life, and with that delay, much more pain comes. So, we will celebrate YOU, support you, care for you and step aside as you march on to greatness.”
From a family who took the time to hand deliver a card that contained this message…“Some people spend a lifetime trying to figure themselves out. Some succeed but most don’t! But you Sam – you get it! You are a hero to many!
From a teacher of Sam’s younger sister (she sent this message in a card that was addressed to ‘Samuel,’ which had extra special meaning because it was one of the first pieces of mail he received that used his new legal name)…“Dear Sam, thank you for sharing your letter with me. I want to let you know how proud and supportive I am of you. You are an amazing boy! You are a terrific role model for who a transgender person is – smart, loving, talented and strong. I am excited to watch you grow on this great journey. I will always be here for you.”
From a mom…“I have admired Sam for as long as I can remember – he always played the best softball game, yet was quickest to congratulate everyone else on their ‘good game.’ Know that we will do our best to support Sam and will encourage our girls to be accepting, kind and caring towards him.”
From a woman who works as a lunch lady in Atlanta, Georgia…“I just want you to know how proud I am of Sam. He is making such a brave statement, not because he has to but because that is what is best for him. No sense in hiding it, no point in keeping skeletons in the closet, just be who you are!
So many kids that come through my lunch line are at the age that they don’t know where they want to go, who they want to be, where they even came from or what day it is. Sam is so way ahead of them and will be just fine! I know kids can be cruel to each other, I see that in my lunch line. But be tough, don’t get into fights, stand tall and be smart.”
From our beloved Aunt Sandy…“We whole-heartedly support Sam and wish him the best life has to offer. Sam is already a good person, and with the support of his family and friends, he will find happiness, we have no doubt.”
From a dad…“I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how brave and important we thought your letter was, and to let you know that Sam has and will always have the unwavering support of our family.
From a pediatrician…“I am bursting with pride to know you – and I shed tears of joy, and empathy, indeed, in reading and re-reading your letter that arrived today! May you and your family keep changing this world of ours for the better.”
From a dear friend and walking buddy who probably could also be considered my therapist considering the feelings she has helped me sort out on those long treks around our local lake…“We just got your letter and thought it was great. I had my girls all read it. I have never said much to them about Sam. They could not have had less of a reaction. That is who he is and they got it. Let’s hope most people have the same view.”
I mentioned in my inaugural post that there have been so many times while traveling this crazy road that our beliefs have been challenged and our courage tested. This would be one of those times. In our wildest dreams we never would have imagined (nor expected) the outpouring of love and acceptance that was showered upon our family as a result of that letter. Some of the messages you just read were excerpts from longer letters – some appeared just as they were written – one or two lines conveying all that needed to be said. Sent by people from all walks of life, the common thread within those notes was that they all offered unconditional support to our family and most importantly to Sam, and for that we will remain eternally grateful.