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Dear J and A,

Dear Jayden and baby girl,

I know, like everyone in our family knows, that you will have barriers ahead of you, and that they will be enormous. There are so many things about your circumstances that I cannot touch—because it is not my place. And I hate to say that because it seems like such an excuse, but the nature of the nuclear family is that the parents reserve all the input, and no matter how much the fringe family loves you and cares about you, we are not welcomed into conversations about how to raise you. And your parents love you, so there’s that.

I can’t promise that I will pay for adventures and education. I can’t promise that I will travel to Idaho to spend time reading to you or teaching you constellations. But I can promise that I will do my best to fight for your future. I will vote in all elections, and I will make climate change the priority in the candidates who receive my vote. I will continue to write about it in the ways that I can, to use my work to help bring the issue to the forefront of minds.

I also promise that I will talk to your mother. No matter what she does or says, I will never fully cut ties with her, and I will never stop believing that she can make a bright future for herself. I will never stop talking about complex issues with her, and I will never pronounce a destiny on her head. When everyone has given up on her, I will not. And I will not give up on her because I will not give up on you because I will not give up on the planet because I will always believe in change—in massive positive change. That positive change is on the horizon, and although I can’t promise I will be there beside you, buying you clothes and holding your hand, I throw my weight to tip the scales in favor of a better life.

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