When I came out as gay to my parents at age 20, my mother told me that when she became a mother, she realized that she had to learn to let go.
She could not control whether I would be born male or female, deaf, disabled, a total weirdo (which turned out to be the case), or any number of things. She said she had to be ready to accept whatever I was.
Although it was neither easy for her nor a thrill that I was gay, she said her concern that I was deeply unhappy because I felt I was ashamed of who I was. So she said she had to let go of what she wanted in order to let me be who I was. (Then again, she still has her own motherly controlling ways that drive me up the wall. But at least she wants me to date Nate Berkus instead of Natalie Portman.)
Jeff and Hillary Whittington's story exemplify the ideal parenting that this sentiment encapsulates.
First, they found out that their child, Ryland, was born deaf.
After that, they soon discovered that Ryland was transgender.
As her parents delved into research about transgender people, they discovered a troubling statistic that served as a turning point: 41 percent of transgender people have attempted suicide due to lack of acceptance by society.
The Whittingtons, who live in San Diego, were so disturbed by that fact that they became fiercely determined not to let that happen to their child.
Their story, captured in the video below, is nothing short of admirable and inspirational.
While their story may be about a transgender child, it can also serve as a reminder to everyone to not let expectations distract from the truly important things in life when it comes to love.
After all, that's what unconditional love is all about.