Today I go to a meeting to meet a candidate for the local school board. I’m considering running for office and they tell me I need to raise my in person public profile. So, off I go… When I arrive the only people there are the host and the candidate. So, we get into introductions and small talk. The candidate asks me if I have kids in Lakota schools. Oh here we go… When you have a daughter who has transitioned, you always have to stop and think about the question “How many kids do you have?” I typically try to answer as simply and truthfully as possible, but I will tell you I am a believer in situational ethics. If someone asks you a question like this and you are uncomfortable and want to lie, do it. Lie. You’re not going to hell for it. In this case I try just giving a little information.
“No. I don’t have kids at Lakota anymore.”
“Oh, so they have graduated?”
“Well, my older daughter graduated in 2014 and is now a freshman at the University of Toledo.”
“And your other daughter?”
“She passed away. She was 15 and would have been a sophomore this year.”
Now we’re into the awkward time when she doesn’t know what to say and I feel bad for making her uncomfortable. No one wants to be “that guy”. I’m a member of a club I really don’t want to be in.
I will always honor Shayna. She will always be a part of my life. I will always be proud of her accomplishments. After this, as the conversations continues, I realize the woman I met must have known about Shayna because she mentions that she was accomplished at Lakota and she assumes my older daughter was, too. Yeah, Shayna was top 16 in a class of about 550. She was working on her Gold Award. She was on the volleyball team. She was extremely popular. That was my Beautiful Light.
I know this is just the beginning of these awkward moments and I don’t have a script for them. I will just take them as they come and give as much or little information as I feel like giving depending on the situation.