Suddenly she stopped talking about boys, settled down at a university, graduated with honors and behan her career in a helping profession 300 miles from hom. When I visited her I notied that, wherever she lived, her house-mates seemed to be (or definitely were) lesbians; but I never consciously attached much importance to that.
Then, when she was 22, she came home and told me she is a lesbian. I felt my life change in an instant. I felt guilty. I had bought into society's myths about the cause of homosexuality -- a domineering mother and a distant father. (I was then separated from my husband, who has since died.) I was frightened, thinking that from here on her life would be rootless and unstable; that she might suffer job discrimination, harassment or even gay-bashing. I was concerned that she would never find someone to wrap her emotional life around. One thing I didn't feel was a need to reject. her. I loved her completely, but I needed help dealing with my confusion and upset. In my "shell-shocked" condition, I gave her a vaguely supportive response that I don't even remember now, more than twenty years later.
Somehow I had heard of Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays. Two weeks later I was at my first meeting. There I related some of that important conversation my daughter and I had had. I spoke of my worry that I had let her down in my response, and of my fears for her future life.
The other parents, without any attempt to sound like psychologists, enlightened and encouraged me. They assured me I hadn't caused my daughter's homosexuality -- no one has that power. They relieved my guilt. And -- most important -- the lesbians and gays in the room told me, in open discussion and one-to-one during the break, that many of their experiences paralleled my daughter's: going through career upsets and acting out anti-socially while "coming out to themselves."
I was given several very helpful pamphlets, but I knew they were not to substitute for the human contact I was to have. They were to help me frame further questions and reinfore all I was learning.
Since then, nothing I feared has happened. My daughter excels in her profession, in her activism, and in her avocations. She has a huge circle of supportive friends. While she doesn't have a "forever" life partner, she has had long-standing exclusive affectionate relationships with young women I like.
Best of all, her bonds with her siblings and me are loving and strong.