"Mmmm, I dunno," she said, finding a piece of the tail.
"Look at me, Heart," I said, turning her towards me. "You can marry anyone that loves you as much as your mom and I love you, OK? That's the only thing you need to worry about. Boy or girl, it's all the same to us as long as he or she loves you and is nice to you."
"OK, dad," was all her reply, and then back to the puzzle.
I grew up in a time and place when the air regarding non-heterosexuality was more toxic than the fumes from the nearby Budweiser refinery. It was everywhere. Gays were universally recognized as sub-human, half-gendered mutants who might exist as long as they agreed to keep all their perversion away from the rest of us, who certainly could never conceive of such vile acts.
Except for the women, of course, because everyone knows lesbians only exist to turn guys on. This was the ridiculous message that was all around me, and at times in my home state it feels like there hasn't been a lot of progress.
All I can do at this key point in her life is make sure that if my daughter is gay, she knows there's nothing poisonous or wrong about it. It won't eliminate the bad noise from all around her, but hopefully it will instill in her a sense of safety and trust.
And if she's not gay? Then hopefully she'll help instill that sense of safety and trust in the people around her. In the meantime, she's got a rainbow teddy bear wife to snuggle with until she figures all that out.