Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade have been graciously candid about their parenting style in recent years. Their daughter, Zaya, came out as trans last year, and both Union and Wade have been wholly supportive of her and who she is every step of the way. They've also talked openly about being a Black family in America, and the lessons they want to instill in their kids and others about bigotry and racism.
There is no such thing as perfection in parenting—we're all learning as we go. One great way we can learn to be better, more inclusive, more open-minded parents is by following the example set by parents with public platforms who are kind enough to educate those around them by sharing their lived experiences.
Basically, these two are #parentgoals.
Here are some parenting quotes from Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade that make us want to stand up and applaud.
1. "Scared to hold you," Union wrote in a post reflecting on her first year of parenthood daughter Kaavia's first birthday. "Scared to burp you. Scared to reveal I have no clue what I'm doing. Scared to go to work. Scared to stay home. Scared when you sleep. Scared when you wake up. Scared I'm not living up to some impossible standard of motherhood. Scared I'd lose myself. Scared I'd be exposed as a failure, as less than, not as good as, not as comfortable as, not as... anything."
2. "So many people are suffering in silence and every time, when we're candid and transparent about our journeys, no matter what those journeys are, you are allowing people to be seen and heard and empowered in ways that they've never been," Union told Oprah in a 2018 interview. Union battled infertility, several miscarriages, and unsuccessful IVF attempts for years before using a surrogate to carry daughter Kaavia. We all felt her pain and her joy as she shared her experience.
3. "This is her life every day. This is no game to us," Wade said on the Ellen show last year when he revealed his daughter Zaya, is trans. "We're all about protecting her heart, we're about protecting her joy and to do that, we have to support her."
4. "I've been a person in a locker room that has been a part of the conversation that has said the wrong phrases and the wrong words myself," Wade told Good Morning America last year. "And as I got older and as I watched my daughter grow, I had to go and look at myself in the mirror and say, 'Who are you? What are you going to do if your child comes home and says, "Dad, I'm not a boy … I'm a trans girl." What are you going to do?' That was my moment of real."
FULL INTERVIEW: NBA superstar @DwyaneWade opens up to @robinroberts about daughter Zaya’s gender identity and why i… https://t.co/xyIL9y136e— Good Morning America (@GMA) 1582031394.0
5. "Our home will never be a safe space for bigots," says Union. "I look at problematic language as violence and I'm never going to expose anyone I love to violence, whether that be verbal, physical, emotional or spiritual. Jerks exist in every area of life. And we function from a place of truth in our household. But if you come at us, oh, be very prepared."
In addition to Zaya, Wade and Union are raising their two-year-old daughter, Kaavia James, as well as Wade's sons Zaire, 19; and Xavier, 7. Wade's 19-year-old nephew, Dahveon, is also part of the family. And both parents plan to protect their children any way they can.
6. "I was raised to conform," she said. "But we are raising our kids to know they are worthy because they exist. We don't want them to ever shapeshift for anyone else's approval or acceptance. We want them to be free to be who they are."
7. "When Kaavia gives you a look, it's either you're not respecting her boundaries or something is happening that she doesn't like," Union explains. "The main takeaway is that she's free to be this amazing, dynamic, shady at times, loving at times Black little girl when the world has not been so kind to Black girls and women."
Union and Wade are fully aware of how much the internet loves little Kaavia's expressions and personality, always on full display on social media. In fact, she believes Kaavia's "shade" is her superpower. When so many parents are desperate for their kids to smile and perform cheerfully, Union is simply letting Kaavia be Kaavia.