I’m trying to piece my thoughts together this evening. Bear with me.
I’ve shed so many tears in the past 24 hours. I tried to distract myself last night by working on some editing, but my heart and gut knew as the returns were coming in. I broke down several times. Sean, God bless him, just held me and let me feel everything I was feeling. I went to Lil’s room around midnight to take her to the bathroom, and I just held her sleepy body on my shoulder, listening to her peaceful breath. I went to bed, tossed and turned all night and woke up with a raging headache. I puked, but that’s likely more to blame on pregnancy than anything else.
My range of emotions today have run the gamut of defeated to sad to scared to angry to frustrated to empowered and now resilient. I am sitting here feeling stronger than yesterday, because I refuse to let a person take away my spirit. I refuse to let the reality of our country’s current state diminish the fires that have been stoked in my heart and soul.
We spoke with Lily today. We sat on the floor of her room while she played and in the simplest terms, we told her that the girl didn’t win. We told her that we are sad, but in this world, we don’t always get what we want. And we keep trying, even when we’re sad or frustrated, we do our best to be good, kind, open-hearted people moving forward. She said she wanted to be president someday, to be strong and powerful and smart, and I vow I’ll do everything I can for all of my days to encourage her to embrace her own strength and power and brains, not just as a girl but as a human being.
THE KIDS ARE ALWAYS WATCHING, LISTENING AND LEARNING
Since having Lily, I’ve come to realize that we severely underestimate the capacity our children have to love and to learn. I am by no means saying we have a wonder child (maybe we do?), but I am constantly floored at the way she thinks things through, the questions she asks, and how openly she cares for others. So how do we foster this? How do we teach our children well? By teaching and leading by example how to…
Encourage kindness at all times. Reach out to the person who sits or plays alone, or hangs back in the corner, or may seem a bit socially awkward. Say hello and greet people with a smile. There is always room for more kindness in the world.
Look at situations from a different angle. Think and talk through reasons why someone else may be sad or upset or having a difficult time at school or work. The world is not black and white and neither are its people. Stretch your mind and heart to reach an understanding towards others.
Show concern for others. Reach out a helping hand. Understand that many struggle daily with various challenges and injustices, and knowing they have support can mean a world of difference.
Research what concerns you or interests you. Do not decide on anything at face value. Do not do your research through social media clickbait and major news networks. Check multiple sources. Ask questions. Answer questions. Encourage your children to ask questions and assure them that you will be as helpful as possible in helping them understand.
Seek out those with different viewpoints and discuss your opposing views. Open your mind to seeing their side and why they believe what they do. Nothing is ever solved when you refuse to see what the other side is fighting for.
EMBRACE YOUR POWER
As a person in this world, you have power. Through your words, your actions, your reactions, and how you choose to conduct yourself in private and public. We all have power and with that we all have responsibility (credit: Spiderman). Power is not a dirty word. How you choose to use your power will undoubtedly affect your family, relationships, friendships, community and greater world. Please use it for good and work to build up those around you.
STAND WITH CONVICTION
If you stand for nothing, what will you fall for? Examine your beliefs. Search your soul. Decide to stand up for what you believe in and don’t hold back. The world needs your voice. Your children need your voice. The oppressed need your voice. The lonely need your voice. The scared and helpless need your voice. I have often remained quiet, trying to keep the peace and avoid conflict, and it has made me feel like I cannot use my voice, even when I feel so strongly about something.
When Sean took this picture yesterday after I voted, I had high hopes that I would be able to look back and talk to Lily about how that was the day that we made history electing the first female president, someone who worked her entire adult life trying to make a difference for women, children, the sick and many more. But that will not be the story. Rome was not built in a day, and America still has a lot of work to do. There are cracks in the foundation and in the glass ceiling. There are leaks and instability. We are far from being a perfect union, and even when a woman is elected president, there will still be more to do, new challenges, and new lessons.
My vow today is to be a better helper. To give support where it is needed. To fight for what I believe to be right and good. To lead my children by example and teach them as best I can to be kind and strong and compassionate and empathetic and not let the bumps and bruises that come along with life keep them down.
Over the past week or so, I have been reading stories from women across the country and the world of being assaulted, insulted, abused, and silenced. At some point in their lives, they were made to feel small, insignificant, unimportant or ashamed.
I’ve read stories about parents, grandparents and great-grandparents taking steps, moving across oceans, working multiple jobs and doing everything they can to give their kids a better life. That this election meant so much with the memory of those who have gone before us, with legacies of hard work, compassion and love of family.
We are allowed to grieve. This hurts. There are several stages of grief and we are feeling all of them.
But we will keep moving forward, with our heads up and hearts open.
This morning, it was rainy and gloomy. How fitting. I took Lily to the trampoline park to burn off some energy, and as we were leaving to come home, I pointed out to her that you could see the sun glowing behind the rain clouds.
“How does the sun do that, mama?”
“It keeps burning, Lil. Even when it’s raining, the sun is burning brightly. And when the rain clouds go away, the sun will still be there. It’s always shining, even when it’s hard to see.”
Keep shining. Sending peace and love to you, wherever you are.