Morning: Husband is finally home, got to sleep an extra 30 minutes!
Afternoon: Discovered my friend has 30,000 more unread emails than I do. Perspective is everything.
Evening: Toddlers with English accents are freaking everything.
Morning was like:
Afternoon was like:
Evening was like:
Lunch: Tacos. BFF. Yay.
Lateafteroonishtime: Eyes… needles… exploding…ow. Break. Target. Return stuff. Coffee. Kid. Whatever.
Mideveningishtime: Wrote. Kid… bed…? Yup, bed.
Rightnow: Literally. Can’t. Even. Anymore.
When I put you to bed on the night of November 8th, we talked about the election. You expressed your hopes for the outcome. We talked about women’s rights, glass ceilings, and our hopes for the future. I tucked you in, and when you asked if she would win, I told you she would.
I lied to you.
I didn’t mean to lie to you. With all of my heart I thought that the outcome would be in her favor. The polls pointed us to a victory. Insanely brilliant statisticians who have devoted their entire lives to this predicted a victory. But there was no victory, at least not in our home.
My tears woke you the next morning. I didn’t know what to say, so I just sobbed over your sleeping body until you woke up, put your arms around me, and asked me what was wrong. I told you. Your sweet face was thoughtful for a few moments, and you hugged me tighter. You are too young to understand, and so I sobbed harder, crying tears for the future you simply aren’t yet able to comprehend. As we picked out your clothes for the day, you told me, “I know you’re sad about her not winning mommy, but maybe she’ll win next time.” I smiled and responded that I hoped so. I wasn’t about to take your innocent, comforting words and crush them with the harsh reality of truth.
As I write this, the pain is fresh. I’m having a hard time putting into words all of the emotions I am feeling inside. I am tired, and I am scared, but very little of what I am feeling is for myself. I’ve lived in this world long enough to know how it works and how long it takes for things to change. Most of my hopes for this election were not for myself but you. My emotional investment is in your future because you are the most important thing in my life.
My darling little girl, I want you to know that this is not the end. There is a vast community of people in this nation who refuse to let this be the end. Do not let hate and intolerance win. Fight, with all of your might, against the injustices of the world. You will not grow up in a world that defines your worth by the prettiness of your face. You will not grow up in a world having to smile because a man told you to. You will not grow up in a world thinking that you are less than anyone else. You will not grow up in a world thinking anyone is less than you. Always remember – you might be the center of my world, but you are not the center of the world.
With that in mind, these are my hopes for you:
- You will grow up giving, receiving, and surrounding yourself with love.
- You will grow up with kindness in your heart.
- You will grow up knowing that a person’s worth is defined by their actions, who they are inside, and not by their physical appearance, their gender, their sexual orientation, their ethnicity or nationality, their religion, or their able-bodied status.
- You will grow up learning how to think critically, weigh facts and evidence, and make informed decisions.
- You will grow up accepting of all of the beautiful, diverse difference in the world.
- You will grow up with an open mind and an honest heart.
- You will grow up knowing how to stand up not only for yourself but also for those around you.
- You will grow up understanding the privilege that comes with your white skin, your physical ability, and your socio-economic status.
- You will grow up fighting for those who do not have the same privileges as you.
- You will grow up knowing how to use your voice to fight for what you believe in.
You will do so many things in your life, little girl, and the results of this election will not define your future. I will protect you for as long as I possibly can, but while protecting you, I will do my best to give you a solid foundation upon which to thrive. This is more important to me than ever, and I hope I don’t let you down.
When you are weighed down with doubt and uncertainty, remember this:
I want to be the person who teaches you, comforts you, plots with you, plays with you, and listens to you. I want you to know that before everything else, before work, and school, and hobbies, I am your mother, and nothing matters more than you. If you are sad, I want to share your sadness. If you are happy, I want to share your joy. When you are angry, confused, or scared, I want to share all of these emotions with you. Please know that you will never have to shoulder the weight of the world alone. I will always be here for you. While I won’t always be able to remove your burdens, I will always be ready to take a share of them, so that you are able to breathe a little easier, stand a little straighter, and keep moving forward in the bright future I know you are going to have.
Sometimes very special people come into your life unexpectedly. When those very special people also happen to be the caregivers of your only child is when you know you are truly blessed.
Nearly three years ago to the day, I took my two year old – my crazy, wild, stubborn, sarcastic, would-not-potty-train-for-anything little girl – to preschool for the first time. I didn’t know any of these people, and I was terrified to let go of her and walk out the door. I’m pretty sure that I called and/or emailed several times that day, just to make sure she was okay. Deep down I knew she was okay. The emails and calls were really for my own well-being. I got through my fears, and Lucy thrived.
Within a month, Lucy was potty trained. She started eating foods she had refused before. She learned to share. She learned to stand up for herself. She learned her ABCs and then learned the sounds they make. She started singing random songs out of nowhere that boggled mine and Cory’s minds and made us laugh hysterically. She grew smarter. She grew sassier. She has always been sweet.
I call it preschool, but it has been so much more than that. It has been daycare when I’m at work. It has been fun and games and the best place to play. It has been life lessons (sometimes learned the hard way). It has been friendship and love and support and new discoveries. It has been a new best friend every day. It has been celebrations. It has been a dozen or so women (and occasional man) who have helped me raise my daughter. These individuals have been there for her when I couldn’t be. They’ve taught her and loved her and have helped make her the beautiful person she is. They’ve been comforting arms when she is sad or sick. They’ve kissed her owies and held ice packs to her head (Lucy obviously inherited my grace and poise). They’ve been my eyes and ears when I am not with her. They’ve been her protectors.
And for everything they’ve done for Lucy, they’ve done just as much for me. They’ve assured me that all the weird things my child does is completely normal. They’ve offered advice to get us through the tougher days. They laugh with me and cry with me and offer their unending support and friendship.
I know that these women love my daughter almost as much as I do, and words simply do not exist that can adequately describe how important they have been to our lives these past three years. Even though today we say goodbye, they will always be a part of our lives. Lucy’s first memories happened while she was with them. A large part of who she is is because of them. Julie made her sassy. Sarah made her silly. Tami made her smart. They’ve all helped her become the lovely little person that she is.
So I just want to say thank you to the amazing people at LPA. Thank you for choosing the profession you did and for loving what you do. Thank you for taking us in and making us feel at home. But most importantly, thank you for loving and protecting my baby. We love you.
I have to end it here, because now I’m crying.
Lucy: Mommy, where did the first animal come from?
Me: [Shit, is it okay to Google and drive?] Um, evolution.
Lucy: (blank stare)
Me: Okay, so millions and billions and trillions of years ago, living things were just tiny micro-organisms. And they changed and grew and changed and grew over all those years and now there are animals and people.
Lucy: I have a scratch on my nose.
Today’s science lesson was made possible by the State of Arizona public education system and the support of viewers like you.