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.