It was a hard day.
For so many it was even harder.
One of the most painful things to do as a parent is to let your kids lose. To let them crash and burn. To let them trip spectacularly, and then without a second to right themselves, tumble and roll into the mud. Instinct wants to send you running toward them, to stop and fix and save. But that isn’t always possible. And it doesn’t always help.
I want to let my kid miss homework questions. I want him to have a friend tell him off or ignore him if he’s acting like a selfish asshole. I want him to fail. But bigger, than that, I want him to try and still fail.
I really don’t want that. But I have to try.
It’s an excruciating lesson. One I will truthfully say I haven’t learned yet. Too often, at the expense of my physical safety, emotional health as well as my relationships, I make a mistake and I don’t get back up to fix it. I wallow in defeat and wait for someone to come pull me out of my muck. Because, you know, I’m a nice person and I deserve that. That flaw has cost me some lovely things in my life. As very well it should.
I don’t want that for my young man.
He was a part of this election with me. We talked about the candidates, what they wanted to accomplish and how that matched or differed from our own ideals.
You find things out that way. I learned that, to my surprise/chagrin he is more religious than I would expect for someone who hasn’t yet hit puberty. But, then again, puberty does change things, doesn’t it? If he is my church kid, then so be it.
He learned that his mother is pro-choice. He seemed genuinely surprised and maybe even upset. We talked at length about that one. I’m not the church mom, and I hope he’s okay with that.
Mostly, we talked about what was at stake during this political cycle. We thought about how it would affect us and the people we love.
With me, he has voted for our nation’s first African-American president, and then for the first woman to run on the Democratic ticket. Two pretty great memories.
Then, he saw me sad on Wednesday morning because the person we voted for together did not win. And I was worried about what might happen. And I have to state plainly here, I’m a straight (ish) , cis, middle-class white girl. I am raising a white boy. I am fully aware and exceedingly grateful, that I am going to be okay. We are going to be okay. I recognize that privilege and cherish it. So many do not and will not have that luxury.
I didn’t get something I wanted. Welcome to grown-up land. Now, what to do about it?
I want us to not just talk about that, but act as well. If we are worried about our LGBT friends and family, we find a way to support. That’s where we are. Learning how to be and then becoming the best allies possible. I want us, together, to start to learn at least something about the mountains of things that we don’t know. There is so much we don’t experience daily, tucked here in a small red town in a newly red state. We are researching agencies for donations and volunteering. We are looking and seeing and being open.
He may grow to be the polar opposite of me regarding politics or religion, philosophy or ambition. I want him to see me fail. And I need to finally learn to rise up like I haven’t done before. So he can see that, and learn the same.
I’m not winning. We all may not be winning. But we have to keep trying.