Finding the Light

24 Jan

On Saturday, I trudged down the Capitol with several of my girlfriends and marched in unity with my sisters and brothers. We chanted. We sang. We were peaceful and we were together.

The day gave me hope — something I needed. Since the election, I’ve been nursing my wounds – in a funk – just damn sad. But Saturday, marching with 50,000 women, men and children in Austin, Texas, renewed my hope.

It also helped me reframe this presidency. It is awful, and I am scared. But I am trying to find that light – that wee bit of sunshine in a crazy, dark situation.

Here’s the light I found. Donald Trump will make me a better parent.

Yes, I said it, and I am serious. On Sunday on my drive home from church, I had a revelation, an epiphany maybe — Donald Trump’s mom must be so sad. Seriously, that was my revelation. I know she’s dead, but still, I bet she’s still sad. If he were my son, I would be so disappointed. And that’s where he makes me a better parent. I don’t want my children to be anything like this man – not one little inkling.

Ever since my boys were tiny, I’ve tried to teach them that it’s OK to fail. I don’t let them win board games very often. I don’t tell them they are awesome in their sporting events when they aren’t. I don’t sprinkle sunshine when it’s truly raining. I know, I sound kind of like a bitch. Maybe I am, but I want my kids to know that it’s OK to lose. It’s OK not to be the best at something. It’s OK to fail because failure teaches us. We learn in defeat. We learn when we lose. Failure also makes the wins so much sweeter.

Here’s the catch. I’m not always great at this. I remember one of Joey’s soccer tournaments when his team lost the championship game by one point. The other team scored after time had elapsed, but the referee wasn’t watching the time closely. It sucked. My boy cried, and I allowed him to blame the ref. Not a great parenting moment. Sure, the ref missed the time, but if Joey had scored two more goals during the game, his team wouldn’t have lost. The ref didn’t lose the game for his team – it was a group effort. I didn’t do a good job pushing that truth (you know, the opposite of alternative facts).

For the next four years, though, I don’t think I will make that mistake again. I won’t allow my kids to play the blame game to deflect a loss or defeat. When they fail, we will not sugarcoat it and make it into something it’s not. That’s not to say I won’t comfort them and encourage them to try again or try something else.

The simple fact is, failure makes us stronger — but only when we admit it and accept it. It pushes us harder the next time. I don’t think the Big Don has ever admitted a failure, and for that he is a weak man. I don’t want to raise weak children. I want my children to recognize their errors, apologize (if needed) and fix them. I want them to be accountable to themselves and the world around them. Thank you, Don, for helping me clarify that — I promise I won’t forget it for the next four years. I feel certain your narcissism will remind me every day.

Also, Having Don as the president also will help me teach my children about civil disobedience and political action. They will learn how to protest and use their voice. If Hillary would have won, I seriously doubt if I would be going down this path. I would have been relatively happy with the administration and not concerned about losing rights and privileges.

For the Saturday march, I missed my son’s basketball game. I hated that. I hated not seeing my little guy play his first game of the season, but our nation needed my voice on Saturday. Luckily, my son agreed. He was proud of us for marching, and he desperately wanted to join us. When I showed him the pictures that night the first thing he said, “Man, you would have lost me in that crowd. I would have just been gone.” It’s true. He would have been gone — meeting people and sharing his story.

So because of Don, my sons will see their mother protest, organize, go to meetings, use her voice. And when it’s appropriate, they will be on my side using their voice. This is a unique opportunity for them. They both were upset on election night — they both were ardent Hillary supporters. When I cried and said The Don was going to win, they wanted to know what would happen next. My only answer was, “This is America. We will use our voice. Your voice still matters.” My children are white, middle-class boys. America listens to them so I want to be sure what they say is accepting, loving, inclusive and just.

Am I happy about Don being president? No. Hell, no. I wake up every morning hoping this is just a bad dream. It’s not. It’s our reality so instead of letting the darkness win, I am going to try to focus on the light.






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