Tuesday, November 04, 2008

History

November 4, 2008
Dear Grace,

Today is an important day. Today is about possibilities. Today our country will elect its next President. The reality of this may not affect your day to day life right now, but the next 4-8 years will help to shape our nation and the attitudes of the people in it. This person will help to shape the direction of our nation until you are through your first year of Kindergarten, and possibly until you are 9 years old. That’s a long time in the world of a kid. As a country, we tell our children that “anyone can be president”, that you have the opportunity to do and have and get what you want if only you work very hard. Unfortunately, it’s rarely that simple, and one of the hardest parts of getting older and becoming a “responsible adult” is all the times that you learn that some idea or notion that was taught to you in simple terms as a child is actually much more complicated than that. Kind of like Santa Claus… it’s complicated, you know?

We are on the brink of electing a person whose skin color and background more closely resemble the average American. He was raised by a single mom with the help of her parents and probably many others who all loved him very much. He stepped to this brink of history after defeating his Democratic opponent, who is a woman. Had she attained the Democratic nomination instead of him, this letter would still be much the same…I would celebrate that milestone as well.
It’s all about possibility, and the novelty of the very IDEA of electing someone other than a middle-aged white man to lead our country. Anyone can be President. It’s sad that it’s taken our country so long to come to this point, where it’s notable and historic and exciting. Here’s what I hope for you. I hope you will read this letter as an adult and think that this election was not that big of a deal. I hope that our country and our attitudes grow in a direction that makes moments like this no longer a novelty or a “where were you” kind of moment. I hope you see it as a turning point, without having actually felt the sting yourself of the unfairness of small minds and narrow views.

You are loved by so many different people. We all have different life experiences, world views, skin color, lifestyles, socio-economic status. You will grow up loved by all of us and shaped by all of us. Fortunately, we all share one thing. We want the world to be a better place for you, full of love, kindness, joy, and possibilities. I want you to learn that yes, things are complicated, but not yet. For now I savor the moments when you lean your head on me and say “Oh baby.” I am excited for Christmas again… I can’t wait to see the wonder on your face as you stare with mouth hanging open and big brown eyes sparkling. I sneak into your room at night and watch you sleep. I am amazed by how absolutely adorable you are. I steal kisses and hugs any time I get a chance. I mourn the fact that you are no longer nursing. I celebrate and cry at these milestones, as each one pulls you a bit further away from me and closer to being out there in this big world where I can no longer protect you.

So I should get going. I need to go vote. I need to make sure everyone I know votes. Tonight you and I will watch the election results. I will probably get teary-eyed. You know how to say “Obama”, although sometimes it sounds like “Oh mama.” Tonight I will put you to bed while still uncertain about the fate of this election, and I pray that I lift you from your crib tomorrow morning with renewed faith in the future, in people, in the world you will grow up in.

4 comments:

gypsy said...

Oh, baby. Oh, bama. Man, what a day this is. It's going to be a long one!

Redhead Fae said...

OH Kalli, that's such a beautiful post!
I'm all weepy at work now.

Luv you,
R

Rikki said...

Yay! Grace, you should be so excited! Your elementary years are going to be very exciting, particularly with Obama in the White House!

gypsy said...

Blog, dammit.

"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time . Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult." --E.B. White