Hello dear mamas! WOW, what a week we’ve had with the election taking days to call and Covid cases continuing to rise in staggering numbers. And as if that wasn’t enough, we experienced a minor earthquake this morning in southeastern Massachusetts. So I have to ask, especially today, how are you? How have the past couple of weeks been? How have you been coping? I said it here in my last post and I’ll say it again – this is a moment in time where we as mamas are going to have to dig deep, tap into our strength and pull from that place that makes us who we are to keep our families on steady ground. We can only do that though if we remember to take care of ourselves.
But right now? Let’s take a moment to pause and celebrate.
Let’s celebrate hope and unity and empathy.
Let’s celebrate spreading the faith.
Let’s celebrate MADAM VICE PRESIDENT!!!
And let’s celebrate ourselves, mamas, because for the past four years we have been digging deep. We have been tapping into our strength and we have been pulling from within. We’ve done this without hesitation, fueled by the conviction that our children deserved better from the world we live in and if the leader of the free world wasn’t able to do better, well, big mama would.
After I cried tears of joy while listening to Kamala Harris and Joe Biden give their victory speeches, I crept quietly into my boys’ bedrooms, pulled blankets over their little bodies and watched their chests rise and fall, the deep breaths that only come from a mind and body completely at rest. My heart was full and I was beyond grateful in that moment. My boys would finally come to know what it meant to be cared for by those who hold power over our lives, people whose moral compass points in the direction of compassion and service, inclusivity and empathy.
Mamas, our children now have leaders who will teach them to not only build bridges, but to cross them, with open hearts, listening ears and the ability to hold space for another’s beliefs. They have leaders who will show them how to have the difficult conversations needed to bring about healing in our country, the conversations that require us to put down our defenses, look each other in the eye and recognize that we are all just trying to survive and hoping that one day we will thrive.
The heavy responsibility that comes with this sacred work cannot be shouldered by the President-Elect and Vice President-Elect alone though. We all need to do our part and as mamas, we have the unique opportunity to take these ideals and, like the magicians we are, turn them into a tangible, teachable, REAL moral compass that guides the way we parent our children as we walk with them on their journey to adulthood.
In other words, we need to keep digging deep, we need to keep tapping into our strength and pulling from our own moral compass to show our children how to do the same.
And then there will be times our children lead the way, shining their light toward our souls, revealing the depths of our own darkness, no matter how “good” we think we are.
Those damn kids, always flipping the script on us.
At the end of last week, my five year old son, who is now in the full swing of hybrid Kindergarten, ran up to me and said “guess what?!? We had an election today at school for President.” His eyes sparkled, his cheeks were rosy, his lips curled into a huge smile and he was tensing his muscles the way he does when he is beyond excited. And out of his mouth came “I voted for Donald Trump.”
I quickly schooled my features into a neutral expression and said “you did?” He did. And he was excited he did. He described the whole process – using a pencil to check one of the squares, remembering to not write his name down because the ballots were private, folding the paper in half and handing it in and then sharing with the whole class he voted for Trump.
Those of you who know me know I’m pretty liberal and a proud Democrat. I’ve been a social worker working with children and families in their homes, in an office, in a preschool for close to 15 years at this point. I’ve seen how the political gets very personal in the worst of ways, impacting hard working families by pushing them down through the evils of disempowerment rather than lifting them up and showing them there are other choices. I wear my Nevertheless She Persisted shirt with swagger, post selfies of myself in my Biden/Harris t-shirt on Facebook and have a Biden/Harris sign in my front yard.
So it’s more than accurate to say the reaction I had when my son shared who he had voted for was visceral and just a little surprising. It would have been all too easy to dismiss his enthusiasm for getting to participate in the democratic process, even if it was a Kindergarten election, by discounting his vote and telling him that our family supports Biden. But this was one of those tangible, teachable moments that ground ideals into the real world.
So I didn’t.
I thought back to the days President Trump had been diagnosed with Covid-19 and how my son chided us for making snide comments about it. The night we watched CNN report the President had been transported to Walter Reed while noting the irony of the situation, my five year old told us he was praying for him and that we should too. He went on to remind us that he was a person and that when a person gets sick, when a person gets “the virus,” they should be prayed for.
In about four sentences, my kid cut through bullshit to not just build a bridge but to cross it, while reminding his parents that they should too.
So what I did was tell him “You vote for who you want. You do you.”
Mamas, let’s join our President-Elect and Vice President-Elect in this hard but sacred healing work. We’re already doing it within our own homes and if you’re unsure if you are doing the work, just look to your children. They are mirrors for our soul, reflecting back our intentions of love and compassion, hope and empathy. They reflect back the best version of YOU.
So when the work gets hard and your heart feels empty, let your little loves take the lead for a while. Let them guide you across the bridge. I promise they won’t steer you wrong. You, dear mamas, have already shown them the way.