I tell them about suffrage. About the women and men who fought for all of us to have the right to vote.
I tell them about the Civil Rights Movement. That bodies were beaten and spirits were crushed, and still, the people fought and triumphed.
I tell them America was not ready for a woman President this year. But that will absolutely change.
They will ask, “But why did people vote for a mean man, Mommy?”
And then I will have to defend President-elect Donald Trump. I will say that he probably is not as mean as he sometimes seemed during this campaign. He is a father and a husband. He might not believe women can be equal to men. But he is wrong about this. And, in January, it will be his job to be a President for everyone, not just the people who voted for him. And, boy, isn’t that a hard job? Isn’t that kind of crazy? But every four years, someone has to do that. It’s how America works.
They will ask, “But what can we do now?”
And I will remind them about how we are going to visit great-grandma Mary tonight. We will give her lots of kisses and an ice cream cone. We will go across the hall and invite her neighbor, Betty, to come play cards with us. We will comfort the sick.
When we get home, we will put non-perishables in our backpacks for the fall food drive at school. We will feed the hungry.
And we will finish our Veterans Day pictures paying tribute to those whose sacrifices we sometimes take for granted. We will strengthen this nation.
We will be the changes we want to see.
And we will hug each other. When I smell the innocence of their warm little heads and feel the love in their strong little hearts, I will remember they are the future, and that love – not fear, not anger, not disgust, or even sadness – but love, love always wins.
*And after I put them in bed tonight, I will listen to this song on repeat for awhile. For anyone who needs simultaneous sadness and healing. It is not a Christmas song, but rather a day after Christmas song. And it is just right.
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music from the heart.
Poem by Howard Thurman (1899-1981)
Music by Dan Forrest (b. 1978)