Today I had to wake up my 7 y.o. son and tell him that our candidate did not win. “What happened!” he shrieked, and threw himself back on the bed.
What happened, indeed. Hard to fathom, especially after maybe three hours of sleep.
I tried to be calm, to keep my voice even and say it would be all right, and we would go on living our normal lives, but I doubt I was very convincing.
I told him that I had to be honest, and that people in our country who don’t want his friends around (his best friends at school are two African-American boys and an Asian Indian boy) turned out to vote in larger numbers than those who are loving, accepting and open-minded like us, and that it’s a sad day. Because it is. I told him his friends might be scared of what will happen to them now, and their families, and he has to try to be supportive and loving and stand by them. I didn’t know what else to say. It probably rang hollow.
I told him about when I was a kid and my parents help elect a terrible president whose laws damaged our country so badly we are still trying to work out problems related to them, even from back when I was a kid (Reagan), and that sometimes, people elect a terrible president, and sometimes they elect a great one, but we just have to move on.
He went out to the coffee table where he got the packet about elections they have been working on at school. The last page is a fill-in-the-blank letter for the new president. “I am not doing this,” he said, and he drew big lines through all the questions in pencil. I told him he didn’t have to, and if his teacher tried to make him write a letter at school, he had the right to decline and I would back him, and so would his Dad. “I’d probably just write one and then crumple it up and throw it away,” he said. I told him that would be fine.
On the way to school, I tried not to cry, but I’ve been crying off and on all night long and it’s hard.
When we pulled up to school, he said:
“Well, Mom, we just have to wait 365 days times four.”
And so we do.
I hope we all survive. I hope his friends and their families aren’t assaulted or deported or killed. I hope all the good that’s been done in this country isn’t completely undone. I hope we aren’t bombed.
I wish we could leave. But we can’t. We can’t fix it, so we have to figure out how to stand it.
I don’t know how.