And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.
Well. It’s been a week, hasn’t it. I was thinking for a while there that I might have to beg off another week, because the mess that is the US since Tuesday (well, for the last four years, really) just stole the week away. But then I thought, Let’s take a moment here and go over it piece by piece.
On Election Day, I was planning on spending the day hunkered inside. There were threats and predictions of violence and emotions were running high. But then I received a notification from my library that books I put on hold to read to my granddaughter, Maya Mae, were in. Because of COVID, I can’t see Maya much, even though she lives only a couple miles from me. But I’ve been reading to her, via Zoom, almost every evening. We’re working our way through the Junie B. Jones books. Michael, aka Grampa Mike, somehow always manages to be in earshot when I read and so we enjoy the books together. I also had a couple errands I needed to run. So despite the threats and predictions, I ventured out.
It was a beautiful day, stunning temps in the sixties, bright sunshine, blue skies. Weather that just makes the world feel positive. I wore my VOTE t-shirt and my Ruth Bader Ginsberg Dissent Collar earrings. I pulled out in Semi, my convertible, who I thought was tucked in for the winter, but not so! It was November Spring! Top down, music up (Heart And Soul by T’Pau), I buzzed around, picked up the books, ran my errands. Everywhere, everyone smiled. A woman and her kids in the library complimented my purse and we spoke for a while, six feet apart, masks on. In the car, I sang and I basked and genuinely enjoyed myself. I treated myself to lunch and then went home. I opened the windows of the condo so the sun could follow me inside.
As the night went on, it got uglier, of course. I didn’t go to bed until six o’clock Wednesday morning, and by then, my eyes were so bugged out from stress and staring at the numbers and the pink/light blue/pink/light blue/pink/light blue/blue/red of the states that I wasn’t sure if my eyelids would close.
Not a good time. And it’s been a jumpy time since, flying from joy and confidence to despair and distress in a single bound.
But through it all, I’ve been talking to my kids. I have four. Christopher is 36 years old. Andy is 34. Katie is 33. And Olivia is 20. This was Olivia’s first presidential election. And as I talked to my kids and listened to their thoughts and their worries and, well, their lives, really, I realized a few things.
First, I have four kids who never once questioned if they would vote. Of course they would. They consider it their responsibility and their right and their privilege. They know that voting is what makes this country a democracy.
None of my kids voted just willy-nilly. All gave it great thought and consideration, weighed and measured the issues, their own wants and needs, their beliefs and morals. Olivia researched every person running for any office. “I want to get it right, Mama,” she said.
Christopher participated in early in-person voting in October. Andy voted absentee, dropping his ballot off at our city hall. Katie, in a different state that didn’t allow absentee voting, but did allow early in-person voting, did just that. Her state only allowed 3 minutes for voting time, so she made sure she knew what was going to be on the ballot, researched her choices, and went in knowing exactly what she wanted to say. Olivia voted absentee, dropping her ballot off at the city hall, as Michael and I did.
All this adds up to one big moment of happiness. My kids (and I only call them kids because saying “my adults” just sounds wrong) have grown up to be responsible, knowledgeable, active members of our society and the world. They don’t look at voting as a chore or as something that can be blown off. They see it as the chance to raise their voices and speak out for what they believe.
And coming right on their heels…Grandbaby Maya Mae.
I don’t know how this election is going to turn out. I do know how I want it to. And I know that these threats to stop the counting of votes has sickened me, even more than so much of the previous four years has. We have the right to speak our minds through our votes. And our votes deserve to be counted.
All of them. Michael’s. Mine. Christopher’s. Andy’s. Katie’s. Olivia’s, voice lifted and strong in her first chance to select who she wants as president of the United States.
I am proud of my kids. I look at them and I can’t help but feel it’s all going to be okay.
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.