Why did he win, you asked me, after I woke your father from his sleep to confirm last night’s nightmare had become our reality.
And when you asked it I just stood there, in the dark room, coffee in hand, in silence.
Your dad rolled over and put the blanket over his head and I just left the room, with you there wondering.
And I pretended I hadn’t heard you, but truly, I just didn’t have an answer.
Just like the millions of families across the continent, who struggled to find the words to dash their little one’s optimistic spirits, I had to just walk away. Because the truth is, babe, I was in shock. And shock does not allow us to make formulated decisions, or to react in usual ways.
See, adults do it too. Much like you, when you get going too fast on your bike or step out in front of a crowd or try something new for the very first time- you’ll scream, you’ll lash out, and you’ll behave unexpectedly. You’ll feel like you’ve lost control, and you’ll latch onto anything to get that sense of security back.
And that same feeling drove this election’s result. People in America were made to feel afraid, and fear put that X on the ballot. More people, than not, were out of their right minds.
And now you’re left to watch it play out, and you’re not dumb- you can see my reaction is one of fear, too. It’s making me hold you girls closer and hug you longer and kiss your little foreheads when you’re walking by. Because I need your comfort in this processing stage.
I need time to reinforce in myself that the way I’m raising you is right.
Because I’ve always taught you that good prevails over bad and that the good one always wins.
That people don’t get away with saying hurtful things and come out on top.
That bullies are to be sympathized with- for they are surely battling their own inner demons unsuccessfully.
That love and understanding and compassion reign.
I swear I’m not full of shit, I swear, and yet this decision negates all of that. So I’m struggling.
I’m needing to feel my feelings, and so if you notice me drinking more wine at night or taking long showers with said wine, that’s why. I’ll also be stealing your Halloween candy for breakfasts.
Because right now I’m sad, disappointed, hurt and very confused. But mostly, I’m angry. Because this affects the confidence I have in raising you to feel secure and safe in this world.
Right now I feel like our flame has been dimmed because you are just a little girl and you already know that women can come second to sexist pigs, and I want so much more for you.
So here I am trying to say this in a way that makes sense to you, and yet it still doesn’t to me. You, who at 5 years old, are learning the harsh reality, which is, and always was, that women do not always come out on top. That despite everything sane, insanity can rule.
Sometimes, despite fighting the fight, despite gaining the experience, despite our equal education and harder work, we just don’t win. Despite taking every right step, you’re forced to start all over again, when the journey doesn’t bring you to the destination you’ve sought out.
I caught myself pulling up my shirt and pulling down my skirt this morning, in this new reality that is ours, and I hate that you’re being raised in it.
We are, at the end of the day, the other. We are the dark horse. We are the underdog- still, in 2016.
And fuck, that makes me angry and pissed to raise you in that environment. I so wish we were past it because you deserve so much more.
So I’m tying your shoelaces in anger, I’m flipping the pancakes in rage and I’m sulking in the bathroom with your chocolate on the can.
But at some point, I have to remember there is more to the history books than this one unfair pattern. And I need to share this with you too; that for every lost fight, there is a fighter. For every loss, there is someone working hard to make a gain.
Raising a girl in today’s world is surely one of the most challenging tasks, but hell it’s also the ultimate privilege. Our tiny glow of a spark can and will, surely, make a flame, when combined with the other helpers in the world.
It already has.
So you will get knocked down, in this life, like this, and you will lose. And what really matters next is how you react.
Take your time to process. Feel the feels, but then move through them- and you may need others to help you do that just as I have. But once you’ve accomplished that, and you’ve found your people, keep burning.
The irony in going to the Remembrance Day service with you this morning after this hellish week is not lost on me; I am a proud Canadian, and one who made a promise to learn from history and to do better. As I attend the service today, I’ll be reminded of how fear and irrationality made their mark on a generation fuelled by hate, but I’ll see that bravery and courage in opposition to it, do too- and I’ll recommit to them to never forget any of that.
If only for the veterans before me who’ve already lived through the fear, and if only for you two girls, I have to move past this feeling of fear today and be a better version of myself- putting some positivity back out into a universe that so desperately deserves it.
I’ll move beyond moping for you and do something about it. That’s the example I’d like to set.
Because you’re my little sparks and you’re still so very capable of making fire- even now.