Monday, November 14, 2016

This post is a giant mess, just like our country

So, how are you guys?

I should have written earlier. I had a draft from Monday all written. It was light and sarcastic and sort of funny. I was talking about how Ryan had encouraged me to go in super early to finish all the odds and ends I needed to so I could go to my research meeting and then teach, only to get a call thirty minutes after school started that one of the kids was sick and needed to come home. I was twenty miles away through insane morning traffic and Ryan was across the street, so that meant he had to go get him. And then since another kid has been having some similar digestive issues for a while I called and made them both doctor's appointments for the afternoon. Later I picked Wes up at school and when I asked him how is day was he said "My head hurt so bad I couldn't finish my work." Which was a problem because the previous day, while in a heated footrace with James, he had run head first into a metal post and had a massive goose egg on his forehead that extended in an angry red line all the way down to his jaw, which was also swollen. So now HE had to go the doctor too! Three sick visits in one day is our new record! Is what I was going to say on Monday night.

(Everyone is now healthy. Apparently math just gives Wes a terrible headache.)

Tuesday I wore my pants suit and helped first graders plant tiny lettuce seeds in the school garden before going to work. In class we watched a video called "Years of Living Dangerously" in which the civil war in Syria is discussed from a climate perspective. I felt hopeful, smug in my pantsuit, watching those forty kids see the horrors of war and hearing about what we are doing to our environment. How can anyone see these images and not want to do everything they can? I thought.

I invited friends over to watch the returns. I cleaned up the house. I put the kids to bed. We opened beers and put on blazers over our pajamas. It's about that time that we became aware that this might not be the celebratory evening we had expected.

Ryan made a grocery run and brought back all of our orders. Chocolate ice cream, fancy candy, cheese.

I folded a load of laundry to keep my hands occupied. It was a bad evening, but better among friends.

I didn't sleep well (at all?) that night and was relieved that I didn't have to row in the morning so I could tell the kids in person.

People have been openly mocking the "what do I tell the children" attitude in the past week, so I'd like to provide a little more context here. We tell our kids to work hard, to be prepared, to be kind and generous and loving. We tell them to stick up for the little guy. We tell them to be open minded. Our country (well, like 25ish % of our country) voted AGAINST those virtues Tuesday in favor of bigotry, homophobia, cheating, and lies. This is what it is hard to explain to the kids. And I have not been specific with them. We told them (when they asked), that we voted for Hillary because she has worked hard and loves America and wants to help people. We told them we didn't care for Trump because sometimes he said mean things about other people. I cannot control what they hear at school, but from what I've heard them retelling it has been a bipartisan mixed bag of crazy playground versions of the things all the kids are likely hearing their parents talking about downstairs when they should be asleep.

I posted the Prayer of St. Francis to Facebook, along with a Youtube of the Harlem Boys' Choir singing "Let there be Peace on Earth" because that is how I WANTED to feel. It was a goal. I went to our church's chapel service on Wednesday night while the kids were in choir and was so reassured when two women I admire gave me long tight hugs and whispered "What a tough day" into my hair.

And after sort of muddling through the week I watched the opening of SNL, which was perfect and heartbreaking, and provided a kind of stopping point. It felt like a good time to try to pick myself up and move forward. There are the details of life to attend to and kids to reassure.

I did six loads of laundry on Saturday and cooked the first real meal we'd eaten in a week.

So this is where I am now. Functioning and not filled with dread and panic when I think about my kid with the pre-existing condition. But I am an upper-middle class straight white woman and that gives me a kind of undeserved insulation from the real horror of this election (I would get into the climate implications and my profound disappointment with some in the evangelical community who are gleefully celebrating this outcome (no one I know and in fact the mood at my own church on Sunday was of somber resignation, which I found incredibly reassuring), but I have to function professionally in like thirty minutes and cannot afford to get into that particular shitshow at the moment (afford is really the right word because I work two part time jobs that are renewed every five months (or not!) even though I have a freaking PhD because no one is hiring real professors in colleges and universities right now and we're not going to talk about that as a country because we have to use our energy to deport people and make sure billionaires can still have gold toilets or whatever the hell).

(Also a note on healthcare: WHY do people not realize that you can do everything "right" (whatever the hell that means) and STILL end up in grave financial trouble through no fault of your own? One bad week with a layoff and a serious car accident and you are EFFED. This is a problem. And if it's true for college educated people with a savings account and a solid resume, it's an even bigger problem for people scratching together enough to live every week at an hourly job.)

So there it is. It is not eloquent or touching or angry or even a call to arms. There is much more to say, but we can't stay here. I will be seeking opportunities to work for good in the midterm elections.

I have also decided to stop keeping my thoughts to myself in the name of not stepping on toes. So watch for that.


uadamp said...

I think you are over reacting to the election results, in fact in a couple of years they may be hiring real professors again because of this election. After all, considering the past 8 years what do you have to loose.

PSchue said...

My week seems as though it was much like yours. Not much sleep, incredulousness, anger, worry. Vagueness with the kids. Not sure what will come next. Hoping something upsets the decision that was made. Hoping there's a red flag big enough to change things sooner rather than later.

LL said...

Love this post. I have also been a mess of anger, disappointment, bafflement ("give him a chance?" um, why? He built an entire campaign on racist rhetoric and deliberately false information and promises, most of which he has no intention of fulfilling and has already reneged on; he had a chance to define himself and he did so, very clearly, in language that is completely unacceptable to me), and anger again (a climate change denier as head of the EPA???). But we'll move forward, we'll do good, and we won't pretend any of this is normal or okay. I think that's the best we can do. xoxo to you and yours.

Chiconky said...

This is perfect. I'm really struggling because I'm not despondent or angry, but I'm not resigned either. I'm scared but I also know that four years isn't enough time to completely annihilate the country (I hope). I am, however, so sad that there really is a "forgotten people" that are so vindicated right now with the overt xenophobia, racism, and sexism. The win has legitimized a lot of people to a point that I am fearful for my own family and others.
But we get up and we move forward. I think you're doing a great job. We raise kind kids and do good.

mp said...

Thanks for this post.