To my children,
You spent this past Saturday without me.
I know. Weird, right?
Weekends are sacred in this house. I’ve made them so. After weekdays spent mostly apart, I spin our Saturdays and Sundays around family.
But on Saturday I woke before you. Before you had been awake for an hour, I kissed your sleepy heads and squeezed you goodbye. And then, with pockets full of water bottles and granola bars, I left for the day.
You knew I was going to a ‘march.’ You even watched parts of it on Daddy’s computer, trying to find me in the crowd (though I wish you could have seen me, I have to say I’m really glad you didn’t stand a chance!). But I didn’t tell you a lot about why I went. What a march is. Why it’s important.
Some of that is intentional. At seven and four, there is only so much I want to put in your sphere of awareness. While I want you to grow up as an active participant in the world outside our small family life, I also want to protect your childhoods. While I want to begin strengthening your activist muscles, I don’t want to do so at the expense of your innocence and imagination. While I want you to be aware that the world is not always sunshine and rainbows and that, sometimes, you must work really hard to uncover even the smallest glimmers of light, I also want to preserve the hope and happiness that radiates from your eyes for as long as possible. I want that for me as much as for you. Because over these past few months, it has been your unfiltered goodness and magic that has lighted my path. When the events of the world rock me to my core, you remind me that there is still so much good in the world. So much good right in my arms.
I’ve been lucky to feel secure in my freedom and safety for all of my life so far. I felt so safe, secure, and free, in fact, that I took it for granted. I assumed all that freedom and security would only grow. I assumed the freedom and security of those who enjoyed far less than I did would, also, only grow. That the world was moving towards a kinder, more understanding, more tolerant, better place and there was nothing I needed to do to keep it going. I didn’t think much of how hard people battled to get me these freedoms. That I was never as free or safe as I’d thought. Or how easily it could all be taken away.
Last year, I learned that I was wrong. And I began to fear that safety and freedom would not be yours to experience.
So, on Saturday, I marched for you. And for me. And for your Daddy. I marched for our friends and our family. And their friends and families. And families like ours in every corner of our country.
I went because this moment is critical. This is the moment when we need to be involved. It’s a moment for me to show you that when we’re wrong, we admit it. When we see that we’ve been taking things for granted, we right it. It’s a moment to wear our beliefs on our shirts, our hearts on our sleeves, and everything we care about in the look in our eyes. It’s a moment to add our voices. When I look back months, years, decades from now, I will know that I stood up, spoke up. I woke up. And when you look back months, years, decades from now, you will know that this is what we do when our rights, freedoms, and the basic structures of goodness, decency and kindness are under attack. We don’t sit back quietly. We don’t leave it to someone else to battle. We wake up and take a stand. We pack our pockets full of whatever it is we need, and we march.
Someday you’ll read this and understand, better than you do today, the details of what Saturday was all about. But they won’t change the overall message that, even at four and seven, I want you to know deep in your bones. That the world, indeed, has goodness, kindness, freedom, understanding, and tolerance. But only when we make it so. And we must stay awake, stand up, speak up, and make it so.
To changing the world.
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