‘Looking out a dirty old window
Down below the cars in the city go rushing by
I sit here alone and I wonder why’
Kids in America – Kim Wilde
I woke up numb after going to bed feeling sick to the stomach. The results of the US presidential elections emptied my soul in a way I feared it would. I am feeling numb, sad, angry, afraid, shocked, rejected, hated, useless, abused. I really don’t know what to say to my kids who both ‘voted’ in class for the qualified person to be in charge. Sorry kiddos, your wish was not granted. How do you explain this morning to your kids that, in most states, their fellow Americans have chosen a person and ideology that hate your parents and what they stand for? How do I get up tomorrow without hating and fearing whom who hate and fear me? How can I forgive and understand women who vote for a Trump/Pence ticket?
As I am nursing P who ironically woke up sick with fever (atta girl), I started to think hard about the conversations DH and I have been having with G in the last month or so about his new class.
As you may know, we decided to send our kids to our local public school. And the first month has been a mixed bag of emotions. We love being in the school community; we miss our friends and their children who are in other schools. It is kind of normal. But something else has happened. Some things in life challenge you to the core and demand that you rise above your own fears. I very recently realized that the guiding hand can be that of our children. Let’s set some background here.
Our local school is predominantly Black and Hispanic and while P is in a very culturally diverse class, our son G is the only non Black or Hispanic kid in his class. Some public schools also have classes with students who have special needs and G’s class is one of them. I could not help but wondered how G was doing. Growing up as a child, for about three years I was in whites only class between the age of 6 and 9 – with the exception of my own sister and a Black kid from Ethiopia who was constantly bullied. It was very traumatizing to me. I used to pull my own nose every night for 15 minutes to ‘construct’ a nose bridge because I was sick of having a ‘flat face’. I wanted to change my name to Stephanie and was so adamant about it that my dad slapped me in the face screaming: ‘Over my DEAD body’. Dad: I will never thank you enough for calling my shit out. I have nothing to do with a Stephanie. An Imogen maybe, but never a Stephanie 🙂
For all these reasons, every morning, I feared that G was going to get picked at because he is the only kid with straight hair. Picked at, the same way my sister and I were, because we were the only kids with slanted eyes and darker skins with weird sounding names. I tried to rationalize my concerns but I could not help but feel some anxiety.
Then one day, an accident happened with a little boy X who has some behavior issues. He kicked G… The teachers handled the incident very well but it did not stop my concerns. A few weeks later, there was another incident with another kid XX. I started to panic in my own head like a crazy mom. Thank god DH is more sensible.
Is it G in particular that gets picked on because he is half Asian, half Caucasian? The teacher assures me he is well loved in his class so I start asking him questions pretending to be cool and collected (while deep inside I am shitting myself fearing that my son is a victim):
Me: ‘So about that kick with X…what happened afterwards? Are you ok?
G: X is a little difficult with everyone but with me he is cool now.
Me: Oh great. How come?
G: Well, the day after he kicked me I went to see him and asked him if he would become my best friend. He said yes so now we are friends. Also I saw that the teacher who helps him uses the truck to calm him down when he goes a little crazy. He just needs his truck’.
Note: at this point, I think my son is a political genius and the most open-minded and practical chap I know. He kind of put me to shame because instead of letting it go I kept pressing on:
‘What about the other kicks by XX and YY? Is it just you?
G: it is not just me; sometimes it is someone else who gets kicked.
Me: Are you not afraid?
G: No. I am not. And then he starts lowering his voice and murmurs: ‘I am not afraid because I am using my super powers…’
Me: Oh wow. What are those MAGIC super powers???
He starts beaming and screaming: ’To be super super nice!!!’.
This just nailed me. My eyes were moist with tears. ‘How can this little chap be stronger and more generous and fearless than I am?’ I was in awe. That was some weeks ago.
On this 9th November morning, as my soul was crying and as G was getting ready for school I asked him: ‘Can you give me a bit of your superpowers?’ he touched my hand and said ‘ZZZZZZttt’ ‘I only give you a little because I am tired’
That is OK, buddy. Keep yours. I will have to resource my own power source anyway to not fear and not hate so I can help you next time the way you helped me this morning. You may not have the President you deserve but I will work hard to be the mom you deserve.
That said, I’ll start working tomorrow. Today this mama is on strike. #notmypresident