Moments after casting my ballot with my family by my side during early voting, I wrote out these words. I was emotional and excited and proud. I wanted to save these words for celebration day. I wanted to dedicate this post to all the women who have inspired me before and all the young women who I hope to inspire.
And I think that is why this stings so much. I don't want to be sad. I want to understand. I want to listen more. I want to learn more. I want to be grateful. I want to remember the truth of who is really in charge.
But deep down I was really really really ready to celebrate being a woman on a historic day.
That is why I am sad. This celebration has been stripped away. For now.
But these words are still true. I am still so happy for the progress we have made. I am so happy that we finally had reason to talk about this with our daughters. And I will still forever stand side by side with my daughter encouraging her to always keep believing, keep trying, and keep learning.
From now until we get this done, I will be voting with my daughter. I will keep fighting for love and peace and empathy. I will reach out and learn more from those who are different than me. And I will never give up.
For now, here are the words I wanted to share on election day...
I cried at the polls today.
It took me by surprise.
I was clicking the appropriate boxes, making sure in the case that I needed to make a random choice in an election in which I had not appropriately researched that I was choosing the name that sounded female or international. I realize this is an ill-informed way of making choices. I should have done my research. But a friend once told me this is what she does in this instance and I figured regardless of a person’s policies, I don’t think our government is harmed too much by a little extra diversity.
Anyway, I came to the final screen where you were to confirm your choices and then press the obtrusive and rather daunting red button that read “Cast Ballot.”
Suddenly the magnitude of this decision stretched across my mind. I looked down and saw the name I had chosen for the person to lead and guide our country, to model character and inspire positivity. But most importantly, I saw the name of a woman under the title “President of the United States.”
I glanced down at my daughter standing at my feet, mindlessly staring around the room. I wanted her to be a part of this moment with me. I wanted her to say that, while not old enough to vote, she got to cast a ballot for the first woman president (cut away to me strongly crossing my fingers.)
This felt monumental.
Generations before me women stood together arguing for equality and the chance to have their voices heard. They dreamed of a world where a woman as President was a great possibility. They raised their hands high to run for President, stood in picket lines for the right to vote, insisted on sitting when told to stand, marched peacefully with mothers demanding safety for their children.
These women supported each other in a world that might not have been quite ready for their voice with great and mighty hope that their effort would carve a small path, step by step, for the hopes and dreams of women that followed.
And this day, amidst a season of negativity and hatred and confusion, I only felt hope. Monumental hope.
Because despite what others might argue, I do believe we are growing and changing as people. We are making progress towards equality. We are showing our children that they can ignore the conversation that tells me them they can’t and instead push further towards the one that says they can. They might have to fight like hell against all odds for years, and they might make plenty of mistakes along the way, but if they kept the end goal of equality and rights for all in their sight, than the dream is alive for us all.
I wanted to share this hope with my daughter. I wanted to believe that fourteen years from this day when she is standing in the voting booth ready to make her own decision, that the world where a woman had not yet led our country was merely a vague memory. I wanted to believe that because of the courageous steps from women’s voices before us, and because of my own voice right now in this poling place, my daughter lives in a culture that is just a little bit better for her. And I wanted her to know that we did this together, that I will forever do my best to model for her that she has the power to make choices and make a difference. And I will be standing right there with her as she does.
So with tears in my eyes, I picked her up and whispered into her ear “Will you help me make this vote?” She looked to me with a little curiosity and hesitance. She doesn’t like to see her Mama cry. But I smiled in reassurance, took her hand and we pushed that big red button, together.