I’ve lost the inspiration to write. Hopefully it’s temporary, but everything that’s happening in this country is so stressful that I’m barely keeping my head above water being an adult, let alone a parent and a husband. It’s not supposed to be like this. I’m supposed to be spending my vacations truly enjoying time with my son, my weekends relaxing and doing fun things, and my evening shutting off my Work Brain and turning on my Family Brain. Instead, I’m calling my congressional representatives from the base of Hurricane Ridge, on vacation no less. Weekends are for showing up en masse to rallies for Planned Parenthood, Women’s Marches, Pride Parades, Immigrants’ Rights, and trying to move the Sisyphean needle on keeping asylum-seeking families together. Evenings are spent gathering intel and activist strategies through podcasts while accomplishing the bare minimum of chores before collapsing from exhaustion around 11pm.
My 4-1/2-year-old son is with me for all of it, at least when he’s awake. Because if he’s not then I don’t get to spend time with him. There’s too much to do and not enough time to do it. So I try to make the time as high-quality as possible. He knows why we rally for women’s health. He’s cold stood up to a protestor and unflinchingly said “I stand for Planned Parenthood,” without any input from me. He knows I’m referring to him (and a whole bunch of other people) when I wear my Black Lives Matter t-shirt. He knows why we march in the Pride Parades. He’s met many of my LGBTQIA friends and recognizes their humanity. He’s expressed profound, real sadness when I explained to him that children are being taken away from their parents at the border, his empathy shining through as I watch him consider how he would feel if he were separated from us. Again, all completely unprompted.
Parenting is hard. I anticipated some (but not all) of the growing pains of being a first-time parent. You know, the standard stuff. Everything from the chronic lack of sleep with infants to the frustrating, maddening boundary-pushing sociopathy of toddlers. I knew I would have to figure out how to help him navigate his complex racial identity in a bleakly racist world. But I never anticipated all this. I never anticipated that my generation and the generations before me would be gleefully setting fire to the world. That the scorched, salted earth my son will inherit may be appreciably worse than what I have. That I’ll have to explain to him how to stay safe when angry white men spray bullets all over his school. That the one parenting constant – that all generations strive to ensure better lives for the generations that follow – is a myth steeped in white supremacy.
I don’t know where we go from here, and I know I can’t protect him from all of it. My one hope is that he finds the strength to bring his generation together and fix this; to succeed where we have clearly failed. But for now, one step at a time I guess. There are signs to make, snacks to pack, and people to meet at the next rally.