Friday, January 20, 2017

A mother's letter to her children on Inauguration Day

Allie Merzer Fleming is the daughter of retired Miami Herald senior writer Marty Merzer.

This morning on Facebook she shared a letter she wrote to her children.

I've been given permission to re-post it here.

A letter to my children regarding the Trump Inauguration:

Dear Solly (8) and Sophie (4),

Your father and I met 13 years ago when I was working for the Florida Democratic Party and he was volunteering for the Kerry campaign. Sol, you were 5 months old when you joined us to vote in an Obama onesie and Sophie, you voted for Obama’s second term when you were only 6 weeks old. You both participated as your parents helped local and statewide campaigns and with my job you are a familiar face at City Hall. This year, you danced when Katy Perry sang at the Democratic Convention, you watched the debates on our laps, you wore your Hillary stickers to vote with us on Election Day and you stayed up late (as late as we would let you) as daddy taught you how to track the votes online.

On November 9th, you came into our room like it was Christmas morning, excited to hear the results. I shook my head “no” and you crawled onto the bed and cried with me.

Since then you have had a lot of questions. Through the whole campaign your dad and I have been forced to discuss things we were weren’t quite ready to – how can leader be so angry? How is he allowed to say such mean things? Does he hate babies? Does he want to kill everyone in black? Your eyes and ears see and hear things differently than we do – snippets distorted by your own understanding, your own views and your own relationship with the world.

I’ve been forced to explain why we don’t “hate” our new President and that hate is a bad word in our house, even when we have strong feelings about him and the election. I’ve explained that even though “Miss Hillary” lost, we will continue to spread love and understanding because that’s what we were voting FOR and that our three branches of government will work the way it was designed and it will all be ok.

But I am lying.

I don’t know that it will all be ok.

I am scared. I am sad, I am angry and I am lost.

I have tried to come to terms with this as the new reality but I cannot… for that makes it seem like I’ve come to terms with hatred, bigotry, racism and sexism and I have not and will not ever accept those horrible attributes in humankind as “ok”.

I have tried to make peace with those who didn’t vote for Hillary thereby putting him into the Oval Office but I cannot… for that makes it seem like all the reasons I voted FOR her weren’t worth the fight.

I have tried to ignore the news and social media and only focus on puppy pictures and local politics but I cannot …for that makes me an uninformed citizen and leaves me powerless to protect you.

On this day the world will change forever and all I can do is be honest.

I honestly don’t know what will happen. I honestly don’t know that we will be ok.

What I do know is that there are a lot of people in this great country who will fight with every breath they have to protect you – not just because you are Jewish, or because you are female, or because you are middle class – but because you are a person with rights and responsibilities not dissimilar to any other person of any other color, gender, religion or creed.

What I do know is that you are loved and that you have been taught to love. You are surrounded by a community that cares for each other and your family works in that community, as you will too one day.

What I do know is that we can affect change, big or small, one street or one state, one law or one action at a time and that I will try my hardest to ignite that light in you, even when my own spirit is dimmed by current events.

What I do know is that your father and I will protect you and your rights as Americans to the end of our days. We will provide for you and teach you to provide for others, we will educate you and teach you how to communicate with others; we will keep you safe from harm and hold you harmless from the chaos that may consume your country for the next few years.

I wish I could kiss this hurt away like any other boo-boo, hold you in my arms and promise that you will feel better tomorrow. You might or might not. Honesty is all I have to give. I wish someone would hold me and tell me that I will feel better tomorrow and that they could actually make it better tomorrow. And then maybe I might or might not. But I would like to think that because we have each other – that we all have each other -- I am better off already. And so that is all we are left with – we have each other; tomorrow will be a better day.



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