Love is love is love is love

I cried myself to sleep on Tuesday night for many obvious reasons. I cried because we had lost the election. I cried because we are yet to celebrate having a woman for our president. I cried because a racist, misogynist, pussy grabber was elected to lead our nation. But mostly I cried because I saw tears of fear, disbelief and angst running down my daughter’s cheeks.

My heart shattered into a million pieces.

I woke up Wednesday morning trying to be hopeful, trying to find the silver lining. But I didn’t.  As I was preparing their lunch boxes, my oldest one came into the kitchen and asked me again if Trump had really won. Yes, he had. Those same tears ran down her cheeks again. And my heart, again, shattered into a million pieces.

I reassured her that everything was going to be ok. That this amazing country was going to be ok. That we were going to be ok. That SHE was going to be ok.

“How?” she asked.

I didn’t have an answer then, but just promised her we were.

Little did she know that she had already given me the answer. As I walked into my office, I found a note she had left for me the night before. It read, “Love is what I work for.”

And just like that I had my answer. LOVE.

So that night, while we ate dinner she asked me again:

“So, how are we going to be ok?”

I told them I had a plan. A good one.

 

This is how we are going to be ok:

We are going to love.

We are going to live an amazing life.

We are going to love and respect our friends, no matter where they come from, what religion they practice or what they believe in.

We are going to speak up and not remain silent. We are going to defend our shy friends against bullies. And we are going to show compassion to those bullies that are surely trying to fight their own personal battles.

We are going to celebrate holidays, birthdays, we will make up excuses to have laughter-filled family reunions as often as possible.

We are going to stuff our faces with ice cream and cake.

We are going to go on trips. Lots of them. Disney, Chicago, Detroit, LA, Miami. We’re going to travel all over the country. Because it’s an amazing one.

We are going to go to the beach, the pool,  all of the parks, summer concerts, festivals…

You will go to gymnastics, or ballet, or swimming, or whatever you want to learn this month.

We are going to try to catch Santa this year….and the Leprechaun too.

We are going to cook and eat together (your father’s food, not mine, don’t worry).

We are going to go outside, way past your bedtime to catch fireflies.

I will visit you at school during your lunch time and you can visit me at my office during mine.

We are going to visit all of the Smithsonian museums for the 100th time because it’s one of your favorite things to do.

We are going to have picnics.

We are going to laugh about silly things and cry at sad things.

We are going to build forts out of blankets and make a mess in the living room.

We are going to pray together.

We are going to grow together.

And we will BE together. Because love trumps hate and love is love is love is love.

 

on the market for some nerves of steel

You know when you don’t want a certain day to arrive and it comes by so quickly that you kind of miss all the days in between? That’s what happened last summer. Not because I was enjoying it so much, but because Antonella was starting kindergarten. I basically spent the whole summer preparing myself for this day. And by preparing I mean obsessing and worrying. I think I cried one day while almost squeezing her to death. She thought I was crazy and offered me some water.

kindergarten

Pre-K was heaven for me, not so much for my bank account, but for my mental health. That small building was like a little protective bubble where I would drop her off every morning and pick her up in the afternoons.  It was a peanut-free school with only 5 classrooms and an army of teachers. Everyone knew which parent belonged to which child, no need for name tags.  So when I was registering her last spring, I obviously brought with me a never-ending list of questions.  After a meeting that went way past its 30 minute limit, the registration lady told me: “Don’t worry, they either sink or swim. And trust me, most of them will swim.” That didn’t help at all.

mothers

So before setting my child free in the maze-like hallways of elementary school, I sat and explained to her all the different scenarios she might bump into and the best ways to handle them. Basic things like don’t share snacks and here’s a Life Alert button just in case you fall down from the monkey bars ;)

Too much?bubblewrap

The bus ride back from school was her favorite part. She felt like a grown-up, riding solo in that bus with basically no adult supervision. Kindergarteners got assigned seats up in front. Antonella got to sit with her best friend and another little girl.  Everything was rainbows and unicorns in kindergarten land until last month.  She started coming home complaining that this other little girl kept bothering her on the bus.  We wanted her to try to solve her own problems, so we stayed out of it, just advising her to ask this girl to leave her alone and if worse came to worse, to tell the bus driver (there’s so much the driver can do, after all, I’d rather she keeps her eyes on the road).  But fumes slowly started coming out of my ears when she came home crying TWICE, because little Ms. Brat couldn’t keep her hands to herself. Not only was she verbally bothering my child, but she had started using her lunchbox and whatever she had handy to, and I don’t even want to say it,  hit my daughter on her head.

Me, sans the red moustache. 

steam

So what do I do? Instead of confronting the other girl’s parents (because I am still hoping there is no malice behind this), I take ten deep breaths and  send a handwritten note to my daughter’s teacher asking her to change her bus seat. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because for some reason, they still want to play together during recess. It’s like she’s Mr. Jekyll at recess and  Mr. Hyde on the bus.  I don’t get this child really. But they do seem to care for each other, weird.   Turns out, the school made a big deal out of it. They called this little girl’s parents, the bus driver blurred out my daughter’s name to them and all hell broke loose.  To quote the little girl “Antonella, I’m sorry, but my mommy won’t let me play with you anymore”. Yeah, like my child is the one with the problem.  These girls are just 6 years old. Is this bullying or just teasing? I don’t get this, they’re just 6.  It still baffles me that little girls can be so mean this early on.  I need to pop my bubble and get myself some nerves of steel.  This s&!%t is heartbreaking!

By the way, Antonella was over this from the moment I sent that note. Me? I’m still lingering over it.

This is my heart. My child is obviously much stronger than me. 

heart