These are strange times to be bringing a baby into the world. Yesterday, I sat on my couch, caring for a sick two year old, obsessively checking my phone for some indication of what the future looks like for my two boys. I suspect there are many other mothers across the country whose minds, like mine, are dancing schizophrenically between hope and despair.
So where do we begin? Where do we find refuge from fear and hope in dark times? How do we promulgate kindness and love, tolerance and civil exchange of ideas between those who disagree when people are so eager to shout down “dissenters” on the internet? Sometimes, when I think of all the struggle, the complexity of the problems, I just want to throw up my hands and hunker down in my own tiny, safe, predominantly liberal bubble. But I know that that course of action is neither productive nor conducive to creating the kind of future I want for my children. So where to start? As with all things, at the beginning.
In Italian, “to give birth” is dare a la luce – to give to the light. In Spanish, dar a la luz. Regardless of the political climate, I – through the body too many people still value too cheaply – have grown and nurtured a life that will inherit my idealism. He will know tolerance, he will value kindness, he will sow understanding. He will know his own worth and will be taught never to debase others’ inherent worth, no matter what they believe, just as my first born is learning.
And me? I plan to revel in the fact that my body is strong, it is capable, it is beautiful and it is wise. I can grow new life. I can hold contradictory thoughts in my head. I can be honest and articulate, but I can also listen actively, intuitively, and empathetically. I welcome discussion, disagreement, and argument as the growth promoters they can be when clothed in mutual respect. I will not be fearful. I will be brave. I will not be resigned. I will be hopeful. I won’t be silent, but I will seek connection and commonality where possible.
Today, the sunlight is peeking through the rain clouds. I will teach my kids and remind myself to always look for the light, no matter how hard it is to see. That will be my gift to them and my promise to my sisters marching all over the world today.