Finding hope in times of despair

Here I am, always last minute, writing this the night before. Which happens to be election day, and also my 36th birthday. I will try not to talk about politics, as hard as that is right now. I will talk about parenting, and hope, in times of despair.

I have parented in times of despair before. It is very, very difficult to give energy to another human being when all you can think of is how sad and screwed up things are. How hopeless you are. What do I do when I feel hopeless? Honestly, I usually drink, and get frustrated, and yell more than usual. Have a shorter fuse. Right now? I am scared. I am scared for my community and my neighbors and raising my child in a country that is so divided. Has always been divided. But is now clearly divided. I am scared for my Latinx friends and my undocumented friends and my Muslim friends. And for my son, even, who despite certain privileges, is part of an intercultural queer cross-border family. I am scared for the larger community of folks that has become my family and my community.

And so. I dig in. I remember that I never really believed that change would come from up above, anyway. I remember that my community and my people ARE the changemakers. And for that I am thankful.

I am grateful to live in a community of people who give me hope and keep me moving. They keep me fed if I need sustenance, and they make me coffee if I need to get up in the morning. They give me hugs, and let me cry, and let me scream at them, and let me hit rock bottom, and help me get back up again.
I am thankful to have a job that not only sustains me but surrounds me with people who inspire me every day. People who have lived through wars, and violence, and racial and cultural hatred, and who have time and again risen up. And continue to rise up. And will continue to rise up. They are the reason I will wake up in the morning. Have my coffee. And keep walking.

I am thankful to have my son and my partner, who allow me to feel deeply, and who feel deeply themselves, and cry, and love, and give me hope.

I know change can be small, and moves from the ground up. I know that I can only protect my son so much from this strange cruel world, but I can continue to give him the community, and the family, and the love that I have known and will continue to know. And that gives me the will to wake up, and continue to be his mama, in the only way I know how.

Photo Credit M.E. Smith

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