Until summer returns.

The nature of elections is that there is a winner and a loser. Someone has to win and sometimes one (or many) people have to lose. And the nature of American presidency is that after two terms, the president must transition his or her office to the winner of the next election. 

That’s the way it works. But it’s not just the nature of elections, it’s the nature of nature too. One season must pass on to the next. 

We have had a summer like no other. A long summer that gave us cool beach breezes, glorious sun-drenched October weekends, and tremendous progress–gay marriage, greater access to healthcare, much needed attention paid to sexual assault on campuses and the enduring effects of discrimination and bias. Wages began to rise and equal pay was, at least, considered. This summer we saw two terms of a brown-skinned president who made my children laugh with his easy smile and left me in awe of his civility and steady hand during turbulent times.

The season brought the end of a century long drought to the Chicago Cubs and increased visibility and acceptance for people who previously lived frightened or shamed into the shadows, afraid to let the sun kiss their faces or for their stories to be heard. This summer, this long summer, their faces shone and their stories made many of us see life in a different way. 

My three children will always be children of summer, children of this particularly spectacular summer. They understand that we are all different in so many ways but equally deserving of love and fairness and respect and justice. 

The nature of nature is that summer must end, but also that summer will return. What remains of fall is to be seen. The winter with its stinging winds may be long or short…hopefully it won’t last 108 years. But no matter what summer will be back, just as it always is. And I can’t wait to see the sun again. 

Until then, I’m going to huddle for warmth with the ones that I love and think the warmest thoughts I can muster about those that chose anger and fear.

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Broken promise.

I promised myself I wouldn’t mark the day of her passing anymore. That I would celebrate her birthday in absentia. That I would whisper a Happy Mama’s Day to the universe and hope it finds its way to her. That I’d take a couple minutes to prepare thoughtful questions before teacher conferences and always remember to express my gratitude to the people who devote their lives to making my kids wiser, more empathetic some-day adults. That I would sit with her memory on Christmas Eve after everyone else was in bed and quietly count gifts to ensure fairness and count blessings to remind myself of just how freaking lucky I am. 

And I’ve done all of that, except the first. I’m marking the day. 

It’ll be 6 years tomorrow.  6 whole years since we held her hands, kissed her face,  and told her it was okay for her to go when absolutely none of us thought it was okay.

It will never be okay. If she had been 115 years old it would not have been okay.  

So I’m marking the day because I have to. Because ignoring it doesn’t work. I’m marking it because a lot of wonderful and awful things have happened in this past year that she missed.  Because Michigan footfall is fun to watch again. Because her grandkids are big, and fast-witted, and telling stories she’d love to hear, and challenging their mothers in ways we’d love to discuss with our mother. Because a man of limited vocabulary, humanity, foresight, Constitutional knowledge, historical perspective, restraint, respect for others, and glove size (which, in this case, is a euphemism for grasp on reality) wants to be President and I’d love to hear what she’d have to say about it. Because there is a new Harry Potter book and I almost didn’t read it because she would be so mad to have missed it. Because I’ve made some big, hairy decisions about my professional life, and broke my knee in a fluke slippery tomato accident, and am turning 40 next month, and I still need my mommy. 

I’m marking it because it reminds me that all of it–all of this wild and magical and inexplicably terrible and brilliant life is infinitely better when shared with someone you love, who loves you, who loves even your harshest edges.

I’m marking it because I’m lucky to have had her love for almost 34 years.  And because even though it was an awful day, it was a day with her and I didn’t get enough of them. 

Girls.

I had a mother who loved me. Yes, mothers are supposed to love their kids, but mine–she took that supposition to next level heights. I grew up with an unwavering sense that the ground was firm below me and that I was capable of reaching great heights. She was strong and soft, brilliant and silly, fierce and kind.  Unapologetic and effusive in her love and belief in the potential of her daughters.

She told me I could be a doctor or a teacher or pilot. She told me I could write books or be an artist. 

She told me I could be a mom or could be a lawyer. I became both.

She never told me I could be the leader of the free world. Not that I remember. But even if she had, I would not have believed her.  This is a missive being thumb-typed as I listen to the Democratic National Convention so I don’t have time to cite the numerous studies that point to the importance of seeing is believing. But we all know it is.

Seeing is important.

You really have to see some things to believe. Gravity, God, Bigfoot, the tooth fairy…the list of big but largely invisible things people believe in is incredibly short. Lots of things are theoretically possible. But very few important things unseen are easy to believe.

A woman president was theoretically possible my whole 39 years and 9 months of life.  Tonight the theorem is one important and penultimate step closer to proved. 

When I heard the news of her official nomination driving home from work I started to cry. I felt like a door swung open and beyond it was everything. Every last bit of anything that was formerly impossible for me as a girl, for my girls in the future, was now every bit possible. 

My girls’ lives will be different than mine. This was a door that could not be opened by the love of a mother. Not by the belief of a mother in the potential of her girls, but by the belief of many in the potential of women and of one woman in particular.  

I’m with her for a lot of reasons, but tonight I’m simply relishing the breeze of that open door. And wishing my mother was here to feel it.