Last week I was so sick. I caught some bug that was making its way through my kids' school. After one of my boys got sick it hit me. Aaron came up to me while I was laying on my "death bed" and showed me a picture he drew. It had the names of colors and dots on it and he explained how it was a little game. I could match the dots with the words. (Honestly, the game didn't make much sense but I'm sure it was a thrilling game to a four year old.) He also wrote
For those of you who don't speak four year old handwriting (although I bet most of you got it) he told me "get well soon" and "you are the best daddy ever."
Of course that immediately made me feel better. What touched me most was his empathy. My little monstrous children who for years have only thought of themselves and their own interests (because that's what little children do) were getting the fact that I was hurting and needed help. It's not the first time this has happened. My kids have given me bites of their desserts when I didn't have one, sent stuffed animals to work with me so I won't be alone and given me kisses and hugs to cheer me up. But I think this card/picture/creation hit me harder than before.
Because of what our world is facing. Because of the Orange Demon and his vile team who have taken over the White House.
After Aaron gave me my present I really wondered what kind of childhood this man had to turn him into such an unfeeling, uncaring monster. I have no idea how he -- along with hundreds if not thousands businessmen like Madoff and Diamond and Stumpf -- can do such hateful things to so many people. I have no understanding of how someone can have such disregard for other people's lives.
I am grateful I live in my bubble in which my friends and family want to find ways to support the Syrian refugees, not ban them from entering the country. I am happy my friends and family are willing to pay a little more in taxes to keep safety net programs like Medicare and Medicaid instead of cutting taxes so the rich keep an extra million that they don't need for a third or fourth or fifth house. I love that my friends and family are humble enough to admit that they have good lives because often (not always) their parents gave them things like a good education, warm clothes in the winter, breakfast every morning and we know that those less fortunate can be in their position through systematic failings and not just personal ineptitude or laziness.
I am by no means perfect. I am not someone who buys a homeless man a sandwich or protests inequality at marches or even is consistent with donating money. But I'd like to think that at the very least I'm teaching my children not to hate, understand when others are hurting, and to feel grateful for the things they have. Hopefully when my kids grow up and their generation takes over control of this country things will be different than they are now thanks to what Derek and I (and our friends and family) are teaching them. I'll try to find some comfort in that idea for the next few years. I believe the world can continue to become more empathetic and kind despite this temporary setback.