I don't normally consider myself a person who keeps her head buried in the sand. To be sure I have educated my girls about the more unsavory portions of life that they may encounter as they grow up and their social circles expand. We have talked about private parts and who should and shouldn't be allowed to touch them. I have had the difficult talk about a friend who had been sexually abused and what they should do if it happens to them. We have talked about what to do if they are at a friend's house and someone brings out a gun to play with. I have told them the heartbreaking story about my childhood friend who lost one of her sons at the hands of her other son. Little by little, I am chipping away at their innocence for the sake of their safety.
But I just could not expose them to the campaign this year. I did not allow them to see the news, listen to NPR, scroll through my FB feed, watch the debates or listen to Len and I talk about the election. And yet, it seems there were still cracks in my defenses. The school bus chatter about how Hillary is a "liar, liar, pants on fire" (What did she lie about Mama?). How Trump will "keep America safe by keeping brown people out and getting rid of all the faggots". (What's a faggot Mama?) How Kate, my fast reader, managed to read one of my friend's FB posts about voting for Trump next to a cartoon of Trump wearing a "Make America White Again" cap. (Will I get sent back to China? Will everyone like Kate more than me because she has a white face?)
Fortunately, they still seemed not to know any of the more unsavory bits that made the news. I didn't have to tell them that a pussy does not mean a cat in all situations or that disabled people don't flail around and speak incoherently.
What I did do was try to explain that sometimes, when people are afraid of change and feel as if they are being left behind, they try to rationalize away everything that is contrary to their moral or spiritual beliefs to hold on to a way of life that they see as slipping away.
It was a rough morning. And I had to do what every mother does...protect her children the best way she knows how. I got out Lucy's birth certificate and showed her that she was a U.S. Citizen and could not be sent back to China. I showed her the pictures of us at court getting the documents. I showed them pictures of their uncles getting married this summer and how everyone who loves them showed up to celebrate.
I told them that sometimes the bad guys win. I told them that Voldemort won through 6 books but eventually, goodness and kindness and love won over bullying, intimidation and hate because Harry and his friends stuck together and never gave up. I told them that always, no matter what they hear or see others doing, ALWAYS, love will triumph over hate.
And then I kissed them and put them back on that bus.