To My Child Two Years Later

Two years ago, the country of your birth and mine elected a racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, anti-intellectual demagogue. Two days ago, some of your compatriots resisted, while others did not. And that is how it will always be.

In the last two years, children have died at schools and concerts and shopping malls. Babies younger than you have been forcibly separated from their parents, some permanently. Grandparents have died in grocery stores and synagogues and churches. People of color had their voting rights stolen. The city of Flint still doesn’t have clean water. The beautiful islands where Mommy and Daddy honeymooned were nearly destroyed by climate change. While I am grateful that you are too young to understand all these things, I regret that you will someday inherit this whirlwind sown by your parents and grandparents. For my complicity and complacency, I am truly sorry, my child.

In the last two years, Mama has wrestled with her identity as a woman of color, a child of immigrants, and mother of a multiracial child. I have always known that I cannot protect you from everything, or anything, really. All I can do is arm you with such confidence in who you are that you will not fear those who are different from you. You, my magnificent boy, come from a family of generals and scholars, artists and entrepreneurs. We have crossed oceans and continents, survived war and poverty and culture shock, living always as aliens of some kind. But never forget that you belong, my son. You belong to this family, these countries, this world, this Love. And you never need to explain that to anyone. (But I’ll get you a passport just in case because Mama is practical too.)

In the last two years, some people fought. We marched, we lobbied, we gave money and resources and time, we wrote, we voted. Some people will say that it wasn’t enough, that fear and anger still got the upper hand. But listen carefully, my son. Every act of resistance against oppression is enough. Every act of courage counts. Every grain of privilege dismantled is a victory.

I have many hopes for you, my love. I hope you stay as fierce and fearless as you are now. I hope you find meaningful work and supportive relationships. I hope you forgive us for the broken world you will have to fix from the inside out. But mostly I hope you will learn how to throw your weight behind bending the arc of history slowly but ever inexorably toward justice.

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