For My Daughter… This Is History


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As I finally went to bed last night, at midnight, I found myself shaken by feelings that I dismissed as silly. I let them wash over me for only a moment, and then picked up my book, in the hopes of distracting my weary brain. I spent all of Monday making phone calls to undecided voters in swing states: predominantly Florida and North Carolina. I made nearly 200 calls in the course of the day, most of them wrong numbers, but many of them brief conversations. My brain needed distracting.

But at 5:30 this morning, there it was again. I woke from a disturbing dream and instead of thinking it through, or trying to make sense of it, I found myself giddy again. Not the excitement that my 53-year-old self feels about seeing my grandson, traveling somewhere new, or finding a great pair of boots; this was unmistakably childish in its giddiness. For the shortest of moments, I pushed it aside again and tried to get back to sleep, but it kept me awake. The girl in me–– the one who still remembers first love, summers on the beach with her friends, dancing with a crush, riding her bike for miles, playing with Barbies–– the girl in me felt the thrill of possibility. After today, all girls may finally know that they too can grow up and be President of the United States.

And right there, I’ve labeled myself. You may have stopped reading, based on this personal moment I’ve shared. The cynic in me gets that. As I said, I pushed that feeling down two times; dismissed it as silly and dramatic. But there’s no denying that it kept me awake, when my internal clock knows I need several more hours of sleep. It pushed me out of bed, and left me needing to put these thoughts down. For months and months, I’ve read other women (this woman!) express this hope. I’ve seen the memes, the op-eds, the blog posts and reports; a woman is running for President. I’ve also seen the mud slinging and ugliness all around, and like so many, I’ve mostly felt stressed… simply wishing this was over.

But the second thought that woke me up this morning was this: regardless of its outcome, today is history making. This election has been more divisive than any election I remember, in the thirty-five years that I’ve been voting. The first time I cast a ballot was my senior year of high school: Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. It felt historical to me, because I was voting for the first time–– the polling place being my high school, center of my then universe. I have never missed a vote, since that first year I was able to; it’s a right and a privilege I take very seriously. And while that election felt important for personal reasons, this morning I woke up and felt an overwhelming sense of history. I woke up and felt an undeniable excitement in knowing that this election will be remembered for many years to come, as historical, for reasons that are both simple and complex, at the same time.

Strangely, these two emotions, as I woke in our still dark room, were bigger than the increasing anxiety and stress I’ve felt, as both sides have amped up their ads, the news has reported 24/7 the same few stories, and the nation has been unmistakably divided. Putting aside all of that, what woke me was the sense that today we are watching something that will be discussed for a long time, regardless of the outcome. Whether it’s history or herstory, it’s changed everything. Like him or not, Trump is different from any candidate I’ve ever seen run for President of the United States, and Clinton is the first female candidate of a major party, nominated for that office. The girl in me woke giddy with the potential of that, the adult woke in reverence for the historical import of it all, and the weight of this outcome.

Again, it’s not hard to guess what side I land on this ballot, from the things I’ve shared here, but having spent weeks discussing it, and an entire day calling folks to encourage, I woke today free from those thoughts, free from the need to convince or cajole, argue or discuss–––– for these few, quiet moments before I go to the polls, I turn on the news, or face my neighbors and friends. I woke thinking of my niece and two nephews, who will be voting in their first election. I remembered the heady sense of importance I felt in 1980, when I faced the first election where my opinion counted. I woke thinking of finality of Election Day, when votes are finally counted. I woke with reverence for the process.

I woke thinking of the incredible people I talked to yesterday–– every one of them living very different lives from me, as demonstrated in the conversations we had and the details we shared. I woke thinking about “Samuel,” my first call of the day, who was so kind and such an old school gentleman, that I knew I could make the rest of my calls with confidence, though I started outside my comfort zone and nervous. In his 70s, he spoke with such passion about his right to vote, and his community–– who worries about stolen ballots and doesn’t trust the system. I spoke to two girls, both twenty, who weren’t planning to vote, because they’d always heard “it didn’t really matter.” I looked at my signed and sealed ballot, waiting on the counter to be taken to our local polling place, and felt gratitude for all I have, and honored that many of the people I called, took the time to politely take my call, and tell me their thoughts. Plenty hung up; only one swore at me.

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I woke with the sober realization that I have unconsciously raised my daughter, now a mother herself, with the belief that she could not actually be anything she wants. Because for all of my words to the contrary, it was only this morning that I knew that I never really believed them myself. It was only this morning, as these big emotions washed over me, that I realized that I never thought a woman might truly do this. I could not go back to sleep, for the reality of what I have kept from my own daughter, and what I have kept from myself. I couldn’t go back to sleep for the six-year-old-Christmas-morning-anticipatory sense of possibility, that I finally allowed myself to feel… at 5:30 morning. Just before I started to cry. I didn’t even realize that for 35 years I’ve been waiting. That I fed my daughter my own hopelessness, along with empty encouragement. This morning I woke up. This, is a tale from the motherland.

It doesn’t matter what side you’re on now. The unstoppable wheels are truly spinning now. It’s three hours later in the city where I grew up. Votes are cast, and will be for another twelve hours here, on the west coast. We probably won’t know the outcome of this election for days to come, and given Mr. Trump’s promise of keeping us “in suspense,” it may be weeks. But for better or worse, and in my humble opinion: much of it has been worse, this election is history making already. The wheels are spinning, the debates rage on, but I woke up giddy… and for these few minutes, I’m savoring that.

I was prompted by my own emotions, and my own awaking. But The Daily Prompt is a fun way to number it. Check out other numbers here.

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©2011-2016  All content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, I’m grateful, but please give proper credit and Link back to my work; plagiarism sucks!

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
Aside | This entry was posted in Aging, Awareness, Can't sleep, Daily Observations, Honest observations on many things, Tales From the Motherland, Women, Women's issues, Wonderful Things, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to For My Daughter… This Is History

  1. renxkyoko says:

    Tears fell from my eyes as I was reading your post. Thank you .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. plaridel says:

    thanks for the reminder. i’m heading to the precinct shortly to cast my vote. i think it’ll be a close one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jgroeber says:

    So moving. I’ve never missed a vote and I’ve always felt a special thrill of excitement and patriotic joy when I vote. But this year, I got choked up. It’s a big deal. It’s a bigly, bigly deal. And maybe I didn’t believe in it either. But I believe it now, too. Thank you for putting it in such beautiful words, my dear.
    (Wearing my Hillary-inspired white pantsuit (with my red, black and white polka dot shoes) to go sit on the playground at my kids’ school for a half hour during piano lessons right now. I thought you’d appreciate that visual.) xox

    Like

  4. A powerful and emotional piece Dawn. I hope that sense of anticipation is fulfilled. All of us in Australia want your woman as Prez and are hoping for her success.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. Congrats on HP too. So excited to be part of HERstory.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I too cried reading this. I have been on edge for days, maybe months. I barely slept last night. I felt all day like i was crazy…until I read this…and now I am crying again.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: For My Daughter… This Is History | ugiridharaprasad

  8. Psychobabble says:

    I felt that, too. That excitement. I haven’t been waiting as long as you have, but I’m still waiting.
    I’m in shock right now.

    Like

    • Me too. Deeply shaken and so sad. I started to really feel hopeful today. I spent it quietly… taking in that sense of hope. And in the end, I feel so let down. That even a man as offensive at DT could be President before a woman… is what just breaks my heart. Thanks for taking the time, M; I appreciate it.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Carrie Rubin says:

    Yesterday was historical, no doubt. I was giddy to vote for Hillary, especially after having just watched the movie Suffragette last week. But today I’m swirling in a big cloud of gray. I think many of us are. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Woke to rain and heavy gray clouds, that have blocked out the view. That’s about how I feel. I was deeply shaken last night, as I my new-found hope evaporated. Hard day for sure. Thanks for taking the time, Carrie; I appreciate it!

      Liked by 2 people

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