And then I discovered I could pull up blog pictures from ten years ago and it all went to hell.
Aren't my babies beautiful, back when they were babies?
I can't wait to show them these pictures tomorrow.
After I've sobbed my eyes out.
I've probably mentioned that the two older kids have moved out, and that I miss them--even though we see each other every week and we text.
The younger kids are almost as old as the older kids in these pictures.
I know it's obvious that time passes--I mean, I know I'm not the same woman I was back then.
But I look at the future, and all it's uncertainty, and the horrible person who may hold their future in his hands--and I'm hurt.
They're still these kids in my heart.
And I promised them so much better in a world.
I told them that diversity was wonderful, and that if they worked hard they could change the things that were broken.
I told them that love mattered and that if they had enough of it in their hearts, they could fix things.
I told them people were basically good, and that if you talked to them like reasonable beings, most differences could be worked out.
And they look so happy here.
They believed me.
I believed me.
This last year has been hard on our faith, hasn't it?
But my older kids still look to me for guidance, and the younger once don't see a world that's changed or frightening.
They see things as they have always been with their family around them.
And I need to remember that there is much that is good about our lives.
Last night, appalled by the destruction in Aleppo, I clicked one of those websites that had a list of things you could do for that situation.
Turns out, I was already doing two of them.
I've got a big fucking poinsettia in my kitchen--two of them, in fact. One is from my parents--and the list of their good deeds to the world at large is long and impressive. Ride-to-Walk, Mentorship programs, biking and horse toy drives--hell, my dad was Santa for something like ten years. For ten years, on Christmas Even, he and my mom and a getaway driver (because these neighborhoods weren't awesome) would take a sack full of toys-and socks and underwear and food and clothes and love--to a kid who had written a letter to Santa, for things like shoes, or heat, or diapers for her little brother.
The other poinsettia is from American Red Cross, because Mate and I have been giving to them every month.
The other day, I mentioned in the pool that a friend and I were trying to set up a knitting for charity room at RWA, and the next day one of the women brought me a pattern book for chemo caps--because her knitting group had two copies.
So on the one hand, yes. I'm afraid. My country has been taken over by the evil, the ignorant, and the insane--and the future for my children has never been so in question. I cry--every day--for other people's children, who have so very much less.
But on the other--I am still alive, and my children are still alive, and I've given them hope, and I guess if my parents have been teaching me how to keep hope alive, then maybe I've been doing the same thing.
Maybe, with their generation, it will stick.
They say that if our high school students and middle-school students had voted, Trump wouldn't have had a prayer. If we keep fighting the good fight, keep hope alive, maybe the evil and ignorant will die out in time for the young and the hopeful to takeover.
All I know is that my Squishy helped me shop for her sister tonight--and every choice was good. Both my younger kids asked for books for Christmas. My older kids asked for a vacuum cleaner, and Legos, and clothes.
And to have Christmas in my home, as messy as it is.
Because it's still the home where all this happened, and in spite of all the fear of the future, all THIS was still a good thing.