The Day After

daughter skirtI peered across the street at the gaggle of excited-to-go-home elementary schoolers skip-walking on the sidewalk with teacher aides to navigate safely. Among them was a child who resembled my daughter, but with pink leggings instead of the bedazzled skirt I had sent her in. She skipped similarly, appeared to have the same hair bow on her head, but it was tough to make out at first with my older-than-normal contacts in my eyes. (Ahem.)

Until she made the corner, and I realized, it WAS my five-year-old – in her spare pants. She must’ve had an accident of some sort. Oh my.

She continued to skip across the street when it was safe, and skipped right up to me, and into my arms. “Baby, where’s your skirt?!”

She humped my leg a little, awkwardly. “It’s in my bag, I had an accident during computers.”

“Did you not make it to the bathroom on time? Was this in the bathroom? The hallway? Or…”

“On my chair.”

Ooh, goodness.

I kept searching for any embarrassment in her eyes, but I found none. It didn’t matter to her, she had sloughed it off as the accident it was, and her peers didn’t care. They loved her, pee on the floor and all. They understood and accepted her anyway. Accidents happen.

I’d like to think think that some of the hurtful things said last night in response to the election results were just an accident; a mere small moment of pissiness amongst friends. People typed away their anguish onto their keyboards as the election results rolled in, and accidentally hit “enter” before they realized what they had done. Much like my daughter, I think it just happened, she tried to hold it in, and .. didn’t.

I think what it all boils down to is being heard. On some level, child or adult, mom or dad, man or woman, we all want someone to hear us, to hear our voices and our cries and desires. We want to die and realize we mattered, in one way or the next, that folks will mourn our passing, and our life will have left a mark however great or small, and hopefully a little better than we entered it.

In reality, Republican or Democrat, Independent, or Libertarian, before Election Day we were friends. We cared for one another. We LOL’ed at one another’s jokes, we celebrated births, we shared recipes, parental warstories, we held hands (virtually or otherwise) to pray for someone’s loss, and joked about finding soccer cleats in the bathtub. I don’t believe that will, or should, change. At least, I hope it won’t.

Because today you are still you, and I am still me, and regardless of political party, we are still both people living in the US of A, and today is still today, the day after Election Day. And every four years from now, today will be a day that we need to either concede defeat, celebrate a win, but unavoidable HAVE TO accept we are all people with voices and rights to those voices living in a country that blesses us with these freedoms every day. We are not one big happy family, but we are one, we are big, and whether we like it or not, we are part of the American family. We should work on that “happy” part, don’t you think?
brothers sisters
We fight. We bicker. We may even give each other the silent treatment, like brother and sister, but I’d like to think that if we have an accident, we can forgive one another and move on, because family is still family. And we’re in this thing together.

Today I am going to celebrate a hard-fought win on independence – my daughter accidentally pissed her pants in computer class yesterday like a boss, and shed nary a tear over it. She owned it, cleaned herself up, putting her wet clothes DIRECTLY into her backpack (so that she could gift me the extreme pleasure of opening a pee-smelling bag, yay!), apologized for it, and went about her business as usual. She moved on. I’d like to think everyone else can, too, yes?

Today, the day after, I will celebrate that I must be doing something right, because my daughter wouldn’t let one silly accident cramp her style.

I’d say that’s a win, no?