Election night. Steve was on the road. We talked briefly on the phone that evening. He was venting about his captain, who spoke of politics in the cockpit. Even I know you don't talk politics in the cockpit. Steve was sitting in his hotel room in SFO, and I was sitting in the family room of our home. Had he been home, I am sure a bottle of wine and conversation would have kept us up late into the evening.
Around 9:30, I went upstairs. Our youngest was fighting a fever the previous 24+ hours, which included a very interrupted night of sleep. I was tired. I knew the election results would take many more hours, so I called it in a night.
While getting ready for bed, and even while in bed winding down, I flipped between CNN, NBC, PBS, and HGTV. I just love Chip and Joanna...Chip is hilarious, and his comic relief was a great way to end the evening.
I fell asleep sometime around, oh, 10pm with the tv on. Around 4am, I woke up to a heavy downpour. Our master bathroom has a skylight, so it magnifies the sound of the rain on the roof. My first thought was good maybe it will be raining for our morning walk. Niko and I always go on a 7am walk, and a break from that is always nice.
And then I thought of the election...who won? I immediately turned to CNN and saw the winner. This was not the result that I wanted. Stunned. Shocked. I then felt sadness. And then a feeling of being scared came over me. I actually felt scared. I then said a prayer.
I took to Facebook and Twitter to see what people were saying. A lot of people echoed my thoughts and feelings. I have to say, seeing people on social media motivated me to actually blog about my thoughts and feelings. I have been quiet this whole campaign, for the most part, on social media because I didn't think my political views needed to be expressed. My presence on social medial (aside from my personal facebook profile) is that of a pilot wife. I have tried hard to maintain that presence without cluttering it with other aspects of my life, including politics.
However, with the results of this election, I need to speak up. When a President is elected that actually makes me scared and sad, I need to speak up.
Let me start with a main point about me: I am 100% Polish. My father immigrated in the 70's, and my maternal grandparents, along with my aunt and mother, came over in 1952.
My maternal grandmother was taken by Nazi forces and forced to work at a labor camp in Germany in WWII. When first captured, yes captured...how barbaric a word, she was stripped and paraded in front of doctors to check her health. A doctor remarked how she would be worth having an affair with. Fucker. Boys will be boys, my ass. She was humiliated. She sewed medicine bags for soldiers. She slept on straw at night. She had one blanket to sleep with in the winter, she was chilled to the bone. Her nutrition was so poor that her teeth were loose in her gums. The last time she saw her mother was when she was 17-years-old. She was ripped from her family.
She rarely spoke of her experiences in that camp, and when she did, she cried. I clearly recall one morning sitting at the breakfast table at my uncles house, in Poland. She started to share some details, with tears in her eyes. She got into a trance, certainly playing out more memories that she wasn't sharing. She then told me she wouldn't wish her experiences on her worst enemy.
She lived through hell.
My maternal grandfather was a soldier in the Polish division of the English Army. He liberated the camp she was in. Three weeks later they got married. They left Germany for England, where my mother was born, and ultimately made their way to America.
Do I consider them refugees? Yes. They left their country due to war. Displaced? Yes. Immigrants? Yes. With open arms, they were greeted by a sponsor in Ohio.
This story runs in my blood. This story is my family history. This is part of me. Behind my white skin and western clothing, is the story of refugees and immigrants. But, unless you asked, you don't know my story.
And because this story is part of me, I get very connected to stories about refugees. I want to cry when people speak of refugees with such disgust. These are mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, children, who need to escape war. To think that my grandparents, my aunt, and my mother wouldn't be greeted with open arms when they came here, crushes me. They were showed support, compassion, and love. This is what I believe American should be about.
To further, I teach PSR (parish school of religion) to my daughter's class. I was born and raised Catholic. I went to Catholic schools my entire life, including University. I consider myself a religious and spiritual and faithful person, albeit rather quiet about my beliefs. I am one to pray silently. My way of spreading my faith is through teaching children.
Do you want to know what one of the first lessons I teach to 1st graders? Love. Be kind. Walk like Jesus walked. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you - the Golden Rule.
As a Christian woman, knowing what my faith teaches me, and what I teach our little ones, I am stunned to hear of other Christians wouldn't help out our neighbor. I can't imagine where my family would be if it weren't for the help and support they got when they came to this country. It is my duty to help others in need, to show love towards others. Not only as a Christian, but also as the descendant of people who left their home country due to war.
Having been through this election, and having to come to terms with the results, I have learned a number of things.
To start, I am no longer going to remain quiet like I have in the past. I am not one to cause drama. It is in my nature to be the peace keeper. I don't like confrontation. But, if I ever find myself needing to support someone who is being discriminated against, you bet I will stand tall for them.
One of my facebook friends posted this and I can't help but share it here. This is a tweet from Caitlin Rosberg (@crosberg) and it is perfect, in my opinion.
If you are wearing a hijab, I'll sit with you on the train.
If you're trans, I'll go to the bathroom with you.
If you're a person of color, I'll stand with you if the cops stop you.
If you're a person with disabilities, I'll hand you my megaphone.
If you're an immigrant, I'll find you resources.
If you're a survivor, I'll believe you.
If you're a refugee, I'll make sure you're welcome.
If you're a veteran, I'll take up your fight.
If you're LGBTQ, I won't let anybody tell you you're broken.
If you're a woman, I'll make sure you get home ok.
If you're tired, me too.
If you need a hug, I've got an infinite supply.
If you need me, I'll be with you. All I ask is that you be with me, too.
My children are 7 and 9-years-old. When I told them who our next President would be, they didn't react much. I was totally okay with that. They are so young, they don't need to react to the election results. But, because of the election results I will be sure to continue to teach them certain things.
I will teach my children to love others, no matter differences.
I will teach my children to understand, then to be understood.
I will teach my children tolerance.
I will teach my children respect.
I will teach my children to be caring.
I will teach my children to take a stand against wrong.
It is my duty as a mother to bring up my children to love others and do good, to drive out hate. This starts at home with my actions and words. It has always been the way in our home, but I will continue to emphasize these points.
Here we are, days after the election, and I am still sad and down about it. I find myself purposeful in not watching the news. I just need to process everything, and feel. I am one to always look at the silver lining in things, so I know good can come from this. I have already found myself being more kind to people in these last couple days: smiling at strangers in the hall, sitting next to the mother wearing a hijab at gymnastics, giving my children extra hugs and kisses, ect. Spread love and kindness, that is what I am going to do more of. Why? Because, love trumps hate.