On Tuesday, November 8, 2016 I was 20 weeks pregnant with my first child, a daughter. What I imagined would be an historic night that marked the beginning of a new era was just that, but in ways I could have never imagined.
For many of us, our lives are defined by key events, so significant that the time surrounding them will forever be known as “pre” and “post.” This felt like one. Ironically, I only had to look down at my stomach to see that the next one was quickly approaching.
These last four years are ones that many of us will remember with sadness, disappointment, even shame. And yet, for me, it’s so inextricably linked to another lifechanging event. In that same time, I became a parent. I delivered three children in four years, and like so many others, I emerged a different person. Had becoming a parent shaped my worldview? Or had the world around me shaped me as a parent?
Now, in the light of a new day, I wonder how we’ll explain these years. A time when so many of us were divided by right and left, instead of right and wrong. A time that set us back, instead of moved us forward. A time when hatred and bigotry were no longer cloaked in anonymity, but were amplified by the highest office.
“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” they say. So, what have we learned?
As a parent, I constantly encounter questions I don’t have the answers to. My greatest hope is that the answers will reveal themselves. That in the years to come, my children see firsthand that leaders are just as capable of bringing us together as they are at driving us apart. That kindness, compassion, and empathy have a real place in the world. That it’s never too late to become the person, or the nation, you wish to be.
And in all honesty, I hope in another four years we all emerge different people. Because if not, what have we learned?