Just Because

I touched on something in my last post I want to circle back around on, because it deserves a post of its own and a discussion of its own.

There is no happier cowgirl in the world today #allhailhala

My daughter’s reaction upon hearing we’ve never had a woman president.

I guess it just didn’t really occur to me that she had thought about it yet, or noticed. Or hadn’t noticed, as the case may be.

The questions came fast and furious and I didn’t have many answers.

Why hasn’t there been a woman president?

Why aren’t there that many women in Congress?

Why don’t people elect women?

Why did they not give women the right to vote?

Why did it take so long?

Why would they tell women no?

Why would anyone DO THAT MOM?

I did the best I could. I explained to her, as well as I possibly could, why our history was unkind and still can be very unkind to females. I tried to explain the patriarchy. I tried to explain what we face as women.

But I don’t feel I told her everything or anything close to what she needed to know.

The look on her face said it all as we talked. She was shell-shocked. I had shattered her fairy tale. I had shattered the way she thought the world worked.

I had been the one to break the news to her that because she was a girl, her life would be different. Even if every word I said tried to convey that she could do anything, be anything, go anywhere.

I also did my best to empower her. Steel her. Strengthen her and hold her close. I told her of amazing women who fought to make sure we were given equality. So that SHE could vote, run for office, become the first woman president.

Yet I feel, as I told her these stories, I stole a piece of her innocence.

As we hugged and kissed goodnight, and I scrambled for even more words to try to comfort the look of disbelief in her eyes…it was she who comforted me.

Mom, I know I told you I wanted to be a cowgirl, and maybe a Mom, and maybe own a ranch. But I think I’ll be President too. I just want to now…just because.

And I understood, perfectly…just because.

Comments

  1. My next gift for when I get my butt to your house isn’t one she’ll like, but might enjoy later on: a Golda Meir biography. And maybe one on Margaret Thatcher.

    The US might not be enlightened yet, but other countries have done the deed. And I was really hoping it’d be Hillary. A lot.

  2. That daughter of yours is beyond special, Erin. This also shows how you’ve done an excellent job of raising her to believe in equality and her self worth. I think she should be a cowgirl, a mom, have a ranch AND be president. Seems fitting to me! *love*

  3. Absolutely! And I will totally vote for her!

  4. There are rare times when reading blogs that something happens, like a veil is lifted. I understand something on a deep level. You and Julie Marsh have both written about lessons you’ve shared with your children that makes me believe that some people really are preparing their kids to change the world—not the “our children are perfect and can do anything,” sort of thing (which is fine) but a very powerful, “this is the way it is and will be unless you choose to do something.”

    It’s beautiful and brave and appreciated.

  5. What an amazing conversation. I love that your daughter wants to fix things, but over time remind her that she’s not the only one, and she doesn’t have to do it all. :)

    Off-topic — the blogher ad on this page is for Weight Watchers. :( Is there anything to be done about that?

  6. I can’t wait to vote for her. … Or one of my girls. ;)

  7. on the off topic question- is it one that opens up if you roll over it? or do you object to WW? I’m currently ON WW so, I support them

  8. Erin, Sigh.. I think we explain best by just helping them to understand that people used to be pretty dumb about some things. Then we show them by our actions that women can literally do anything they set their minds too. You are a beautiful example of a woman’s power in action, your daughter is blessed to have you as a mother.

  9. Oh my heart!
    I recall having a similar convo with my now 20 y/o before the 2000 election. she declared her aspirations to be president in 2032 for similar reasons. time moved on and now her aspirations for public life have changed as she has decided she wants to work with and make a difference in the lives of kids like her developmentally disabled brother. still she is very active in politics. our last convo as I took her to the airport last week broke my heart as she told me she is so scared for what will happen after this election and (in her opinion) the inevitable demise of our governing system as we know it.
    Still I can’t be helped but to be encouraged by my daughter and yours.

  10. I know invoking the G.W. Bush name here is yucky (and, for the record, I do not support him and like when I can use the word “yucky” in the same sentence as his name), BUT he was a cowboy, owned a ranch, a dad, AND became president. Tell her to show HIM who is BOSS. A woman can do it! (I deleted the “,too!” on that sentence because we are not jumping on the bandwagon here. We are simply claiming our rights as humans.)

    Hail to the Chief, Hala!!

  11. It’s so sad when our kids get to that age when they realize that world doesn’t consider everyone equal. We can tell them that’s the way it’s suppose to be until we’re blue in the face but history and the daily news make for a difficult lesson in reality. That’s why when I found your blog years ago I was so inspired. You helped my daughter to get pumped up about voting for the first time ever when Obama ran in 2008. I remember watching your Ustream just after your interview with Obama – it was so exciting.

    Is it any wonder your own precious daughter will benefit from one of the most courageous women I have ever known but have admired from afar? You actually live a life that is a lesson in the joy and honor in fighting for what is right for all people.

    I look forward to doing what I can to get the vote together for your daughter when she decides to run for the Presidency!

  12. Danny Steinmetz says:

    There is no way out of these sorts of problems. If we raise children with ideas consistent with a just world, sooner or later they will be gobsmacked by the reality of injustice.

    I think it is really cool how she thinks and how you dealt with it. The only realistic way to raise children is with the truth but also with the knowledge that their parents and others in their circle will protect them and fight for justice.

    Even she lives to see a woman president there will be other injustices when she has a similar discussion about a different injustice with her son or daughter.

  13. Of course she comforted you; it’s what our kids do. It’s what we’ve taught them to do even though we haven’t done it overtly. You’re doing a wonderful job with both of your children and I can’t wait to hear their takeaways from the convention. But get ready; you know her questions are about to ramp way up.

    At least you can say you’ve discussed this with her, that you’re having meaningful conversations. I felt bad describing the “real” slavery to my girls, not just what’s in the (oftentimes flawed or outrageously miniscule) information. It hurts to remove that bit of innocence but look at all that is gained with knowledge and will and determination.

  14. Had nearly the same conversation a few nights ago. Maybe our girls can run together.

Trackbacks

  1. […] found out about it.  Now, after you have registered and put this on your site, be sure to read the Queen’s post about her daughter’s reaction upon finding out there had never been a woman President of the United States! Our daughters are our […]

  2. Glimpses says:

    […] But something tells me that glimpse of a woman I saw on the couch knew. And with any luck, was working with the rest of us to help change the ratio. […]

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