I’m sorry I bought that champagne–a better bubbly than I usually buy (as if I am a connoisseur of good champagne). Truth is, I tend to buy prosecco if I want something sparkly.
But last Tuesday was special, so I walked to the liquor store and I spent some time in the champagne aisle, holding the bottles up, squinting as I read the labels, finally picking one, forking over the money, bragging to the nice man behind the counter–“I’m going to toast the first woman President tonight.” I carried that bottle home in my backpack and the sun glittered in the promising sky. Damn, it was a good day, a brilliant day, only gonna get better.
I’m sorry I showed my girls (yes, the 17-year old was getting a glass too) the champagne, how that crinkly white foil top peaked (still peaks) up over the milk jug, how I winked when I said, “That’s for later when we toast the first woman President.”
That night, a week ago, as the bottle of champagne got farther and farther away from our reality, my girls and I tried to smile. We said things like, “Ohio will go our way–it just takes a while.” or “Michigan is blue. No worries.” or “We can win this without Florida.”
I’m sorry we weren’t prepared. I’m sorry that contrary to everything I believe, love didn’t trump fear, that fear and hate and anger and displacement trumped love. I’m sorry we didn’t drink the damned champagne.
I’m sorry I do not yet feel like getting to work, do not feel like bucking up or getting with the program. I’m sorry that Hillary conceded and that the media got on board with nary a word to the appalling lack of experience Mr. Trump possesses. I’m sorry that the KKK has planned a rally for December 3 to celebrate. Sorry that Steve Bannon will be a chief strategist in this new administration. Sorry that everyone seems to believe we just need to get together behind Mr. Trump as if the republicans haven’t played obstructionist politics for the last 8 years. We haven’t had a full Supreme Court for months!
I’m sorry that when my husband pulled the Clinton/Kaine sign from our yard, all I could muster was a bitter laugh and another deluge of tears. I’m scared and angry and I’m so fucking sorry that anger won’t save the day and that the electoral college won’t save our country. Did I mention that Hillary won the popular vote?
Here’s something else I did–I appropriated my daughters’ grief. You see, I felt so damn dumb, so tricked, so ridiculously naive. I remembered how I sauntered home with that champagne on my back, how cool and sure I’d been.
“I’m so sorry,” I cried.
“Sorry for what?” they asked.
“Sorry for teaching you to believe, for letting you believe we could win this thing.” Yes, I really said that. I may have been feeling a teensy bit sorry for myself, maybe even wallowing. Okay, for sure wallowing.
If I can blame myself for their disappointments, their sadnesses I will. It’s my MO. After all, blame is a pretty good insulator. If I’m all pissed off at myself for failing my kids, then I’m not spending a lot of time feeling their pain, or my own.
They set me straight pretty quick-like. “Don’t be sorry, Mom,” they said. “You didn’t let us believe in anything.” They didn’t say dumb-ass, but I’m pretty sure they were thinking it.
They already know I’m not the fairy godmother of happiness and well-being and safety. They already know that pain and grief and anger are handy emotions to harness when change is necessary. And it’s more necessary now than ever.
I’m pretty sure it’s time to crack open that champagne.