Daughters

I cried when the sonogram technician told me what I dreaded, embarrassed by my fear.

In my head, I imagined hearing reactions to the news: “Oh, another girl in the family.”

I internalized their displeasure of increased femaleness.

He said: “You are crying? Why are you crying?”

I explained: “I feel like I am letting you down. I thought you wanted a boy.”

He replied: “You don’t know boys. I like you, why would I not like our daughter?”

I giggled, but I didn’t trust his love.

Men leave daughters. They keep their sons.

Predictably, when I told my mother there would be another girl she was not surprised. She was excited for a second grandchild but forecasted that I was in for a mother/daughter relationship similar to our own.

When I met my first child, I knew her face — it was a mirror. Behind the cesarean drape, I saw her bright alert eyes and the tears of his. I was so excited to meet her.

He never left our sides. My mother marveled at how he cared for her and changed her diaper. The basic meeting of an infant’s needs afforded him praise and the admiration of my female relatives. I was cautiously optimistic that his love would endure. I was semi-confident that he would stay the course.

She cried for two hours every evening for three months. From 5–7 every evening she arched her back and wailed. I walked her, soothed her, yelled back at her, and tried to nurse her until he came home.

He found me reeking of my dried milk, hair pulled back, exhausted and destroyed. I was nasty and short-tempered, and then he asked me a rhetorical question.

“Do I need to wear a t-shirt that says that I am not going anywhere?”

He knew my darkest fear. He recognized my struggle. He, with his gentle blue eyes, was not the abandoning type.

Three years later I told him there was little chance I would get pregnant again. She was difficult to conceive, so “it” was not a problem. Two months later our daughter read a note to him (with my help) that informed him that she would be a big sister in the fall. After a six-hour car trip, a junky transmission, and lots of booze, he reassured me that he was happy for our news.

I adored our daughter, so I thought I was immune to the gender discussion that continued with almost everyone I shared our happy news. Most people were remarkably confident that we would have a boy, even a psychic in California confirmed it. This time a boy would enter the female family. It seemed important to so many like a prophecy fulfilled.

And then I cried again. This time it was in the delivery room.

We named our second daughter after my great grandmother and introduced her to her sister. It was a blissful time.

I remember a relative visiting who asked me if we would keep trying for a boy. I convinced her that I was content. I was. I am.

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I am a Feminist, but I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton

There, I admit it. My dirty little secret is out. Go ahead and attack me. Unfriend me. Block me.

I marched in Washington, D.C. in 1992 to voice concerns that Roe v. Wade would be overturned, but in 2016 I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I co-led the group Womyn’s Action Coalition (yes, with a Y) on the SUNY Geneseo campus during the 1990s, but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I live in New York State (a blue state), but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I am a proud member of the American Federation of Teachers, but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I hold a master’s degree, but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I am a white, college-educated, middle-class woman, but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I have born witness to serious abuse of my mother and sister by the hands of men, but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I was raised by a single mother who did not always get child support, had to resort to food stamps, and often did not have health care, but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I love nature and do my part to protect the earth, but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I support the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana, but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I am worried about gun violence, and violence in general, but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I want everyone to have affordable, quality healthcare, but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I fully agree with and support same-sex marriage and equality for all, but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I do not fear Islam or non-Christian faiths, but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I would love to see a female president (many female presidents), but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

I also did not vote for Donald J. Trump.

I am the moderate voice of America — neither extreme left nor right.

I live in a blue state but in a red county.

I live on 40 acres in small town rural America.

I co-own a small business where I see my husband’s labor taxed at 70% (business and personal tax) so that for every dollar he physically earns he gets to keep thirty cents.

I own guns (lots of guns) and I love how my husband has taught our daughters gun safety and skills.

I live outside of Syracuse, NY which resembles the Allentown, PA that Billy Joel sang about in the eighties.

I love to travel and see prosperity in America, only to return home to witness economic blight.

I don’t have any friends who are extremely racially diverse than me. However, I do have many students who are.

I believe in God, but I don’t find peace and happiness with organized churches.

I would have loved to have marched with my daughters in Seneca Falls, NY on January 21, 2017, so that I could show them the amazing diversity of American voices, but there was a swim meet to attend.

I did not vote for Hillary Clinton because ultimately I did not relate to her. She spoke well, she was more than qualified, but she just wasn’t my candidate. I was tired of the Clinton, Bush, Kennedy dynasties. I was saddened by how the Democrats led Common Core implementation and the Race to the Top educational policy impacts. I was frustrated by Clinton’s role in her husband’s perjury and sexual scandals. I did not agree with her foreign policy. I was worried that she would get nothing accomplished in a republican held congress.

If you relate to only one side, you might not like my message. My moderate ideas are not sexy. Moderation will never make major headlines. No one will tweet about my message. Or, maybe you share my secret? Maybe you have kept silent to avoid tempers rising with angry dialogue across the well prepared Thanksgiving table? Maybe you too want our country to move on from hateful speech, angry posts, and polarization to a more solution oriented consensus-based philosophy of governance? If you do, then please join me to spread a moderate, solution-oriented, inclusive message so that we have a representative democracy that is intent on political discourse not on sensationalism and “alternative facts,” but one that truly demonstrates the power of the people.

If you liked this, please click the ❤ to share. I sure appreciate it. Thanks!

For those of you who have not scrubbed me out of your life, here is my follow-up article: “10 Ways to Practice and Model Civil Discourse (Or, how not to be an a-hole!).”