To my baby,
It’s your one-month-old birthday and I’m sitting here, teary-eyed watching your daddy burp you. The love I feel for you is breathtakingly strong and numbingly terrifying. I look at you and I am so excited yet so afraid for your future.
That first night at the hospital when I got to lay my eyes upon you, I promised you I’d never let anything hurt you. But I shouldn’t have made that promise, baby. How can I promise such a thing when the world I’ve brought you into is so damn frightening?
I can’t watch the news anymore. Last week, there was a massacre at a college in Oregon. Ten students were gunned down by a disgruntled student on a rampage. This is yet another shooting in a recent resurgence of gun massacres in the United States, including a shooting that happened at a South Carolina church where your aunt works. Parents who should be celebrating their children’s flourishing college careers are instead experiencing a type of grief I can barely comprehend.
We’re on the verge of electing a man into office who cares more about money than he does about the people he plans to lead; a man who hopes to reform immigration laws to make it even harder for people like your grandparents to come to this country; a man who will dismantle universal healthcare that helped us bring you into this world safely.
And it’s not just America, baby, it’s the entire world. There is a civil war in Syria that’s tearing apart families. The economy is in the trash, with less than 1 percent of the world’s total population being wealthier than everyone else combined. School girls are being kidnapped and sold into slavery in Nigeria. Nuclear weapons are being engineered to be stronger and more devastating. People of color are still dealing with ridiculous prejudice in every single country on this earth. And speaking of planet earth, it is slowly withering away thanks to our own destructive efforts towards global warming. The world is literally, albeit slowly, coming to an end.
But, baby, in the midst of this darkness, there is so much light. And it took looking into your eyes to remind me of that. There is light in knowing that you’ll never know a world before a black man could become president of the United States. There is light in the fact that when the time comes, you will be able to marry any person that makes you happy, regardless of race, religion or gender. There is light in your bright future, and the opportunities you have as a woman that even your grandmother didn’t have 40 years ago.
With all that is wrong with this world, there is still so much possibility to do right. There are still so many chances to be a good person and make someone else happy — chances to make lasting change and fight for good.
So, my little girl, don’t be afraid. The world is imperfect, but it’s not hopeless either. If there is anything I’ve learned since having you, it’s that with the right amount of love, people can change.