I was hoping – like so many other devastated and heartbroken individuals – to wake up this morning and find out that the horrifying US election result had been nothing but an awful nightmare. Something that my subconscious had created as a way of helping me to prepare for a worst case scenario, zombie apocalypse kind of event.
Unfortunately, this was not the case and today my TV screen and phone only ram home the message that for the next four years it will be President Trump…
I, like many others I’m sure, was not truly prepared for this outcome. I honestly believed that sanity and hope would prevail and that American’s would choose, while not necessarily the best candidate, certainly the better. While at work yesterday my colleagues and I were eagerly watching the numbers come in – Hilary was a sure thing, wasn’t she?? As the day went on it was clear that she was not. While I am somewhat comforted by the fact that Clinton won the popular vote – in pure numbers more people voted for her than for Trump – it does nothing to soothe the burn of the final result and the fact that this supposedly hate-filled, destructive, egotistical bigot will be the ruler of the free world for the next four years.
And four years is a long time – it is the entire length of time that my daughter has been alive on this planet so far – and by god that has felt like a million years at times!! But I am hoping, that like the experience of first time parenting, the days may feel long but the years will go by fast…
There are many memes and posts floating around social media today – offering hope for those of us who feel disheartened and defeated. I’m clicking on these and saving them – I will go back to them soon but for now I think I just need to feel sad, angry and disappointed. This result has only added to the selfish, individual political tone that has seemed to dominate this year – Brexit, the results in the Australian elections where once again extreme right wing views have been given a loud voice in our community and the ongoing cruel treatment and neglect of some of the most vulnerable groups in our society.
It is hard at the moment, as a social worker, parent and woman to find any hope in all of this. So I’m just going to take some time – time to hide away and lick my wounds, time to grieve for the state of the world as I see it. But I’ll be back. There’s no other choice.
For the past 12 days and nights (but who’s counting??!!) I have been flying solo in the parenting department while my partner has been in a whole other state for work. Now when I say flying solo I need to be totally honest and admit I have had a LOT of help and support from my parents and close friends. Sweet Pea and I have had dinner and been on sleep overs at Nanny and Poppy’s to help break up the time, we’ve had catch ups with dear friends and other beautiful friends have messaged us regularly to help keep us (and by us, I mean me!) sane. So, in the real scheme of things I have been far from alone.
But in terms of co-parenting a feisty, energetic, curious 4 year old I have felt quite alone at times. We have skyped each night with my partner and texted back and forth but it just isn’t really the same is it? Sweet Pea thought it was pretty cool and exciting for the first few nights and after that her enthusiasm started to drop off – Dad was there and we were here and she had “Paw Patrol” episodes to watch that required more of her focus. I would fill him in with tid bits about my days all the time feeling as though I needed to protect him from how I was really feeling, and coping. We were doing fine just the two of us – but by god I was missing him something fierce. I was missing having another adult, my favourite adult, to connect with at the end of the day, I was missing being able to talk about how I was really feeling and have someone hug me and hold me tight and say that everything would be ok. I was missing having someone I love look me in the eyes without a computer screen in between us. I was missing watching crappy TV and being able to jointly pass judgement on those we were viewing. I was missing watching compelling TV and having a like- minded person sitting next to me to debate with. I was missing having dinner with another adult who wanted more than chicken nuggets and tomato sauce for dinner. I was missing having Sweet Pea’s father around to play with her, to discipline her and put her to bed when she just refused to go. I was missing having my partner.
We knew this was the deal when my partner took this new job – it is an amazing opportunity for him and it is a role that he relishes but he will possibly be on the move a fair bit. Having him thousands of miles away for days, and sometimes weeks, at a time will be incredibly hard for us as partners and parents. It will be hard on our girl too who has an amazing bond with her patient, funny and fun-loving dad.
But for now I’m just trying to focus on the fact that in a few hours’ time he will be home with us again – right back where he belongs – and all will be right with the world. At least until he goes again…