The debate just ended. And I’m feeling unsure. Slightly unsure about the debate, unsure about the election, and mostly unsure if I want to write about any of it. If you are looking for opinions, I can save you some time and effort: go directly to the Huffington Post and find out what other bloggers think. Because I’m not going to critique the debate right now. Partly that’s because I don’t want to feel obligated to write about anything specific on any given day. But that’s not the whole issue. Even before the debate, something was bothering me. I had a definite feeling that I wanted to watch the debate but not write about it, and I didn’t know why.
My son Daniel called about a half hour before the debate. Normally I drop everything the instant I hear his voice. But this time I was occupied and had very little time. We had not talked much lately, and he had no idea of what was on my mind; but he reached across 2000 miles and in 2 minutes, got inside my head. And what he said was, “Mom, I have to tell you about your blog. I think you’re sounding too angry.”
Immediately I knew he was right. And it took a 20-year old to see this. But that is typical of Daniel. He sees things. Not like the kid in the movie who sees dead people. Daniel sees people who are right in front of him.
When V and I were first married, Daniel was 6. One day I was at the mall with Alli, and V was bringing Daniel to meet us. They stopped for a quick errand, and V parked his car illegally in a parking lot. They came back to the car and found a very angry store owner who had blocked V’s car so he couldn’t move it, and also had called the police. V and this man were screaming at each other in the parking lot, when V felt Daniel tugging his hand. Daniel stepped between the two angry grownups and calmly said to V: “You need to stop yelling. And then you need to find a phone and call Macy’s and tell them to page Mommy over the loudspeaker so she knows why we are late and she won’t worry.” (this was in the days before cell phones). V loves telling this story of how Daniel at age 6, had the perspective and wisdom to take charge of an adult who had lost control.
Like he did today. Sometimes the people who know you best can see into your soul. And Daniel sensed what I didn’t even know I was feeling–a little out of control. As if I’ve been on a binge lately. Not on chocolate. On Sarah Palin. Maybe it’s time to cut back a little. Even though I’ve never been able to stick to a diet.
Writing about politics in 2008 is the latest among many things I never signed up for. My purpose for this blog is to create a safe place. Not just for me, but for everyone. I hope to share what I’ve learned–and one of those things is to be accepting and tolerant of others. That’s who I want to be and what I want to stand for—not in one particular area, but across the whole spectrum of life.
While I have strong opinions and passions—and always will express them—I also do not want to be angry or bitter or judgmental of anyone who doesn’t share them. That’s not the way I see myself, or how I want anyone else to see me–especially not my children. It’s taken me a lifetime to truly learn to accept people—and I learned this thanks to Alli and Daniel. They have been my teachers–who continue teaching me the most important lessons I will ever learn. Including the one I learned today.
And hopefully I’ll remember that lesson—far longer than I’ll remember anything I heard during the debate.