To My Daughter on Election Day...
On the morning of election day, I wrote a very different letter to my daughter. One that believed in the direction we were going. This letter evolved as I discovered the sobering reality that there is so much more work to be done and that improving everyone's lives was not a goal Americans had in common. This is not about politics today, it's about the future of our children.
My Beautiful Baby Girl,
You were born in a year that changed everything.
My daughter, you will grow up in a world where the term Madame President doesn’t sound foreign.
There will be no distinction between what you or your brother are capable of.
No rules about who you can and cannot be.
The dream of growing up to become a President of this great country isn’t just the cute rambling of a little girl.
It is a legitimate possibility.
It hasn't always been this way...
I will never forget your baby shower.
I was asked to answer questions in the way I felt your father would.
To the question “What would HE want you to be when you grew up”.
My response; knowing your father’s belief in the success of our children was:
“A Doctor or a Lawyer”.
I was correct.
Now the exact occupation you choose is irrelevant to this conversation.
I’m sure we’ll discuss it in depth as you grow.
The point was that he believes in you and wants success for you.
A family friend replied:
“You couldn’t pick something more realistic for her ?”.
This is the world to which you were born.
People doubted your abilities while you were still in the womb.
Your father and I do not.
Your grandmother raised a strong daughter, who knew that being a woman was NOT a disadvantage.
It was later in life before I even realized that so many women STILL believed that they couldn’t achieve as much as a man.
I have known women who had dreams of Medical School but chose Nursing specifically because they were women. Smart women who chose Cosmetology over Physics simply because “That's what girls do".
These weren’t their dreams, they were the compromises they made because these goals were more “realistic”.
I am not any less capable of success than a man.
You are not any less capable of success than a man.
None of us are.
The path may be rockier for some of us; as family pressures conflict with our dreams, but we are more than capable off conquering a bumpy trail.
The first step to being a woman who is not disadvantaged is recognizing that being a woman ISN’T a disadvantage.
Most politics aside, this election was a choice between
thinking that limits the potential of your life based on who they think you are
thinking that empowers everyone to be who they want to be.
If your father had dreamed you would be “a nurse, or a legal secretary”, maybe then his goals for you would have been realistic?
If your dreams take you to either of those careers, I will be a happy mom. I am not at all indicating that those are not wonderful occupations. Just know that your options are not limited by your gender.
Your life is about your dreams, not ours, and not that relative's.
This is not about demanding his idea or my idea of a successful life.
I want you to find purpose in your life, and live that purpose.
Whatever that may be, there are no limitations.
You will not grow up wondering if being a girl is going to stifle your opportunity.
You will not be:
Intelligent, for a woman.
Strong, for a woman.
Hardworking, for a woman.
Successful, for a woman.
You will be intelligent, strong, hardworking, and successful.
By the time you are old enough to read this, I hope this whole conversation will be irrelevant.
Just as I cannot imagine a world without text messages, you won’t be able to imagine a world with gender limitations.
It will be a beautiful time to be whoever you want.
You were born in the year that a woman was a major party candidate for President of the United States of America.
That woman did not become President of The United States. There were many reasons for this. What you need to know is that it was the decision of people wanting to look out for themselves. Unhappy Americans chose the candidate that they felt would help them, it didn't matter this year who they were hurting in the process. We don't have to agree with this position to respect it.
I have faith in America and I have faith in you.
We will not stop fighting, you will not be limited because you are a woman.
We will protect the disadvantaged, and we will continue to fight for the rights of every person.
You are intelligent, successful, and hardworking.
There is no goal that you cannot reach.
With all of my love,