election day

I know. I haven’t posted or emailed about our new store opening. It is coming along slowly but fabulously and I will soon be writing to invite you to the grand opening. But today I digress from the usual topics to record my feelings about our election. I will share something very personal, a letter I wrote to my son who is about to turn 1 year old, because it captures my feelings in the moment (before the politics of it all set in). There was a great editorial in the New York Times called “Tears to Remember” by Judith Warner today about the differences in how generations have responded to Obama’s winning the election. Aadi is, of course, too young to tell us where he stands. And I wrote this letter to him more for myself, all the while thinking, I hope he understands what I say, without ever really understanding the tears.

My dearest Aadi,

I write this letter to you at 2 am on Nov 5, 2008. I just witnessed history. Barack Obama was elected to the US Presidency 3 hours ago. There is so much I want you to know about yourself, so much I see in you. But tonight I want to record history for you. I have been in tears since the announcement of Obama’s win. I have been in tears for hours, but they are happy. I have really been crying these tears of happiness all year long as I look upon you my little one, and today they are tears of joy that the world is good, and that the future for you will be bright. Whatever may come of this, tonight there is evidence that people can change. Countries can change. Hope doesn’t die. And sometimes things just get really bad before they can get unbelievably good. Yes we can, Obama refrained in his speech tonight. Tonight, baba, there is evidence that we make our own destiny by our thoughts followed up by our actions. There are miracles, and there is light, and God is listening.

I just do not want to forget how I feel right now. At a personal level the pain of being different, of growing up painfully aware of that difference, is somehow being released in these tears that won’t end. I feel joy that my country has put hope and open-mindedness and expansiveness ahead of fear. I feel blessed to raise you in an environment different from what I grew up in. For you, with all your natural brilliance and charm, there are no limits, my dear one. The limits are sometimes greater in our minds than we imagine them in the world, and if we act with integrity despite what we perceive, then there is no telling what can happen.

I am so inspired by Obama, and this country’s choice to elect him as president. As I watched the votes come in and witnessed history, and thought of Obama’s personal history and background, and his person, his eloquence, his carriage, I could not help but feel that I should live differently than I do. I should expect more from myself. So much more is possible for me and from me and of this world. I want to give you an extraordinary childhood baba, and tonight I feel so certain that I can. Obama’s race, his name, the fact that his childhood was spent in another country, his early choice of career, none of those would have marked him for the US presidency. Perhaps he started his life an unlikely candidate, but now anyone can see his greatness in a few short moments. We do not have to be born superstars Aadi, though I can assure you that you have been born one. But as we grow we have to continuously transform ourselves into superstars, and that will be your task and mine. To see your brilliance and encourage it. And the world will be all the better for it. This is about fulfilling your promise as a human being because the world NEEDS you to. It is our obligation to strive for greatness and find the greatness in ourselves for the good of all. And tonight the world is wide open for such endeavors.

Here are blessings and love for a bright future. All my love,

Your mother