On November 4, 2008 a new era began in our country; Barack Obama became the first African-American President of the United States. He’s a man who, just like you, has a white mother and a black father. And more importantly he represents hope…true hope that the promise of equality of opportunity means something real. Hope that our country can change. Pure hope.
Our dreams for you were so tied into our dreams for an Obama presidency. And so it made sense that the very first time I felt you kick was when we joined 35,000 others on Independence Mall to rally for this man we wanted to be President. And my second to last memory of you moving inside of me was during Obama's speech at the Democratic Convention...you moved so much I imagined your fist in the air, saying 'yes, I want this man to be President.'
I had imagined so many times taking you with me to vote for our new President. It took me over two hours just to get out of bed to go vote I was so sad you weren’t here. But then as I was walking across to the polling place, I felt your presence so strongly with me. In the afternoon, I spent several hours knocking on doors making sure our neighbors had voted, and as the afternoon passed I was filled with such a sense of purpose…it was the first time since you died that I felt anything I was doing had any purpose, other than grieving you. By the time I returned home, despite achy feet and legs, drenched from rain and sweat, I was nearly giddy.
In the evening I climbed in bed to watch the results come in. Daddy came home and joined me. And when the polls closed on the west coast and they announced Obama had won, I began to weep tears of joy, until they quickly became deep sobs of sadness and sorrow. I expected you to be here to see this, I so wanted you to be here to see this, and I still can’t quite believe that you aren’t here.
Last weekend, two other babylost mamas I know made a shrine to their babies in a park in San Francisco for Day of the Dead. Not only did they include your name and those of many other babies who are no longer with us, they included space for others to add names. Someone added ‘to the ones we gave back’ and ever since they told me about it I’ve been intrigued by the idea. To the ones we gave back…
Is it possible, Ezra, that I had to give you back, for a new day to come in this country? I’ve never subscribed to that notion of justice, an eye for an eye and all that. And yet I can’t quite shake the notion. Your middle name, Malik, was not only for my grandmother Marion, but also for Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, a placeholder for our expectations that you would share our passionate desire for social justice, for repairing the world. We hadn’t considered until after you died that, like you, Martin and Malcolm and your great-grandmother Marion all died before their time, before their work was done. Your daddy and I honor your memory by continuing to repair the world, even though we feel so broken without you.
And this great man, our new President, Barack Obama, also seeks to repair the world. Already he has united so many behind that dream, a dream of mending that which divides us.
Hope is not something that comes easily to me since you left us Ezra. And yet I still have hope. Most days I don’t even know why. And yet this man, Barack Obama, brings me hope.
Barack. ‘Blessing’ in Swahili.
Like Baruch in Hebrew
Bless us all.
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