I was wrong. Turns out that that young onset Parkinson’s Disease starts at 50 not 40. That explains why the medical community hasn’t jumped at the chance to use the term ‘Precocious Onset Parkinson’s Disease’. On the plus side, at least ‘young’ is a descriptor that I can still claim on one front.
I’ve been wrong a lot in this life of mine. Wrong about the expectations of who my daughter would be when she was in my womb. Wrong that I would carry twins to term. I’ve been wrong about what the number on the scale will be when I dare jump upon it. For better and worse I’ve been wrong about many other numbers and truths. I’ve learned lessons profound and mundane from these mistakes. I’ve grown.
I hope that I’m wrong about my horror over the incredible fact that Donald Trump is our president-elect. I never thought this would happen. Like so many, I was wrong about that. The polls, the pundits, my friends and I were all wrong. We missed an essential pain that is percolating within our heartland. I pray that my fears about the implications of Trump’s campaign promises are also wrong and that those bon mots filled with hateful ‘isms’ do not define the action plan for his presidency. I pray that I’m wrong and that President Trump can make America great for all of us – again and always.
I believe that many of the pained and disenfranchised who put Trump in office voted against their interests despite appearances. I too voted against my immediate interests – Hillary Clinton surely would’ve raised my taxes. My confidence that Trump will lower them is small comfort.
As I sit here in the Northern Hemisphere on a 90 degree November day I worry that wrong isn’t in Trump’s lexicon. I fear that on the off chance that he includes disparate voices in his cabinet that he won’t tolerate disagreement let alone correction, fact checking, compromise, alternatives into their meeting room. I fear that he’ll never grow – or allow those who advise him to examine possible imperfections. I pray that the answers Trump offers heal pain and don’t fuel more pain and division.
And yet, I believe that we are not doomed. The sun will continue to rise. Strangers still smile at me in passing on the street. My kids gripe about the mundane. Trump is a hard pill for me to swallow. But he is a fellow American, the one who will be my president.
Sometimes, when no one is looking, when I know I could get away with the ‘it’ of the moment, my conscience insists I listen. I am compelled to do the right thing. To double check the write up for the last item in the charity catalogue even though the hour is late, my tremor twitchier than usual. I yawn through this grind even though I know that there will be a chance to edit it one last time before it’s printed. I am compelled to pursue excellence even when no one will see the result. To ask the unpopular question when everyone is looking. To befriend the least popular person at a party, to ask if the $20 on the floor belongs to the stranger up ahead with an open purse. I am compelled because I was raised right. I compel my children to do the same, hoping, that in conjunction with our Episcopal school that I am raising them right. To do good, to do right and to achieve excellence honestly through their wit and grit not through the skids I can grease for them.
But am I doing right by my children? Right seems wrong in light of this election. A reality star who is blissfully unaware of what the nuclear triad is, who may very well tweet public policy is our Commander-in-Chief-elect. If this is our New World Order, am I raising my children for it? Should their moral compass insist on being heard? Should I instruct them to feel whatever they want but not vomit it forth inappropriately… like in a middle of the night tweet? Should I insist they listen to their gut, abuse the privilege into which they were born by sheer happenstance? Use their unearned advantages not for tutors and extracurricular activities, but to merely grease the skids so that they glide through this life easily instead of through the sweat of honest work?
I’m raising them to be my children, ones I hope to like as adults. To nurture their intelligence and seek fuel wherever they find themselves. To be polite even when others aren’t. Is the moral compass I work so hard to instill on the right settings for the world into which they will launch? Am I raising to thrive in this upside down world?