“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Tonight, right before leaving work, I read that Ruth Bader Ginsburg died.

Tonight my daughter told me, on the drive home, that she hopes that daddy tells the judge that I took her doll away so he’ll kill me.

Today I watched my daughter learn to read new words.

Yo soy. Yo veo. I can. We are.

Today I watched her use her first five minute break from class to sit on her chair with her arm raised until she could tell her teacher that she’s a good teacher and I watched her teacher’s face twitch that tic of shocked relief as she said thank you and that she appreciates that, especially when things are so different right now and hard for everyone.

Tonight at bedtime my daughter told me, for the third time tonight, that she wished she could unsay what she said.

Tomorrow I will drive an hour north to pick up a bouquet of seven expensive, stunning cupcakes to celebrate one year of freedom and the new life I have carved out for us.

Tomorrow, I will share some vague explanation of new beginnings and loving ourselves as the reason for these cupcakes.

Tomorrow I will get us a take-out, covid-approved breakfast at a north bay spot we aren’t usually near to make the drive worth it and to try to make some memories in this time of home and work and school and home.

Tonight I am scared: for our country, for my daughter, for my niece and nephews.

Tonight I am disappointed. That a true patriot died. After fighting so hard for so long. And all we feel is either fear or a sense of opportunistic triumph.

Tonight I feel sad that my daughter has a father who encourages her to tell him the ‘bad’ stuff so he can ‘tell the judge’.

That our country feels locked in a tug-of-war that has us all going head-first into the quicksand.

Monday, I will figure out how to pay for a crown that I had tried to postpone until October. The tooth has forced excruciating pain on me so I will figure out if I even have enough left, post-court, in my savings, to pay the dentist.

Monday I will remind my daughter why she gets no electronics next week and hope she can roll with me on processing that disappointment, anew, again.

Tonight I slather anbusol on my gums and take four Tylenol and have 2 1/2 beers because my whole face hurts from this cracked filling and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is fucking dead after holding on so long that I think we all thought she was actually immortal.

And my daughter wished me dead.

RBG is dead. And her dying DICTATION was to hope that we successfully hold off on a new appointment until after 1/20/2021.

Her dying dictation.

For fuck’s sake.

Think. About. That.

I feel that. Not only as a woman. Not only as a citizen.

As a mother.

As a mother of a child whose father is coercive and manipulative and probably taught her that he could tell the judge things to punish mommy.

As a mother whose child already sees manipulation as a tool and so mommy’s job is to be steady, loving and firm.

As a mother who knows what it means to take the tough shit and cut right to the pragmatic.

Ruth. The biblical name for steady and true and human.

Tonight, almost exactly three quarters of the way through 2020, hope feels, truly, like an old, worn political slogan from sometime over a decade ago when we thought that guy would fix everything.

When simplifying an image into red, white and blue made it all feel like the world would be ok.

From before when we realized what was coming next. As a backlash. As a reaction.

Hope was the lovebomb.

And then came Donald.

Almost funny. The similarities.

Tonight my daughter said, more than once, that she hoped the judge would kill me.

Tonight I cried in the car, on the 880, after she fell asleep mid-sentence because she was exhausted and worn out and overwhelmed and so she was lashing out before her body finally pulled the rug out from under her.


Hope feels far away.

Tonight, I reminded my daughter that no matter what she says or how she feels about me, that I will never stop loving her.


No matter what.

It’s all I have tonight.

That fact.

You have me, baby girl. No matter what.

You have me, America. No matter what.

Tomorrow, I figure out how to do the rest.

Published by UnGastheLight

I write to be able to live and live because I can write to make sense of it all.

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