Yeah... let's just say November didn't really turn out that way I thought it would.
On the one hand, Cubs fans' dreams finally came true! And it happened in the most sports-fairy-tale way possible. There was Kyle Schwarber triumphantly going to bat after getting injured at the beginning of the season, like Cinderella going to the the ball after all. (Get it - the "ball"?) Then the Cubs coming back after being down 3 to 1 in the series against the Cleveland Indians, another team who hadn't won a World Series in generations. Finally, Game 7, starting off with the lead, our hearts soaring. How about David Ross, the catcher, hitting a home run in the final game of his career? Then our hearts plummeting when the Indians tied it up. The excruciating, dramatic pause of a rain delay before extra innings. And then sweet victory, the Cubs jumping and hugging on the field, our heroes who defeated the 108-year 'curse', vindicating all the fans over the years who believed like a religion that someday, this team would win it all.
It still hasn't fully hit us.
Bruce, Emmie, Hannah, and I went to the parade with a bunch of friends. It was a shared moment we'll always have, feeling like champions, millions of happy fans, blue and red and white confetti showering down around like joyful tears.
But then came the election.
The day before, I took Emmie and Hannah and cast my ballot proudly. I was elated to take my two daughters with me to be a part of what I hoped would be an unprecedented time for America. The day of the election, Bruce and I watched TV late into the night. I went to bed in tears, utterly distraught. It's been over two weeks, and my sleep is still restless, broken by fretful fears of a country turned on itself.
This month I had been trying to write my first novel as part of NaNoWriMo. After the election, my novel felt pointless. I stopped working on it. I did write several poems, and I know I need to write the book more than ever, but I haven't had the energy to exert on it.
I dreaded Thanksgiving. My family is notoriously passionate about politics, but from a completely opposite perspective of Bruce and me. It's a sore spot, and over the past few years we've realized for the most part that we can't talk about politics together. However, sometimes they still take twisted pleasure in making a comment here or there to get under my skin. Like many Americans, I was afraid for the worst around the table this year.
At Bruce's family's Thanksgiving, no one spoke of the election. Instead, we focused on a shared love: the Cubs. Bruce's cousin, whom I'm sure voted differently than us, texted us all this image:
At my parents' house, they made a couple cracks, but we ignored them. Overall, we had a lovely time. The baby was particularly cuddly, letting my father hold her almost the whole evening. She said a bunch of new words like "uncle" and talked to all the pets, endearing everyone. Emmie eagerly ate almost all the food, which is one of the best ways to please my mom. We all gave hugs and said "I love you" at the end of the night. The election stayed the mostly-invisible elephant in the room.
On the drive home, Emmie had questions about why we don't talk politics with certain family members. We told her that we love our family even when they don't always believe or do the same things as us. Then I realized: That's what we have to keep striving for in America. We are all these different kinds of people, in the way we look, live, worship, think. But we are all members of this country, and we must treat each other fairly and with respect no matter what. That is a principle by which I want to raise my daughters.
It is exactly what the first Thanksgiving was all about - despite differences, coming together to eat at the same table.