Tuesday, January 20, 2009

To my children on this historic day,


I feel like this day should not go unnoticed in my documentation of your childhood. But, I struggle with how to explain it to you today.

When I look into your eyes filled with innocence and excitement, how do I explain the importance of this day without also telling you about some of the darkest truths in our nation's history? How do I explain that we live in a country of possibility without revealing to you that there are others who would try to limit your achievements based on your gender or the color of your skin?

How do I tell you that today is a momentous day because only 50 years ago your parents would have been breaking the law by marrying outside of their race? How could I explain that only a few short decades ago you would have been looked upon with disdain and anger by many simply because of your mixed race and yet on this historic day we swear into office our country's first bi-racial president?

To expain this to you now would be destructive. Though, I'm not sure it would ever be a productive thing to explain. But, someday you will know. And someday you will learn how far our country has come.

I am thankful beyond measure that this will likely be something you can never fully grasp. It will seem to you an unbelievable and outdated ideal from a time long ago. I pray that when you are old enough for me to tell you these things you will look at me in disbelief and accuse me of exaggerating the truth. And I pray that when you are even older and can truly understand our national & cultural history you will be filled with gratitude and hope at how much change can be accomplished in such a short amount of time.

For now, I will tell you that we are getting a new president. That it is an important and special day. And that, though politically we may disagree as a nation, we can come together on this day to celebrate the hope and the knowledge that America is and will always be a land of unmeasured opportunity. For all people. Of all colors.


12 comments:

Katie said...

I was struggling to explain the same thing this morning. My girls didn't even understand what I meant when I said African-American, or what I meant when I tried to "dumb-it-down" to black. I regret that I even introduced them to the fact that there are categories. Can't we keep them young and innocent forever?

Rae said...

Here's to our beautiful generation of kids--may they continue to grow the seeds of love, acceptance, and joy we plant in them today!

Too cliche?

Oh well, don't care

Mrs.Naz@BecomingMe said...

Oh this beautiful post of yours really touched my heart. I too struggle with how to explain this to my five year old

DreadedRafifi said...

One day parents won't have to explain. That's what I'm looking forward to.

Halie said...

Well said Jenna!

blueviolet said...

Beautifully stated and it very much parallels my feelings. Thank you.

Bloggymommy said...

So true! Everything you said makes so much sense. I hope that our kids will learn about this in text books and not in their own experiences. Things have changed for the better and for that I am truely grateful that I get to raise my kids in a world that is much more accepting of different skin colors, traditions and so forth. Great post!

Eli's Lids said...

This really is an amazing day!
I'm DVRing the whole thing to watch with my hubby tonight!
http://elislids.blogspot.com/

Heather said...

This is beautiful.

Today was truly a remarkable day.

Connie said...

I agree wholeheartedly. One day our children won't need to know someone's race as it will not matter.

SarahHub said...

My daughter is also bi-racial - mixed heritage - whatever you want to call it. I thought so hard how to blog about this day and what it means for her. You captured my feelings perfectly!

Crayl said...

You captured my thoughts as well. I don't want to explain the dark places in our history to him, just to point out the significance of the day. Nicely written.