Autumn 2020/A Thanksgiving
Sorry to leave you on a cliffhanger after my non-stop election coverage. I trust that you know who won at this point.
Here’s a scene from our backyard on the day the election was called for Biden:
During the election, the level of posting I was doing was aligned with the level of news I was reading. Keeping up with the news, then doing a post. As someone who’s more of a long-form kind of guy, it was….exhausting.
The election made me feel super-connected to the outside world. Since my world has recently become very, very small, it was sort of a shock to the system.
My day-to-day consists of caring for two small people during the day, and then my wife when she gets home. My week-to-week is slightly larger than that. All of a sudden, I had to care about Brad Raffensperger.
We had a small Thanksgiving, just the four of us. The kids were fine with it; not a question was asked. Helena doesn’t have much to compare this year to yet. Oriana’s primary concern was seeing how many canned cranberries she could eat.
But adults live a life within context -we know what Thanksgiving is supposed to be. We’re supposed to be greeted at the door. We’ll have overpacked and will look slightly ridiculous. Dinner will feel like being fussed over; a luxury. After dinner, we’ll get in a walk, cold air in a city I still don’t know very well, except for the few blocks we do every visit. Back at the house, I’ll fall asleep on the couch. In the morning we can sleep in, as long as Emma’s folks offer to take the girls when they wake up. Any chance, really, to steal some sleep. It’ll feel like Thanksgiving.
Still, I wonder if, years from now, Helena will recall this year and think: “gee, remember that year we stayed home for Thanksgiving? That was the best!” We walked around our neighborhood, wishing our neighbors a happy thanksgiving. We baked together; we made the food we wanted. The timeline was our own. It felt like: A Thanksgiving.
These days it’s easy to feel two ways about things, and for that to be ok. I say this as someone who has previously struggled with ambivalence: I’ve been guilty of being an all-or-nothing kind of guy, in some past life.
These days I know better; if lunch time is a disaster, dinner will be good.
We’ll focus on dinner time.
A Thanksgiving (in visual form)
I’m thankful to live in Upstate New York, particularly when we get a proper autumn. This year, summer’s humidity gave way long before the snow. The leaves held on a little longer than the past few years.
This was the most beautiful tree in our area, just one neighborhood over.
It stayed about this color for a week. We passed it every day on our daily walk to the park. Toward the end, it felt like a friend.
Here’s another one from our walks.
Here’s Ori during a trip to the Empire State Plaza. It was windy.
And here’s Ori with a very familiar look on her face.
When the leaves did fall, it wasn’t all at once, but it did happen in gusts.
They came, lifted up from the trees, silent. Falling arrows turning to friendly letters.
I am thankful for Helena, who is reminding me what it was like to discover fun.
I am thankful for Oriana, who lets me watch her learn something new every day, and sometimes lets me teach her.
And I am thankful that they love each other.
I am thankful for Emma, who makes all things possible (and who I won’t share too many pictures of, lest I embarrass her).
I am thankful that we had a proper Halloween this year. Most folks left candy near their door with a sign, “Please take one,” or even better: “Take as many as you want.” One couple who we see on our evening walks left bags specially marked for the girls: One for “Sparkle Girl” (because Helena was always wearing her shimmering jacket) and one for “Ariana.” It was sweet.
I am thankful that we are together for this.
Until next time. Maybe it will come sooner than this time.
Hairbrushing/Election Day 3
Good afternoon, everyone! My mother-in-law is up for the day and we went for a walk this morning with Oriana. It’s a beautiful day today, and the weather is expected to maintain throughout the weekend. Hope you’re able to get outside.
As I packed the girls into the car this morning, Helena pointed out that I hadn’t brushed her hair yet. She whispered to me:
“dad, what if somebody is sitting behind me and they notice my hair is messy?”
These are some of her first concerns regarding what others may think of her; her initial foray into being socialized.
I remember being a kid, eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the cafeteria at school, and being obsessed with whether or not I had peanut butter on my face. I would ask my friends at the table every single day. Anyone who looked at me must have been discovering the peanut butter. They would surely laugh. They would call me “peanut butter face”. It would be awful.
I never once had peanut butter on my face. I ate my sandwiches very carefully.
I wonder why, even then, I was so anxious about what other people thought; why I believed their opinion of me would suddenly be fixed: that’s a guy who doesn’t know how to eat.
I tell Helena, whose hair isn’t very messy today: “Nobody is going to notice your hair, they have other things to think about. But I can go grab the brush really quick if you want me to do it.” She says she’s fine, she’ll be ok. We leave it at that.
I think, when I was young, I probably noticed some kids picking on somebody for having peanut butter on their face and made the assumption that this was high treason for an elementary student. I was too highly attuned, and kids are cruel for no reason.
And so, short of making kids less cruel, I offer assurances that certain things just aren’t worth worrying over. Still, the social worker in me wishes people were less cruel, and believes that this is worth working toward.
We work on what we think we can change, whether it’s ourselves or some corner of the world we decide to invest in. Sometimes we confuse the two and don’t really know: is this a me problem, or is this something that really needs to change? Often, it’s too complicated to figure out; both are right. People should be less cruel about peanut butter, and you shouldn’t give a shit if you have peanut butter on your face, or if your hair is a little messy. I write this as a person who often stares down injustice and wonders: where do my feelings end and the reality of the situation begin?
There are a lot of votes still coming in. I’ve read projections that PA will not really be that close, and that Biden will take it. I’ve also read that Georgia may tilt blue, Arizona may hold, and Nevada is looking good for Biden. We’ll see, but it will take time.
I hope you’re able to get outside today. Maybe make it a point to.
Later on Day 2
Hello everyone. I hope your news-tracking is going well.
It was a nice day today, hovering around 50 degrees, and sunny. Ori and I got out for a mid-morning stroll.
I picked Helena up from school and the three of us went for a walk/jog through the neighborhood. Helena wore my Uncle Sam hat.
As I write this, Michigan has been called for Biden, as has Wisconsin. By my reading of the polls and the news, Biden is also close in Georgia and PA, with plenty of votes set to come in from from really blue areas.
Arizona and Nevada are also leaning blue, with Arizona being called for Biden, depending on which network/source you listen to.
The nature of absentee and mail voting makes it so a lot of blue votes have been delayed in several states. For those hoping for an “election night blowout” and feeling disappointed, I hope you can recapture the excitement if Biden pulls way ahead as things move forward.
Next round of reports is expected for 9pm EST. See you soon.
How’s your election anxiety? I stopped posting last night because there was nothing new to report in.
It’s a sunny day, and expected to be warmer than yesterday. The rest of the week looks very pleasant.
Arizona has been called for Biden. There are scenarios in which Biden will win, even if he loses PA, but he’d have to carry Wisconsin and Michigan. Last I heard, they were both looking good. Even Georgia is awaiting votes from around the Atlanta area and is proving to be a close race. Emma tells me she’s going to “manifest” some blue votes today, so you’re in good hands.
I dropped Helena off at school and decided to treat myself to a fancy coffee. Ori and I are going to be outside as much as we can.
Michigan officials are confident of having results by later this afternoon. Wisconsin may wait until tomorrow. PA is enjoying it’s time in the sun.
It’s closer than I would have liked. Maybe closer for you, too.
Get outside this week. Take care of yourselves.
A lot of talk about Arizona right now, which is leaning blue. An Arizona win would mean Trump would need to hold PA, AND take one of the northern swing states in order to win.
Deeper in the Night
Lots of results in now and I’ve relocated to my friend’s place to watch coverage. Florida is looking decidedly Trump, as are the two other wishful-thinking states of Georgia and North Carolina.
As to be expected, the coverage on ABC is a lot of conjecture based on very early numbers. They say Ohio is looking closer than expected.
It’ll be a longer night than I hoped.
Results Are Coming In
Took several hours in between posts. In that time I got yelled at for about an hour by a toddler who didn’t want to go outside, but was fine once we got outside. I felt better, too, for a while. It’s been a cold day and we were cooped up. It’s supposed to warm up later this week, thankfully.
Election results are coming in and Florida isn’t looking good, though it was consistently polling Trump’s way. Numbers out of Miami (my understanding is these are early-voting numbers, which supposedly favor Biden) are particularly grim.
Kentucky and WestVirginia have been called for Trump; Vermont for Biden.
Voting for Dinosaurs
Just picked Helena up from school. She said her class voted for the best dinosaur today. I’m not sure if the teachers are trying to be funny, but that’s pretty clever.
Ori and I go out for a walk!
Every day, around 10am, Ori and I head outside. With the exception of heavy rain, we’ve been successful in getting out each day. It’s windy today, and cold, so we bundle up. My Uncle Sam hat blows around in the breeze.
We get back home and Ori wants to go out back into the swing set. After 5 minutes or so she realizes it’s cold. We go in, have a snack, and I put her down for her nap.
Today I think back to 4 years ago. Helena was only a few months old, born into a country that had elected (and re-elected!) its first Black president. We were about to elect our first woman president. I was happy for her, to be born into that world.
A couple of things that I think are worth reminding people of:
A Donald Trump presidency is genuinely traumatic for large segments of our population, whether it be survivors of sexual assault, immigrants, people confronted by everyday racism, people of high empathy, etc… Please be kind to yourself, and kind to the people around you.
The polls are looking good for Biden, and have been consistent over time. If Biden wins every state that he is projected to, he’ll already have enough points in the electoral college to win, without even taking into account several “swing” states that are toss-ups at this point.
So there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic. However, if you are a person who was severely disappointed by the election results of 4 years ago, you may want to do some self check-ins.
See you in a few.