And I’ve never had to worry about her not seeing her 16th birthday because she’s been murdered by police due to white privilege. Usually I write these birthday posts for family and friends-to connect and catch up. I think about how maybe the kids will reflect on them in the future when I am gone, but today is different. And since Claire is on Facebook, this post is for her.
Dear Claire, June 2, 2020
Happy birthday. Happy PRIDE. F*Trump. F*the Police. F*Quarantine. #BlackLivesMatter.
That sums it up, maybe?
You are a lot like me, yet so very different. And I grapple with that daily.
I see that quiet rage burning inside you. Some of it is beginning to shape into marching and protesting and posting calls to action on your social media. I look forward to how you will contribute to the future with your desire to change this world. I am glad you don’t hesitate to join me in marches against violence, and protests for women’s rights and #BlackLivesMatter. In fact, I love that you care about ally ship just as much as I do. Continue to interrogate your privilege and decenter your whiteness. It starts within.
There are, however things we do not have in common which is interesting.
Like reading. Pick up a damn book. I give you the best ones. Or writing? You know it can help work through things. Or avocado. Just eat one. I swear they’re so good for you.
Speaking of food, during quarantine I’ve learned that you get really mean when you are hungry. That must be dad in you! LOL. I’ve also learned that you absolutely despise multiple sounds and conversations happening all at once. Dad, again? You hate being late-even for a zoom. Dad. Again. Ha. Maybe we are the same person.
But damn, are you funny. I have noticed your quick wit ever since you were little, but that off kilter joke about Sue was hysterical. I would never had told you this at the time it was a so offensive to animal lovers, but I love hearing your mutterings and even more, hearing your laughter.
Watching you with Isla is another beautiful thing. You two have always been so close, but the way I’ve been able to hand her off to you during my meetings, or how she calls for snuggle time with you is so special. I am lucky that I get to witness your love for one another.
Now is the time I should give you advice. That’s what we do as parents, even if you choose not to listen.
You are driven and determined, but do not let that overshadow the fun. There has to be a balance or you will make yourself sick striving for perfection.
Eat more leafy greens.
Practice self care: unplug, disconnect, get outside.
Splurge. You work way too hard (school, dance, dance assistant) to never treat yourself. You deserve the best, so give yourself the best things. Don’t go looking for someone to do that for you.
Speaking of that someone…continue to work on finding the balance where friendship and love intersect. It isn’t an easy space, but navigating it is tough and you are doing so well.
Practice loving your siblings in different ways because they are unique in their needs. Figure out the ways that you need to be loved rather than someone trying to figure it out for you in the future.
Research: Fact check. The world is rapidly shifting and my hope is that more journalists continue doing the hard work. Follow those, especially Black women, that keep questioning authority and seeking truth.
Dress like AOC.
Channel your great grandmothers in the kitchen. One was known for ribs, one for homemade chicken nuggets, one for homemade butter noodles, and one for her Krumkaka. Learn and practice these recipes so you have something to serve with your famous chocolate chip cookies.
Call your grandparents. Messages are nice, but a call is love in action.
I love you with all that I am.
Thank you for making me a momma 15 years ago. I hope this fire inside you continues to rage until there is actual change in humanity and systemic oppression.