November 4, 2008
In 2001, on the evening of September 11th, I sat in the dark while Julie cried and we both listened to the radio and the rumble of military jet fighters patrolling the skies of the east coast. I got up and went to Schuyler's room, scooped up my sleeping baby girl and brought her to sleep in our bed with us. And the thing I remember thinking was simply, "This is not the world I want my daughter to grow up in."
In the spring of 2003, on my lunch break, I walked into a cafeteria at the Yale Medical School with my friend Dana and sat, numb, as we watched the "shock & awe" bombing of Baghdad on CNN, surrounded by frightened students watching in near silence. And again, I thought of Schuyler, who was only months away from her monstrous diagnosis. I thought of her and the paranoid, grey world in which she was growing up, unaware of how much less certain it was soon to become for her. And again, it was not the world I wanted for her.
Tonight, twenty minutes ago, I watched the clock tick down to the polls closing on the west coast, and as soon as it hit zero, I saw the words on the screen as the networks pronounced Barack Obama the President-Elect of the United States. I watched the tears and laughter of people in Grant Park, white and black, as they watched history, REAL history being made. It wasn't just history stepping on them, squashing them under its cold boot like history has been doing since 2001. It was the history THEY made, the history that WE have made.
Now I sit here. I'm waiting for Barack Obama to come out and address the nation as the 44th president of the United States of America, and for the first time in the span of Schuyler's short life, I can say it, without hesitation and with a heart filled with anticipation and a sense of relief and rescue and possibility.
THIS is the world I want for my daughter. This one.