An Apology to My Daughter

My Dear Daughter,

I’ve been thinking about you ever since the news a few days ago.

Every time I try to find the words to talk about this to you, they jumble all together, swelling up and getting stuck in my throat. Tears quickly well up in my eyes, and all I can manage is a barely audible, “I’m sorry.”

I am.

I am so very sorry.

I’m sorry for America.

It has failed you.

I’ve lived all of my life believing in this country, believing that we would never go backwards, only forwards. I believed that there were enough good people here to prevent the terribly ugly things of our past from becoming our terrifying present. I rested in the trust I had in the greater collective humanity here being enough. I had faith in the center holding and in our better angels prevailing.

I was wrong.

When your mother and I chose to bring you into this world, we never dreamed that you would spend a second of your life without the elemental freedoms over your body, over your decisions, over the care you receive from doctors. We knew you would face the challenges of living in a nation that still offered so much resistance to your progress, so many caustic messages about your self-worth, so much opposition to your full equality—but this… this was unthinkable.

We’re so very sorry—not for choosing you or for your beautiful life, but for you having to know the fear and the worry and feelings of less-than that women here have not had to endure for decades, because they and people before them fought so terribly hard for so long.

There are so many reasons for us being here right now: so much collective laziness and greed, so many opportunistic people who sacrificed your choice on the altar of their phony religion, so much first-hand and internalized misogyny. I wish I could rewind and help change even one small thing that would give you a different nation and a different day to wake up in today.

But since I can’t do that, I can only give you these promises in the present and for the future:

I will never stop fighting for you.
I will spend the resources I have to make sure the place you call home becomes more deserving of you.
I will never back down from awkward conversations with our families.
I will never hold my tongue in a crowd of strangers.
Whenever laziness or fatigue or sadness make me drift toward hopelessness and inaction, I will think of you and of every other daughter in this nation, and I will propel myself back into the fight because you are worth that.

I know it’s probably very scary right now, especially hearing mommy and daddy saying they’re scared, too. Just know that we will be with you in the darkness and we will chase every every real demon and every imagined monster and we will fight for the light.

I’m sorry for America and the way it has so grievously let you down.
I’m sorry for the Church we once called home and for the way it dehumanized you.
I’m sorry for our relatives and friends who chose their tribalism over your choices.
I’m sorry that I was not louder or more involved or more aware of the danger.

Most of all, I am sorry to you and to every daughter in this nation who had no choice in being born here or calling it your home, and now do.

You deserve better.

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