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January 17, 2011

Today’s prompt is about hope…what gives me hope & what makes me question hope.

Hope.  A couple of years ago, hope was the big word.  It was everywhere.  Hope & Change.  It seemed to take on such fervor.  As a Democrat, I was filled with hope…for our country, for the future, for my family, for me.  It felt like I was full to the brim with hope.  On Election Day, I took our children with me to the polls, so that they could see me vote, and so that they could feel the hope that had me fairly vibrating.  As soon as we got home, I had the television on, and we watched as the returns started to come in.  When the various networks started to call the election for Barak Obama, I cried tears of pure elation…I was so proud of US.  Proud of our country for finally seeming to get it right.  I hoped that things could really change.

Go back a couple of years before that, to September 11, 2001.  As we collectively watched in shock, and then horror, as the Towers fell, it was like our hope died.  Even several thousand miles away, in suburban Arizona, we lost hope that day.  And then, little things started happening.  My mother baked a cake & took it to her local fire station.  She told them, “I don’t know how to send it to them in New York; but, you are part of that family.”  People were nicer to each other, if only for a little while.  Little things sparked hope again. 

Until I was a parent, hope was measured in things that were more materialistic.  I hoped that we’d be able to afford a better car, a house, a vacation once in a while.  I hoped that someday, Dave & I would have kids.  Once we had the kids, hope changed.  I started hoping for things more selfless.  You know…the “World Peace” thing.   Oh sure, I hope that my kids won’t turn into slobbering morons, and that they’ll eventually move out and become functional members of society.  And little things like, I hope the kids didn’t leave the peanut butter jar on the counter before school…our golden retriever will get it.

I find that I don’t question hope much these days.  Even as we watched the events in Tucson unfold, I found that I could look past the horror, the sadness of the lives lost and the people hurt.  I could look past the sadness of the young man so mired in darkness that killing was his only answer.  I’ve spent a lot of time talking to my kids this past week.  In trying to understand, or at least process the sadness, and in trying to explain these events to my kids, I found hope in their reactions.  Rather than lose hope, I found my hope strengthened by my children’s willingness to go on.    What choice do we have, really?

I did find that I had a new hope…that my children get through life untouched by the sadness that crashes so many lives.  Our kids are lucky.  My husband and I have been married eighteen and a half years.  We sit down to dinner with our kids just about every night of the week.  We’re not Rockefellers, but we do okay financially.  Our kids are probably a bit spoiled in that they have both parents in the same house, they have a stable home life and don’t want for much of anything.  Perhaps we aren’t preparing them properly for the real world, but my husband and I experienced enough of that as kids to know that our kids would never have to deal with divorce, parents kidnapping kids, suicide, etc. 

I guess that my hope is that our kids end up as happy as I am, and that they know the joy of having a good marriage and great kids.  As for the rest of the world…I hope that we figure out the “getting along without blowing each other to smithereens” part.

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