I am not the mother or the father of that small child who lives with me. As my sister, NeverNakedBeth kindly pointed out to me in the very earliest months when I first met him, "Jennifer, he is not yours and he might die!" She said this as she asked for his car seat to put in her back seat to take him with us to a film screening. I had not even thought about a car seat, because, well, as noted, he isn't mine.
I do share my heart, completely, with him, despite the fact that he is not mine. LilSalty has snuggled right into the creases and owns a part of it and he knows, without a doubt, that I love him fiercely and am, if nothing else, absolutely honest with him about ALL THE THINGS and that, well, yes, comes sometimes with consequences, but also means there is no filter when it comes to life with me.
LilSalty turned 11 two weeks ago. A magical and masterful 11. He's whip smart and curious and wants to be a YouTube star and is quite certain that Donald Trump is going to ruin ALL OF US. If you support Trump, you're no friend of his.
Which brings me to the whole point of this. Because, I actually do have a point. I'm here to share something from my own heart.
If that small child who shares my heart actually was mine, if he belonged to me, I don't think we'd be sitting here in Utah right now just watching this whole thing unfold or listening to bits and pieces on NPR or the occasional Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert video. No. We'd actually be participating in Iowa in the whole process. Home schooling, I guess, is what you call it? And, yes, I understand that is a completely radical notion.
Here's the thing. America is still a democracy. A shaky democracy, but it still is a democracy. One built on the revolutionary passionate hearts and minds of people willing to truly participate. I think being on the front lines, participating, seeing our process in action, is the best way to learn how it all works and understand how to be effective to make change.
LilSalty is 11. He's our future. If change is going to happen, despite his inability to vote right now, it begins with me, but it also really happens with him.
So, I'll be participating in all the ways that I can. I will also be including him, as much as he wants to join in, too. Again, he already has strong opinions about Donald Trump. I am guessing, with lots of thoughtful conversation and some more participation, we can also have some strong feelings about the whole democratic process.
As we both love to say: It's worth a shot.