I am finally emerging from the maelstrom of activity that has made up my last three weeks: I’m sitting in a different house now, on the other side of the (successful, thank god) conference that has consumed my last two months, and trying to reconcile the huge child that lives in my new house with the still-babyish girl we left with grandma a week ago. I stared at Zoe intently this morning, trying feverishly to memorize her new curves and angles, while expressions wholly foreign to me passed over her face (those two above? I’d never seen them before this morning!). C’mon, seriously? It was only A WEEK. I feel like I’m on a roller coaster ride in the dark, and this was a huge, stomach-churning drop.
Of course, while I’ve been reflecting on my new little world, we are also in a time of giant change in our greater world. Hurricane Sandy has brought many lessons to the forefront, and will continue to do so as we slowly begin to gain some perspective on it. For me, what it has illustrated is how vulnerable we truly are in our little homes, our little power grids, our little cars. But I don’t find that individual vulnerability particularly alarming; instead, I take it as a reminder of how much we all really need one another. In the last week, I’ve been so heartened to see and hear how folks everywhere have been stepping up to help and support one another. We forget this in our busy individual lives, but we all depend in some way on the goodness of other people in our communities, in our country, and in our world.
I can’t stop time for Zoe, and I can’t deny this: every day, she grows incrementally less a part of me, and more a part of the world. All I can try to do is my part in ensuring that it’s a world where decision-making is rooted in the values of helping out the less fortunate, respecting others’ personal decisions, and freely pursuing knowledge. That’s the world I want to raise my girl to be a part of, and that’s my reason for voting for Barack Obama. What’s yours?