My college daughter is not sleeping because of the election. She is worried. We are all worrying, which feels passive, hopeless. This morning, walking in the crisp November air, finally chilly enough to be familiar unlike the earlier part of the week, whose balmy temperatures made me deeply suspicious, I am thinking about the week that has passed—the longest week of teaching ever for teachers in Northeastern Ohio—and the week that is to come, the high-stakes race for President.
First there was Halloween on Monday—giddy girls in our school already sated from parties over the weekend, counting the hours until the Halloween parade and their release from school and hours of trick or treating. Ghouls and witches at our door, decorously selecting two candies from my haunted, creepy candy box. Tuesday brought the post-sugar crash and Game Six of the Series, which, with my husband and son, I attended. Wednesday brought fatigue but possibility all through the ten innings, a game that lasted so long that I, schoolteacher-headmistress, kept my son home from school on Thursday because he had had the great privilege of going to Game Seven with my sister, imported from Pennsylvania for this historic moment. They left half-way through the tenth inning, threading through the crowds and SWAT teams, reaching Shaker Heights after 2:00 a.m., while I, in Manhattan for a memorial service, crouched in my oldest daughter’s too warm apartment, watching the game on mute so as not to wake my husband. When he did wake and learn that we had tied, that there had been a rain delay, that we had lost by one run in the tenth inning, he was incredulous, a little furious that I had not woken him (I tried when we tied, but he didn’t budge). Next came Thursday with post-series let down as we all tried to keep our heads high—if we had to lose, better to lose to our Midwestern neighbors, the Cubs, another feisty, scrappy, long-deserving rival, instead of some fancy, arrogant team from one of the coasts. Then Friday, the faculty in my school boarded buses at 6:00 a.m. and headed to Columbus in the dark for a full day conference with ISACS, sessions on many topics: race, assessment, creativity, purpose. We are sated, too, like the children with their Halloween candy. A bad accident delayed our return. Wrapped in darkness once again on the trip home, we are giddy, like seventh graders, too-long cooped up in the same cramped space. And finally, the weekend, a time for recovery from this long, long week.
This morning, the sun sparkles in the autumn leaves, vibrant, like living stained glass against a blue field. I breathe in the cool air, breathe out disappointment, rusty on my tongue, privileged to live in this pugnacious town, in this Swing State, where I know my vote matters. I don’t know how Tuesday will go. As a Headmistress, I cannot put my politics on my lawn or on my Facebook feed, though all who know me will presume my loyalties—I am the Head of a girls’ school; I want my girls to know girls can do anything, be anything, including President. The Indians loss was tough to swallow, but if we need to lose the Series to have the right team win on Tuesday, it will be enough.