"How was your first day of sewing camp, boys?"
"Oh my god, Mom, I love machine sewing," Jack replied gleefully. "Guess what? You know how I hoped we'd use peddle machines? Well, we are. AND, I am the only boy in the class, and the youngest, so I get to sit at a table by myself which is great because I can spread my cut-outs out with plenty of room."
"Honey, are you lonely sitting by yourself?"
"Oh, NO, Mom. It's great. Everyone is so nice, but this way, no one distracts me, and I have already cut out all the parts of my hoodie. It's going to be green and yellow with a maroon zipper. Also today I made a pin cushion that I wear on my wrist. I emptied a whole drawer of pins because I was very excited to fill my cushion. Do you know about knits? They're cool materials- they stretch in many ways. Do you know about bobbins? Seam rippers?"
"I LOVE camp, Mom. Today I made an apron," Ol chimed in.
"Oliver, how on earth did you make an apron in half a day?" Jack retorted.
"Because I did, Jack," Oliver replied. I silently fist-bumped him.
"Mom, can we get a sewing machine?"
"Boys, I want y'all to eat dinner in front of the TV tonight so that you can watch the DNC roll call with us."
"What's a roll call?"
"It's where each state announces how they're allocating their delegates. Whichever candidate gets the most delegates is the party nominee for President."
Watching the tallies build, as each state's representatives stood and shared tidbits about their homes and cheered as they announced their votes, as we all watched democracy in action, I was overwhelmed with emotion.
When Hillary Clinton was nudged over the 2,383 delegate vote threshold, tears began rolling down my face. "Take a picture of this with your minds, boys. Remember this moment always. This is something that's been too long in coming but is forever changing the course of American history."
Presidentially, Jack and Oliver have been spoiled. Barack Obama's historic election was their normal; a black first family was their first image of who represents this country. And now they see our party again making history, by nominating an inordinately talented, capable, brilliant woman to take the mantle from him.
Isn't that incredible? I feel so grateful for that, for what that imprints onto their minds about who can be what. Boys can sew and love to do so, Black men are Presidents, women can be.
We are vocal with the boys about values, justice, morals, and what it means to be in community with others. We haven't, in the past, made those things political. Kids, even from a young age, deserve to make their own decisions about who they support, who they believe embodies the values of love and peace and fairness that we try to so hard to instill in them.
But in age-appropriate ways, we have, this election cycle, shared platform planks with them and asked what they think. In the way that children do, they see right through Trump's meanness and bluster, his bigotry and ugliness. Oliver is too young to have cared much about the roll call, but Jack was truly engaged and asked me to order him a Hillary shirt when I ordered mine.
This is powerful on multiple levels, not least because I get a glimpse of how he values and will continue to value women and all that they can do.
I have cried more times in the past three days out of sincere inspiration, hopeful emotion and an unfiltered reaction to love and beauty than I have in a long time. I believe this is the most important election in my lifetime, and I am grateful that my sons are old enough to be part of it; that in the same week they rediscover a love of sewing and couldn't care less about being wholly outnumbered by women they are watching as a woman heads the ticket, a Black man endorses her to take his baton, and a real diversity of thought and belief propel a party forward together.
I am glad that they've seen Bernie supporters inspired, frustrated and understandably sad because in that they see the power of desire for better. They see that when you want more for a people, a country, a place, you sometimes have to fight mightily for that, disagreeing and negotiating and coming back together as a stronger whole. You don't always win but in the fight you learn and are made better.
In contrast to the fear-based, hate-filled vitriol of the RNC's speeches last week, which left me scared and despondent, the uplifting, audaciously hopeful, deeply good and just speeches, songs, video montages of this week's DNC have replaced much of my fear with a kernel of belief that the sun will shine bright in November, its rays burning a clear path through the roiling darkness of the power-hungry, cold-hearted parts of the Republican party who support Trump and try to convince us that only through him can America be made great again.
We are not a fragile or frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order. We don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago; We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that together, We, the People, can form a more perfect union.
That’s who we are. That’s our birthright – the capacity to shape our own destiny. That’s what drove patriots to choose revolution over tyranny and our GIs to liberate a continent. It’s what gave women the courage to reach for the ballot, and marchers to cross a bridge in Selma, and workers to organize and fight for better wages.
America has never been about what one person says he’ll do for us. It’s always been about what can be achieved by us, together, through the hard, slow, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately enduring work of self-government.
Yes we can. I'm with her. I'm with them. I'm with the bright future they believe we deserve and can attain.
If you haven't already, please take the time to watch the following people give their speeches: Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Sharon Belkofer, Michael Bloomberg(!), Mothers of the Movement, and Ryan Moore.
If you have a LOT of time, also watch: Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Anastasia Somoza, Joe Kennedy and Elizabeth Warren.