One Step Back

June 30, 2014

Dear Hillary,

Today was tiring.

We went to Target, which is par the course, and while there my phone was dropped and destroyed. The screen didn’t even crack, but the impact scrambled the electronics within.

You giggled; I shrugged my shoulders. I wasn’t even upset. It’s a phone, it happens.

I mean, I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t upset.

It happens.

We went to buy a new phone, an expense I wasn’t excited about, and that took about an hour. For being so bored in a boring store for an hour, you behaved wonderfully. I smiled and danced with you when I could, and carried and bounced you when I had to deal with the phone people.

(I also changed a poopy diaper of yours in the employee lounge. Which is what they get for not having a changing station in the restroom.)

When we got home, I put you in your crib for a nap—you had actually fallen asleep in the car—and fired up my computer.

And I saw the news.

During her entire pregnancy with Squeak, I’ve joked with Mommy about my wanting another daughter. I figure that after raising you, I understand better how to take care of a little girl than a little boy. I also worry about the stereotype surrounding little boys: they’re destructive.

Mommy has an instinct that Squeak is a boy, and when she tells me this (which she does constantly), I say “It better not be!” and pretend to be angry. I’m not angry, of course, because I’ll love whichever gender comes popping out of her. But I pretend.

Sometimes, however, I’m not so sure I want to bring another girl into this world.

And I often worry about you.

It is still, in 2014, so much easier to be a white male than anything else.

When I got home and jumped on line, I saw that a Supreme Court dominated by misogynistic assholes decided that, as men, they knew better than women what was best for women.

(Forgive my language, by the way. I’m just being accurate.)

Five men stated: The type of health care a woman receives should not be determined by women, but by corporations owned by assholes who use ancient tales to cover their intellectual shortcomings.

(The three women on the Supreme Court were, of course, against this ruling. One lone man, one who probably remembered he had a mother [and possibly a wife] he loved, also dissented.)

As a father, I am at a loss for words.

I see horrible stories—universities who refuse to investigate sexual assaults, law enforcement agencies that refuses to acknowledge rape, high schools that protect athletes who commit atrocious acts against young girls—and wonder: why would I want to bring another woman into this world? Why would I want to expose her to such treatment?

As a nation, America raises a pointed finger at supposed “underdeveloped” 3rd World Countries and trumpets loudly our superiority; in certain areas on this planet, women can be (and are) put to death at the whims of men. With an air of condescension we shout, “Look at those savages!”

But are we really the superior nation when we subjugate women using legal means, not blunt force? How does championing our fairy tales as greater than their fairy tales elevate us above anyone?

This very Supreme Court ruled “Corporations are people.”

Unfortunately, they don’t feel women deserve that same distinction.

I am angry, frustrated, and fearful.

Which is not unlike the men who feel the need to control women; mine is just sympathetic to your plight, not cackling at it.

When you awoke from your nap we went outside and drew on the driveway with chalk. You watched Sesame Street (which is only known to you as “Elmo!”), and I watched as a storm blew through town and destroyed our gazebo.

Like with my phone this morning, I wasn’t upset as I watched it get damaged. It’s just a thing, and things are replaceable.

(Just like women, according to some men.)

Hilly… I’m not sure how to end this.

I’d like to have positivity and hope swoop in, and finish by telling you that I’m going to enroll you in martial arts so you can protect yourself against predators, that I’ll know exactly at what age we can talk about inappropriate pictures and how they live on forever via the Internet, that by the time you enter the corporate world women will be taken seriously and earn as much as their male counterparts, that whatever you want to do with your life and career won’t be challenged by a desire to have a family, that you will be judged by your mind and not your looks…

…but I don’t know what to say, and I don’t know how much of that will be true.

I do believe that life is about moving forward, even when obstacles are on the path in front of you. And I know that Mommy and I are going to do all we can to give you the strength you will need to navigate the minefield that is being a woman. Many women before you have overcome greater obstacles by far and advanced the rights you have today. As I write, many women are fighting for the rights you will have tomorrow.

My hope is as you grow, women will gain more footholds than they lose.

My hope is that today was just a bad day, but that tomorrow—as the song goes—is a latter day.

(The skies are clearing and the sun’s coming out…)

Love,

Dad

.

Like this letter? Here’s a whole book of them…

TTA Timmel Book Cover SQUARE_102314

Click the picture for purchasing options. Word.

(Awesome people share blogs)

Why stop now? Read on...

  • October 15, 2014It’s OK to Talk to Animals (and Other Letters from Dad)First steps, first word, first time pooping in the bathtub... as a stand-up comedian, Nathan Timmel missed numerous milestones during the first year of his daughter’s life. Traveling from town to town, he spent his night slinging jokes […]
  • September 2, 2014Coming In OctoberMy newest book, "It's OK to Talk to Animals (and Other Letters from Dad" -- a reflection on parenting when you find yourself away from home more often than not.
  • September 23, 2015Don’t Throw Dad Under the Breastfeeding BusEven though nursing has been scientifically (and repeatedly) proven the best way to feed a baby, there are legitimate reasons not to do it.
  • August 14, 2013A Chance EncounterInvisible bonds exist between certain people, such as that between members in the military or those that tie a family together, and one such connection is present between mothers.