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Happily Ever After

29

Contributed by MOTHERS volunteer and guest blogger Kelly Coyle DiNorcia

This morning, my three-year-old daughter, Bess, was playing dress up. On this particular day, she was Sleeping Beauty, and was searching frantically through her costume basket to find just the right crown to go with her satiny pink dress. Finally satisfied that she’s got the one, she puts it on her head and tells me, “Mommy, I just pricked my finger and I need a prince to save me.”

Or did she drive a stake through my heart? I’m not sure which.

Discussion of whether any self-described feminist worth her salt should be letting her daughter watch Disney princess movies aside, I took this opportunity for Bess and me to make up some alternate endings to the story. Sure, Sleeping Beauty may have gotten herself into a sticky situation in the castle tower, but could she have gotten out without a prince? Maybe she had a first-aid kit with her and put a bandage and some anti-magic spell cream on her finger, and walked right back down the stairs. Maybe she called to her girlfriends Flora, Fauna and Merryweather who came to her aid. Maybe she looked at the spinning wheels, said “I don’t sew!” and left unscathed.

Like my daughter, though, I think that many of us who are anxiously watching the upcoming election are similarly putting our eggs in one basket. We think that if we elect the right leader to the right position, he or she will sweep into DC on a trusty white limo and take our country in the right direction. We will have done our civic duty on November 4, and then all we’ll have to do is sit back and wait for change.

I’m here to tell you: if you think that way, you’re wrong.

Here’s what I plan to do on November 5: I will write a letter to the new President, and to my newly elected (or re-elected) representatives in Congress, and congratulate them on their victories. I will tell them that I am a voter who will carefully watch to ensure that they make the economic well-being of mothers and children a top priority during their time in Washington.

And starting on January 20, I will monitor their records and write and call their offices to let them know how I think they’re doing. I may even make a visit to Washington or Trenton, my state capital. I will continue to learn, think and write about the ways in which our country falls short in fulfilling one of its most basic functions, which is to support the people who make up the population, namely mothers and families.

In other words, I won’t be waiting on some politician to deliver Happily Ever After. I know that the only way things will get better is if we wake up from our collective slumber and start making it happen.