He shook his head violently from left to right. His eyes pierced me with the knowledge that he now knew. He defiantly refused to consume my words of assurance and was fighting back with logic so pure and beyond his 11 years it left me speechless. As a mother you know that one day your veil of maternal omnipresent knowledge, truth and protection will be ripped off. You know that an event or potential a series of events took that same sheen off your own parents. It's going to happen. It's just a question of when. I'm afraid Trump winning the election will be that event for my 11-year old. The first crack in my authority and his trust in me. I'm angry because it came far too soon.
As a fifth grader, my middle son O, studied and followed the election closely both at home and school. We tried to shield him from some of Trump's most hateful rhetoric but unlike most Americans, we subscribe to the newspaper - actually two of them. And while he goes straight for the sports section, the front page headlines didn't escape him. Plus living in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, just watching the World Series alone meant he consumed more negative ads than would be recommended for any 11 year old.
In the weeks leading up to the election and even on the night before, I responded to my boys' anxiety about a Trump presidency with the same mantra. "It will not happen. America is better than Trump. I believe most people are good at heart and they will reject him and all he stands for."
I didn't sleep on election night - partly because of the shock of what happened but mostly because I knew I'd have to tell my boys in the morning that I was wrong. That my faith in the good hearts of Americans was misplaced. Upon hearing the news, my youngest collapsed in my lap, but O refused my embrace and scurried away from me. He wisely assessed my words were wrong about the election and why should he trust the ones I'm saying now - that if we work hard and fight for what we believe, the worst of Trump's threats will not come to pass. With the veil removed, he can now see that even I doubt my words are true.