Hope Is a Funny Thing

IMG_0832Hope is a funny thing.

Just when you think it’s gone, you find it in the most unlikely place.

I’ll give you an example.

Back on Election Day 2016, I squeezed into a white pantsuit. Normally I vote with an absentee ballot (you would too it you had to vote with an autistic child in tow), but I couldn’t do that this time. I wanted to vote in person. And for the first time, I wanted my daughter with me.

I wanted my grandmothers with me too.

So after great debate, I selected. an antique rose pin to represent my Great-Grandmother Rose. I wore a mother-of-pearl necklace that belonged to Grandma King. Both of these women were born in Switzerland, where women could not yet vote, and came to the United States just as women gained the right to vote. For this reason, among others, they took voting very seriously. I wore a second necklace that belonged to Grandma Patton, and carried a leather and ceramic “truth speaker” pendant from my Great Aunt Maxine in my pocket. But what earrings does one wear with such an eclectic assortment of jewelry?

My bored twelve-year-old daughter pushed things along by suggesting a tiny pair of earrings that resemble eidelweiss, the Swiss national flower. Somehow they coordinated with everything I had on. I took this as a good sign. Plus I liked the symbolism. I planned to remember this day for the rest of my life.

vote-1313063_1280We went to the polling place, and as I slid my absentee ballot into the slot, I told Katie, “Remember this day. Today we are voting for the first woman president.”

Katie was nonplussed. I, however, got a little teary. All the women I encountered were teary and excited, in equal measure. Then Katie and I went to the park to swing. For once we were both flying high.

Of course, you know how this ends. Except for one thing: when I arrived home, I realized I was missing an earring.

In the days that followed, it seemed strangely appropriate that I would lose an earring on the day a woman lost the presidency, the day our country lost its innocence, the day I lost faith in our political process and my fellow Americans. I searched my car. I searched the park. I even combed the parking lot at the polling place. I finally accepted that the earring was truly gone. Every time I saw its mate on my dresser, it was a reminder of all I had lost.

The Electoral College and the Inauguration came and went. Every time I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. It rained and rained as if the sky wept. Then on the day that Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education (another heartbreak), a friend walked out my front door and bent down. “Did you lose an earring?”

She handed me my missing earring. It was tarnished, but otherwise unharmed. How it had survived three months of comings and goings, FedEx deliveries, freezing nights, and pouring rain, I will never know.


But it survived, and so will we.

Like I said, hope is a funny thing.

Until next time,

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
This entry was posted in Autism, My Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>