To Matilda Mokoto Holmes on Your Birth
May 31, 2020
I understand you can’t read this. You have been very busy getting born, learning how to breathe and such. Hopefully your mother will keep a copy of this to share with you on some appropriate birthday a few years from now.
On the day you were born the sky was crystal blue and everything was lush green bursting with young life to greet you like the young ducklings on the pond and bunnies in their burrows. The Web of All Existence greeted you.
|Brand new and with your parents John and Maureen.
Your Mom and Dad were there, of course. It couldn’t have happened without them. And frankly you were a lot of work to get born. It was even a little scary but your new life prevailed. You were welcomed in the arms of love.
A whole tribe waits anxiously to greet you—two grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins, and an odd old Papa. By the way you were an aunt yourself the minute you were born and your niece Sienna who is just one year older than you will be your playmate and guide for years of coming adventures. And did I mention the dogs Piper and Ginger who will protect you from marauding pirates and Piper at least will curl up to sleep with you.
|Some of you clan--Papa, your Mom, Aunt Heather, and Aunt Carolynne. There are lots more.
You will come home in couple of days or so with your Mom to Grandma Kathy and Papa’s little house. It will be your first home. You will have others, but that first one is very special. Grandma will spoil and play with you. Papa will take you on his walks—the stroller is ready to be your carriage into the world—and looks forward to singing strange lullabies to you and reading books with you when you are a little older.
The date you were born used to be Memorial Day before that holiday got moved. And in a way that connects you to two great grandfathers, Papa Art Brady and Papa Willard Murfin who were soldiers in World War II which will be 100 years past when you are a young woman. In fact you are connected to ancestors on both sides of your family whose interesting lives made yours possible. You are part of a great river of humanity.
Beyond your kin and home there are many friends waiting to greet you and support you on your life journey—your folks’ friends, your whole neighborhood, the Sisters Grandma Kathy works with, and the good people at Papa’s church. It takes a village to raise a child and you have many villagers to guide you.
|The day you were born everyone wore masks.
But I am sorry, not everything was pixie dust and unicorns on the day you were born. The wide world was a freighting mess. You were born in the middle of the great Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 which is why no one but your Mom and Dad could be with you in the hospital. Even after you get home many of your clan will have to wait to see you and play pass the baby until it is safe. People will wear masks on their faces. They are scared for themselves—and for you.
Climate change—I am sure you will have heard of this when you can finally read it—is making over the world. Where you live it will be hotter and wetter, snowier in the winter, apt to big and dangerous storms. Everything will change from the way things once were. Your parents and grandparents will have to do everything they can to keep that change from being catastrophic.
The country you live in is rent by bitter division. Ominous forces are at work. The free democracy of your parents and ancestors is threatened. Fascism—I am sorry you will have to learn what that is—looms and some long for a civil war. Many good people, however, are doing everything they can to prevent that and to leave you a free and safe country. But it will be a struggle.
Even sadder, on the day you were born cities across America were torn by demonstrations, protests, riots, looting, and violence. All because Black people in this country are not safe from violent assault by police and because a long sad history of white oppression has been unmasked again. Your world will not be safe until Black children are safe.
|The day you were born Papa was here to help make the world better for you.
That is why Papa on the day you were born went to Woodstock to hold a sign that said Black Lives Matter and march around the Square with hundreds of others. He pledges to spend the rest of his life fighting to give you a better world than the one in which you were born.
The ancient Chinese had a curse—“May you live in interesting times.” You were born on a day in the middle of interesting times. Bless you as you make your way through them.
With all of the love in the world,