Yes, I’m very fond of the fact that she supports many issues I care deeply about. She supports working to prevent insurance companies from doing away with plan protections due to preexisting conditions, she supports women having the right to choose what happens to their own bodies, and she supports protecting our country’s natural resources from pollution. The list goes on and on.
Abigail Spanberger had my vote months and months ago, but for once in my life – because of a few fleeting but noteworthy interactions – I’m sitting down and writing more than just a quick “Vote for so-and-so” social media post about a political candidate.
My wife and I are new parents. Other parents reading this know what I mean when I say parenthood is often all-consuming. In the days before our daughter, JuneBug as we call her, when my wife was perfectly round-bellied and we both had no idea how full our lives were about to become – we talked about how we were bound to become less politically active. Between both of us working full-time, trying to keep our home somewhat presentable, and caring for Junie – we often end our nights on the couch watching old episodes of “The Office” and being too exhausted to climb the stairs up to our room. Needless to say, our premonitions about our diminished energy for politics was more than true.
Lucky for us, we have some incredibly enthusiastic and energetic friends when it comes to positive change in today’s wounded political climate. So many of them were posting about Abigail on social media. They were attending fundraising and meet and greet events, posting photos of themselves canvassing together, and encouraging friends to do their research about this individual working so hard to “flip the 7th.” I found myself thinking, “Who is this woman?”
So, my wife and I started attending events where we got to meet and interact with Abigail. Each time, she was incredibly personable. At Virginia Pride she crouched down on our blanket we’d laid out on the grass on Brown’s Island and kissed our baby girl. She laughed as Junie tugged at her hair and seemed to have to be almost pulled away by her assistant who seemed eager to get Abigail to their next destination, no doubt feeling the pressure of the less-than-two-months-until-voting-day. Abigail, who proclaimed herself to be a lover of babies, seemed entirely present in that moment with us – with our family, kissing our JuneBug’s perfectly plump cheeks.
Our next meeting was just days ago. My (chosen) Mother and ginormous Abigail Spanberger supporter was co-hosting a Meet and Greet and Fundraiser – the Spanberger campaign’s 136th. As the evening was winding down, Abigail found her way to where my wife and I were standing, blowing raspberries at our JuneBug. She seemed to remember us, and held out her arms to Junie. We all chatted with ease – Abigail never once asking overly personal questions that we are too-often asked, like “Did you adopt?” “Which one of you carried her?” or the dreaded “Which of you is the mother?” – To which we always reply, “both of us.”
After snuggling our wide-eyed, fresh-from-a-nap-but-still-sleepy baby for a few minutes, JuneBug leaned toward me the way little ones do when they’re tired and are ready to be in the arms of a parent. Abigail said, “Oh you want to go back to your Mama?” And that right there. That sealed the deal for me. I wanted to do more than vote – I want to help encourage others to do so as well.
You may be thinking “Really? That’s it?”
But, so often, I’m overlooked as a Mom. My wife, still breastfeeding, is so clearly a mother. It could be that folks don’t know my wife and I are a couple – or they’re afraid to acknowledge it for fear of offending us if they are wrong – but, we do all the things any straight couple with a kid does in public. We hold hands, I’ll smooch her on the top of her head as we shop for groceries, or we’ll both play peek-a-boo with JuneBug while waiting in line at a coffee shop.
Abigail sees and acknowledges my family — literally the biggest part of who I am. Abigail hasn’t shied away from being vocal regarding her opinion on civil rights or LGBTQ equality. More and more, as I listen to her speak, or listen to what my LGBTQ family is saying about her – I learn something remarkable about her: she not only supports Virginia’s LGBTQ community, she interacts with us with the familiarity and ease only a true friend of our vibrant and thriving community could.
Her name is Abigail Spanberger, and on November 6th, she’s got this mom’s vote. I hope she has yours too.
Editor's Note: this letter originally appeared in Richmond2day, and has been re-posted here with the author's permission.
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