This letter is long overdue. While I’ve wanted to write it since November 9th, I’ve been at a loss for words. But, a few days ago, while driving in the car from Maryland to Connecticut with my husband and three sons (Ryan (6 yrs), Zachary (3 years), and Connor (2 years)) I suddenly realized we were in Chappaqua and we made a quick detour to swing by your house. (We were all shocked at how easy it was to find your address. That has to be tough to adjust to. I’m sure you have far too many people like me that come to bother you. Sorry about that…But, I’m just so very grateful to you that I couldn’t resist stopping by). You weren’t home. But, we decided we would swing by on our way back to drop this letter off.
So, while, I’m somewhat at a loss for words, I hope these words will suffice to tell you how much you mean to me and to our Country.
First of all, THANK YOU! I know things didn’t turn out the way you had hoped, or the way I had hoped, or the way the majority of voting Americans had hoped. But just because you didn’t win doesn’t mean you didn’t accomplish so much. I don’t need to detail here what you’ve meant to the Country. I hope that’s obvious. But I would like to detail what you’ve meant to me.
You gave me a context through which to talk to my three sons about what it means to be brave and kind. You helped me teach them that we are all imperfect, but that despite stumbles and falls we can do great things. You taught me and them that sometimes the most qualified and capable people are the most reviled. And that even when our critics try to bring us down that we shouldn’t let them; that instead we should stand tall and fight back for what we believe is right.
You helped me to teach my boys about women’s rights and equality. Through you and your campaign I had conversations with my boys about racism, inequality, gay rights, and discrimination. My boys know that women are just as good as men in every way. They know the only thing that men can do that women can’t is successfully stand up to pee (I had to explain that one when my 3 y/o said, “Mommy, if girls can do everything boys can, why do you have to sit down when you pee??”). On November 9th, when I sadly had to inform my boys, who just the day before were proudly chanting “Love trumps hate!” and “Hill-a-ry! Hill-a-ry!!” that you had lost, my oldest, Ryan, said, “I just really, really wanted a girl President. She would have done such a good job.” And I couldn’t agree more.
We are all so sad you lost. But on November 9th, in the midst of my sadness and hopelessness I decided we HAD to do SOMETHING. So, we began a campaign of spreading random acts of kindness (RAKs). On November 9th we put together bags of Hershey’s hugs and kisses and handed them out in the “pick up line” at my oldest son’s school. We delivered a plate of cookies and brownies to the local fire department. We delivered another plate of baked treats to the front office at the local elementary school. And we went into Starbucks and I had my two oldest boys choose two strangers whom they would buy coffee for. To every person or group we did a RAK for we gave them this note:
One of the women they bought coffee for started crying and said, “I needed this today. Thank you so much.”
Since November 9th we have continued doing random acts of kindness, all in your honor, all because, as Queen Elizabeth recently said in her Christmas address, “On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice. But the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine.” We delivered homemade cards (made by my three boys) to nursing home residents. We’ve handed out more bags of Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses at Wegmans, Target, the commuter train station, and in our neighborhood. And best of all, I’ve started a Random Acts of Kindness program at my son’s elementary school because I believe that if we can teach our children to be kind to each other, to their neighbors, and to people they don’t know or have never met, then we can make this world a better place. We’ve done all this because of you. Yes, because of you hundreds of people (our own family’s RAK tally is somewhere around 200 now) have received kindness from a stranger, and hundreds more children are being charged with the task of spreading even more kindness in our community.
So, thank you! When you have dark days; when you’re angry at Donald Trump (as I am CONSTANTLY!), when you’re wishing you’d done things differently, please, please remember the Caminiti family and what a difference you made for us and how we are living our life in the wake of the 2016 election. We ARE making a difference. And without you, we wouldn’t be. As Shakespeare wrote, in the Twelfth Knight, “I can no other answer make but thanks, And thanks, and ever thanks.”
Most sincerely and forever grateful,
Kristen DeBoy Caminiti
Mom to Ryan, Zachary, & Connor