I have spent the last several days sort of in shock that it actually happened. Our country, the United States of America, elected Barack Hussein Obama. I honestly didn't think it would happen. I wanted it to happen. I wanted it to happen so much that I couldn't get my hopes up. That's how I've always been unfortunately. I keep my expectations low, so I don't get disappointed. It's not exactly the way to live vicariously, but it is self preservation.
Zachary has, for years, loved history. Especially presidential history. He, at age 7 could name the presidents in order backward and forward. In about a minute and a half. He quizzes me constantly. "Mom, name the first 10 presidents in order." I can get to 6 then I get stuck. Every single time. He breaks out in hysterical giggles every time I get to John Quincy Adams then stop. "How can you not remember mom?" I don't know. I just can't! He is full of statistics and information. I love that, among many things about him. About a year and a half ago we were in the car in Florida and we were playing the initials game. You know? You give initials to a person then they ask questions to figure out who it is. So we are going along with SB (Spongebob) etc and he says to my aunt. GF. The questions start, and continue and continue. Finally, she gives up. My aunt is a teacher and knows a LOT of information. She gave up. Geraldine Ferraro. She ran for vice president with. . . . hmmmm I can't remember who, but she did and I can picture her but can't remember the details. That's how my brain works! We laughed and laughed. He stumped her alright.
So when this whole election process started he was THRILLED to find out a woman and an African American were running against each other on the democratic ticket. How exciting. History in the making. Whichever one went on to run would be history. The boy loves history. I was sort of unsure through the whole thing who I wanted to get the democratic nomination. I felt they both had their merits. I knew whoever it was I would be supporting that person. Then when John McCain picked Sarah Palin (cough cough) Zachary was even more thrilled knowing whoever won it would be historic. So, in short, this election became a BIG deal in our house.
I am only referring to Zachary in this entry because, despite my trying, Daniel doesn't understand this whole thing. On the way to school, we'd chat about the signs on the lawn, of who the homeowner is supporting. I'd describe what was going on. And he'd talk about the sun or the trees or the squirrels and I'd go back to what he wants to talk about. In recent days I would talk about Barack Obama and John McCain, then ask the next day and it would be all new again. It left a pit in my stomach, because I knew he didn't understand. It meant nothing to him. He had no connection. That is where it is left up to us to try to elect a president who we feel can help Daniel the most. Isn't that what it's about for us parents? Trying to lay out a future for your children that is the best for them? So we keep talking to him about it. The day after the election he finally said "Obama". So we were getting somewhere. We keep trying.
When Obama came to MSU I rode my bike down to campus and stood outside of the rally. Some said there were over 20,000 people there. It was electrifying. I don't care if you are a Republican, Democrat, whatever all were there. There were McCain supporters carrying signs and shouting at people, there were Obama supporters coming together. I was smiling the whole time. This is America. Where everyone can come together and listen to a speech and be against it or totally invigorated. I loved every second of it. I missed all the people I was supposed to meet, but really I think it was better. I stood there on my own watching the people and taking it all it. It was wonderful.
As the election drew near, Zachary asked if he could come and vote with me. Absolutely. Talk was the lines would be long. But I knew he wouldn't care. On election day I went and signed him out of school. He was SO excited. Not to be leaving school, but because my 8 year old knew that sometime huge was going to happen that day. I, was so proud that he wanted to be a part of it. That an 8 year old boy understood the gravity of what was happening that day. So we went to the polls. It was very crowded but not really a line. We waited maybe 5 minutes. We saw neighbors and acquaintances. I read through everything with him and showed him how you fill out the ballot. He was fascinated. We went back to school.
Todd and I watched the spin and results and the magic maps with great interest. It seemed early on that there wasn't going to be much of a contest. We were both very tired and went to sleep before the concession speech. But the next day I watched everything online. I really couldn't believe it happened! I was sure that some how it was going to get messed up. But no. It actually happened. The first thing Zachary asked me was who won. When I told him Obama, he was jumping around the family room. I was so excited for Obama. But I was more excited for our country. I really didn't think that I'd see an African American become the president of the United States. The negative part of me, felt like too many people are still to racist to elect someone like Obama. But Obama did something no one else has in a long time. He united people. People came out to vote in record numbers. They made history happen. Each and every person did it together. I know people who cried all day Tuesday with joy, elation, relief, and hope. The only time I cried is when I told my children it happened. That Obama was elected for them. It was the knowing that anything can happen. The walls can come down. That individuals can work together to get it done. That anything is possible. That this lesson transcends the election. In our house, knowing anything is possible takes on a different meaning. It is not putting a limitation on someone. Not deciding what they can and can't learn. Because Daniel has proven to us over and over, he will always surprise us. Sometimes, even your country can surprise you.
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