The end. The beginning.

All at once it hit me this weekend: A desperate, urgent need to attend the inauguration. A friend was kind enough to offer a spare ticket and the last 24 hours has been a scramble to try to get a train, get a ride, get someone to watch my two sick kids including the one with the double ear infection…

I’ve officially conceded defeat. And I’m a little crushed.

I worked so hard on the presidential campaign myself, and I felt like going to the inauguration would be this great culmination of not just the months of work, but the eight years of heartache that proceeded it.

It’s strange to feel like progressive politics are “in” again. I’ve spent so long being the angry underdog, stocking up on President Poopyhead baby tees and driving around with a W=Not My President decal in the rear view window. You mean I’m going to look forward to the State of the Union Addresses? You mean I’m going to be the one with the framed photo of the president on my desk? It’s like going from the counterculture to the culture, from the angry villager brandishing the pitchfork at the castle door to the guy on the other side of the door saying, Come on in, you angry villagers. Let’s work this out. It’s warm in here and the little lady just whipped up some mutton canapés.

It’s weird.

It’s cool.

And I suppose being in New York with my family tomorrow and a few friends I love isn’t necessarily second best to being in DC in person tomorrow.

I’ve been struggling with how to describe the importance to Thalia, especially without getting into all the racial stuff that she doesn’t need to know..

Well, this is a very special time when a very special guy will become the president, someone we’re all hoping will make things better for you and your sister and everyone else in this country. And I want you to really remember this because Sage won’t. And for the rest of your life people will ask you if you have any memories of the Obama inauguration. You’ll say, “No, I was only three. But I remember mommy bringing me into the voting booth and letting me pull the lever until the little X popped up next to his name. And I remember how my parents were so excited watching the TV all day, and they got me an Obama shirt that I wore.”

And then you’ll tell them that you don’t remember the swearing in much, but that you do remember thinking that there was something very exciting going on. And that your mommy turned to you and said, “Thalia, these are the beginning of the Obama years.”

And you’ll be able to say that, because you were only three, you actually don’t remember anything else. You may have been born during Bush, but The Obama years were all you knew.”

“Mommy,” Thalia said, “you have some water coming out of your eyes right now. Right there.”

Indeed I did.


34 thoughts on “The end. The beginning.”

  1. Beautiful. I’ve been telling my three-year-old twins about Obama too and have been prone to tears of joy as well. I’m so sorry you won’t be able to attend the inauguration. I feel your pain.I am so glad that finally our nation has hope, instead of being controlled by fear, and a sense of looking forward even in the face of all our current challenges.My family and I will be partying right along with you tomorrow!

  2. I am 27 years old I have never been a very political person.That is until this election!! I sat in my living room after i voted I was glued to the TV!! When they announced Obama as our 44th president I finally felt the emotion I had seen my parents have on election day!! My two year old daughter proudly wears her Obama shirt that says My Mama Loves Obama!! My faith in this country is coming trickling back!! My Family and I will be at home tomorrow doing the Happy Dance right along with YOU!! Laura in MN

  3. I’ve had tears in my eyes all day! Including right now, after reading this. I’m so excited and hopeful! I’m lucky that, although I can’t get to DC, I will be able to watch the TV at work all day tomorrow (Teacher Record Day – no kids!)I talked about Obama with my 21 month old today. Of course, he doesn’t understand anything, but I want him to have the words in his subconscious anyway!You may be surprised at what Thalia will remember. I can remember watching a moon landing and I wasn’t more than 3 at the time. I’m sorry you can’t go to DC, but watching with friends and family sounds wonderful!BTW – any idea where I can get a “My Mama Loves Obama” t-shirt?

  4. My dear friends wanted to go, too… but alas, kids and jobs and lives keep us here. My girlfriend is throwing an all-day party. I don’t ever recall partying with my parents during an inauguration! I hope it becomes a tradition. The days surrounding the election, Lucas saw me cry countless times. I’m sure there will be more tears tomorrow. Bring it on. And remember, you are in NY! What a great place to be.

  5. I feel so good about our country right now. I remember writing a comment on your blog 4 years ago. 4 long years ago! About how bad I felt to be living next to and around the majority of Americans who voted the last man and his cronies back into office. I was frightened. I was dumbstruck at the way people voted.But look! WE -the majority of Americans -voted for THIS man! I am so hopeful. I am proud to be an American. I’ve never felt that way before. WE DID IT. Yeah us!

  6. Oh I’m sad that you can’t go. I’m sad that I can’t go too, but you at least had a fighting chance. To Thalia, it may just be a story and a cute picture of her in a shirt. She may not remember. But the cool thing is that you can tell her about it someday, just like I can tell my girls. Tomorrow history is going to be made!

  7. Renee: In addition to the one from Lucky Wang that I linked in the post (it’s really great!) < HREF="" REL="nofollow">My Mama Loves Obama shirt<>Cool < HREF="" REL="nofollow">Obama 44 tee<>And my fave, as seen on Cool Mom Picks (as of tomorrow): < HREF="" REL="nofollow">Generation O<> tees

  8. I haven’t been this excited since…well, I guess since election day. 🙂 I am sorry you were so close to getting there. You’ll be able to see and hear everything better on tv though. I have been trying to talk to my 22 month old about Obama too. We haven’t gotten too far, although when he sees Obama on a magazine or tv, he excitedly yells, “Omama!!” I figure it’s appropriate, considering.

  9. My 4 and 7 yo boys are so excited. I’ve talked about the racial component and with Hillary around I had talked about the women’s issues too. They can’t wait to see the ceremonies; I’m tivo-ing it all so we can watch as a family. I hope they will remember some of it- but what they will have is the understanding that Anyone can do Anything they dream of doing in our country. They will grow up in a different world than we did.

  10. Lovely thoughts. My first child is due in a week and I am completely overwhelmed that this child will be born into the Obama years. And that the Bush years will just be an ugly part of history to her. We’ve waited so long!

  11. Damn. I so would’ve taken your kids—snot noses and ear infections and all. My kids know I will be a weeping mess tomorrow. Last night, we watched King which was a bit violent and scary for an 8 yo but she is so interested in how “we” could treat other people so badly, and not all that long ago! Last night, she told me she was sad that she was white b/c we were so mean to black people. (I didn’t rub it in by reminding her about the Native Americans). But, I think her reaction shows how far people have come. My tears tomorrow will be of joy and that is a beautiful thing.

  12. I’m so sorry! There is an almost biological urge to be part of this, I know. I’ve wrestled with it myself. We’re going down to the Mall in the morning; I’ll send you vibes and you can tell me what it all looked like since, clearly, I won’t be able to tell!

  13. I enjoy reading your blog, but I was wondering: considering that you showed so little respect to President Bush, how will you feel if conservatives behave the same way towards Obama? Shouldn’t Americans respect and appreciate ALL of their presidents (who are, if you think about it objectively, only trying to do what they think is best for their country)? If you say that Bush is not ‘your’ president, that makes it acceptable for others to say that Obama is not ‘their’ president – do we really want to leave our children such an intolerant and divided nation? If people want peace and justice for everyone it seems to me that they should try to unite around that central wish, instead of disowning ‘each other’s’ presidents which will do nobody any good and is, IMHO, rather immature and intolerant.Just a thought, no offense intended.

  14. Madeline, I sported that bumper sticker not because Bush was a Republican but because Bush was not elected. He lost the election, he lost the popular vote and was appointed by the supreme court. Respect is earned. Generally by showing respect. Bush never showed an ounce of respect for the principles of this country, for opposing points of view, for the working class, for the constitution. I do not for a moment believe he ever acted in the best interest of this country. That’s an opinion supported on both sides of the aisles. If anyone left an intolerant and divided nation it was Bush and Cheney. Will some people dislike Obama? Of course. But I hope most will at least give him a chance. Because I imagine his is going to be a presidency like we’ve never seen before. No offense taken.

  15. I hadn’t even given any thought to the notion that my daughter will forever identify Obama as HER President. I am so happy that she will grow up with such a wonderful role model leading our country.I have water coming out of my eyes…

  16. I know how you feel. I’m living in China right now, which means I’ll actually be asleep during the inauguration – those pesky time zones. That feels wrong somehow. It’s odd to be this far from home, again, during such an important moment in U.S. history.

  17. It just blows my mind that our kids will grow up taking it for granted that yes, a black man CAN be President.

  18. Mind if I plagiarize you a little when I talk to my kids tonight? Your way of explaining all this to Thalia is beautiful. I too am so happy that my kids are part of the Generation O at last!Thank you too for your well reasoned, coherent response to Madeleine. Well done!

  19. Tomorrow? Is a WONDERFUL day that I have been waiting 8 agonizing years for. Bring on the Obama! p.s. Sorry you can’t go to the inauguration, but at least you can spend it with your girls, right?

  20. So much truth. My daughter, a “few years” older than Thalia, voted in her first presidential election in 2008. She and I exchanged text messages – and tears – election night.

  21. You make very good points and I agree that Bush was not a success as a president and left a very troubled America. But at some point I think we will have to start showing respect even to those who do not respect us, because otherwise it turns into a vicious circle which goes on and on. Sooner or later we will have to be respectful to everyone, regardless of (almost) anything, and hope that they are good enough to reciprocate. I very much hope President Obama will lead us into a time like this.

  22. um, yeah, so i kind of feel like a total ass that it wasn’t until 4 hours AFTER isabel’s party that i turned to MEtalia and said “was that Liz, like mom101 Liz?”

  23. Amazing, isn’t it? My husband and I did have tickets yesterday, got there very very early, etc. and never got in. It was very, very disappointing. There were thousands of people with tickets who didn’t get in (and were stuck in streets w/o any video or sound of the inauguration). I’m not having a pity party but wanted to just say that maybe it was good that you got to watch at home and capture that awesome reaction of Thalia! As my husband and I told each other, it matters that yesterday happened, not which side of the fence we were on when it happened. Woo hoo!!

  24. I voted for Obama, though I am normally a Republican, because I was afraid McCain was gonna die in office and then we’d be stuck with Sarah Palin. I have a lot of hope and I pray for President Obama and his family, but I am by nature, a very cautious person. I see and hear so many people talking and behaving as though Obama’s presidency is the Second Coming of J.C. and I think that’s getting a little ahead of themselves. Everyone has so much hope that he’s going to fix everything but he’s only one guy and he only has a maximum eight years to get us out of the hole we’re in. I’m cautiously hopeful, but I can’t get on board with all the cheering crowds. After all, Obama is one man… and though he is president of the Free World, he can only do so much. I can’t help but think this must be a lot of pressure for him with the country and quite possibly, the world, pining all their hopes on him.

  25. Totally agree with you Cinthia. I’m not ready to cannonize him just yet. That said I think the celebration is the end of a really painful era, and the start of something new and exciting – whatever that may be. Of course we all want our 401(k)s back and our health care system fixed, stat. But even just seeing some of the changes he made today, his first day in office? Capping WH salaries? Overhauling rules for lobbyists? Closing freaking Guantanamo?That’s all worth a big hearty WHOO! Whatever else comes next.Let’s be cautious. Let’s be realistic. But let’s not dampen our hope for the future just yet.

  26. I was one of the lucky ones who got tickets, braved 23 hours of driving through snowstorms from Maine and managed to get in right before the ceremony started. I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world, but, talking to my daughter on the phone – who wanted to know if our new President got to take his daughters to their new castle – made me wish I had stayed home to watch and share with them. I guess that’s what youtube is for and tonight we will do just that!

  27. I’m a “new” reader of your blog, and, frankly, love it! I typically don’t respond, but, this time, I couldn’t help myself.With that said, I’ll chime in with Cynthia and Madeleine. My goal as a conservative, very conservative, person who did not vote for Obama is to respect him because he is the president–even though I disagree with some of his policies and he hasn’t “earned” it–and, as you mentioned in your comments, to “give him a chance”. Yet, I’m always saddened by the lack of respect for Bush. I think at some point we have to step back and say, “You know…we don’t really know what these guys (and one day women) are facing because we aren’t getting all the facts”; so, whether or not a president has sought to “earn” respect is beside the point because they are doing a job that neither you nor I are doing. Isn’t if fair that people deserve respect regardless of whether or not one agrees with them? Truly, a house divided will not stand. Our greatness is in our unity inspite of difference–isn’t that true liberty?–not in our disunity because of difference. Also, as Cynthia pointed out, the extreme fanfare and, almost, worship of Pres. Obama has made me leary and, unfortunately, not as able to be excited about his historic presidency. It’s sad, really. He is just one man…one human…one limited human man…as we are all limited. Should we really put so much hope and expectation on his shoulders? I worry. Thanks for writing such an awesome and funny blog. I stumbled across this in some Dr. Seers research I was doing, and have kept coming back. You are gifted.

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