What you have in common with the President

michelle malia sasha obama | getty imagesAs I watch the pomp and circumstance of President Obama’s Inaguration today, I’m struck by some of the news commentary that’s consistent across all the channels I’ve turned to.

(Well, all but one. You know me.)

It’s about Sasha and Malia Obama.

The words I keep hearing: Poised. Wonderful. Delightful. Classy. Sensible.

I’d imagine that it doesn’t matter if you’re the leader of the free world or, you know…us. Whatever his political accomplishments, whatever the historic implications of his presidency, whatever prizes he wins or beautiful speeches he gives, or evil terrorist leaders he captures, something tells me that the thing that makes he and Michelle most proud in life is the knowledge they’re raising good kids

When I think back to those things I thought I would lose as a parent–disposable income, sleep, travel, Friday night dinners out, sleep–I couldn’t have imagined that what I gained in return meant more than all those things combined.

I’m living every day for something greater than myself.

Then, knowing that you haven’t messed it up too badly yet, you’ve got the single best feeling in the world.

I think all parents (or at least the good ones) are bound by this single point of pride, whatever else we believe, whatever our politics.

Of course, it’s a process. Who knows if today’s awesome seven year-old will be tomorrow’s poised, wonderful, delightful 16 year old. I certainly know that my girls will never be walking up the Capitol steps in cute purple coats, watching one of their parents solemnly swear to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States. But regardless of what they will be doing years from now, I am overjoyed that today, as an admittedly imperfect parent, I take a good, hard, honest look at my girls and think, “Wow, they’re kind of great.”


[image: Getty]


18 thoughts on “What you have in common with the President”

  1. I was just contemplating our journey as parents. We work long hours and cut a lot of school activity corners, but when I look at the products of our chaotic and passionate parenting, I see kind souls. I see kids who reflect on the lessons in school and in life with intelligence and compassion.

    Thank you for this post. It solidified my weepy state of pride in family and country.

  2. My husband and I were listening to our kids singing together down the hall this morning and we remarked to each other how lucky we are we get to be their parents. Best feeling I know.

  3. I have to put this on my fridge and read it – you know, for one of those days… as opposite of “most” days.
    But yes, we all need to pause and look into souls that we have the privilege of supporting though this life cycle. And I have to be humble, I can’t claim the credit. Kids are way ahead of me.

  4. Just the fact that my boys say please and thank you makes giving up Friday night happy hours and many pairs of shoes up well worth it.

    I love how you say the Obamas are just like you, me and parents in general – being proud is what makes us tick!

    I also love it because I compared Obama and MLK to my mom today…

  5. We took a nature walk together, me and my three today and they were all so sweet to each other, holding hands and running together and pointing out butterflies and lizards to each other (that’s it, were moving to a tent outside! ha ha!) Anyway, it made me proud.

    I like the title of this post. 🙂

    1. Those are the perfect moments, Elaine. It’s when I’m glad I have a blog on which to write them all down. Lord knows I blew it with the baby book.

  6. Thanks for this post, especially the line about living for something greater than ourselves. Pouring our lives (or the lives that used to be ours!) into small human beings who may or may not say thank you, may or may not make good choices, may or may not walk up the capitol steps themselves someday… it is greater than living just for ourselves, in a hard-but-good, ‘why am I so tired all the time?’ kind of way.

    And knowing and working with the daily fact that we parent imperfectly is the only way to stay sane for decades of this.

  7. Beautiful, Liz. Thanks.

    I was recently thinking about the kinds of things that keep being revealed to me, the gems that I overlooked through the short-sighted lens of my teens and 20s. I’m no sage, of course, but the wisdom of my parents continues to unfurl. That they see me, they’re patient with me, they’re proud of who I am and continue to become and they’re proud of the kids I’m raising…these lessons and this love connects us all, doesn’t it?

  8. Nice to be reminded that most of us want the same thing. I want to know that I have raised good/nice people. They don’t need to be a sports superstar or the most popular kid in school. I want them to be nice.

    Nothing makes me happier than for another parent to tell me after a playdate how polite my kid(s) were, etc. It’s the little moments that will define us as parents and how our kids behave when we aren’t around.

  9. Beautiful. I have neither a D nor an R next to my name, but you are correct in your assertion that it wouldn’t matter which I chose in watching the First Family. Being a parent transcends a lot. Those moments of pride in our children makes everything so much better.

  10. It’s refreshing to see coverage on famous teenagers that is mainly positive and celebrates their good behavior, instead of reveling in, glorifying, and exploiting their bad behavior. It’s also nice to see a country that, on the whole, is enjoying watching these children grow up and becoming young ladies anyone would be proud to have as daughters.

    Now, don’t breathe! We might ruin it!

  11. “I’m living every day for something greater than myself.” — Beautiful quote for every parent to remember as they go through the challenges of raising children. This is a really great post and an important reminder. Thanks for sharing!

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