My children and I gathered on the couch, popcorn in hand, to watch possibly the greatest thing to happen so far in my lifetime, more than certainly the greatest thing to happen in their short lifetimes. After a few moments my little girl looked at me with a look of concern on her face.
“You look like you are about to cry, mama.”
“I think I am going to cry. But I’m not sad. I’m overjoyed. I’m so filled with hope and awe that I can’t do anything but cry.”
“Like the one time you cried in my room, but said you weren’t sad?”
I don’t have any recollection what that time was about. I can guess it was at some point during my pregnancy with my son. But I will remember this time until I am turned to dust.
Like a giddy school girl, I got my camera out and started taking pictures of the television. I got some with the kids in the forefront to prove to them they did, in fact, witness this wonderful event. I have “memories” of some things from childhood that are really manufactured memories from looking at photos. I kept thinking, what better gift to give my young children than the memory of such a fantastic moment in history.
Then the battery died on the camera. I paused the TV, ran like a mad woman down to get the extra battery and ran back to try to catch up to “real time.” DVR is a wonderful invention, but today, for this, I needed to see it as it was happening. I wanted to be there the moment it took place.
The second battery was dead also, which meant another dash down the hall to get the charger. I charged one battery for about 6 minutes which gave it enough juice to get a few more of the kids as President-Elect Obama was being introduced.
Then he became President Obama. (choir singing in my head.)
I sat and took picture after picture of our eloquent, handsome, intelligent, amazing new president. And I cried some more.
He spoke to so many people in his speech. He spoke to my friend who is married to a Muslim. He spoke to Americans who want so badly to have hope again. He spoke to people from countries far and wide who have little reason to trust us right now.
And he spoke directly to me.
“For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.” (my emphasis)
I was his. I was his before that, but at that moment I was his fully. He mentioned me. And the millions of others out there like me who give of ourselves so that the world will have a generation of smart, caring, loving, empathetic children to take the reigns when it is their turn.
Or course, I wish my children had understood the gravity of it all. I wish I didn’t have to shush them so that I could hear his words. I wish they could understand tears of joy. But I am glad they will not remember a time before it would be possible for a bi-racial man to become president.
I do believe bi-racial says even more than African American. Wholly from neither group, comes a man able to bind many groups.
Maggie had looked up at me after Vice-President Joe Biden was sworn in.
“Can I be vice-president some day?”
“You absolutely can.”
And I believe that with all my heart. I believe. I hope. I dream. I will leave this planet a better planet for my children.
Maggie asked if Obama was going to help us clean up the Earth. Again, I said, absolutely. I believe. I hope. I dream. Yes. We. Can.