I get completely obsessed with certain news stories. Usually, there is some horrific tragedy involved, but for once, I am totally absorbed with a story of people behaving well. This has been amazing. The thing that has made me feel so good about it is, of course, that everyone survived, but also that everyone remained calm and relatively dignified during the evacuation. See, I was beginning to lose hope that people think of anybody but themselves ever since a bunch of Wal-mart shoppers crushed a man to death and left him there in their hurry to shop. The world is filled with good people, I know that, but the news can get a bit debilitating day after day. So the happy stories are something I cling to.
And of course the other story I am completely obsessed with is the inauguration. I am absolutely beside myself with excitement. Did I tell you guys that I won tickets to go? I put my name into the lottery for 2 tickets and even as I was doing it, I knew I would win. (Every now and then I have premonitions about things like that.) We aren't going because, honestly, I don't think any of us would have had fun trying to keep the kids happy and warm while dealing with a city that is overrun with tourists, albeit fantastically giddy ones. Just the potty dilemma was enough to make me not want to go. Kai has the worlds smallest bladder, and he is a country boy (read: allowed to pee anywhere he wants outside) so certain social niceties, such as NOT whipping down his pants to pee when in urban settings, are a bit beyond him.
But here is the best part. I was able to give the tickets to my mom and Polly. They were going down no matter what, just to be with their gleeful fellow Americans, AND the inauguration happens to fall on my mom's 65th birthday. She was at JFK's inauguration and shook his hand and also (thrillingly) met Robert Frost. She was interviewed for Vermont Public Radio last week (it airs Monday morning at 7:30 for you Vermonters) and the thing that moved me most about what she said was the fact that she didn't REALLY believe she would see this day. She didn't have the same faith that she thinks our generation had. And she is so proud that "We the People" have actually made the words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution ring true. Because all men ARE created equal, and it feels like for the first time, this country is finally making some real leaps in meeting it's promise.
It isn't just that Obama is black, although that is huge, especially for a country whose prosperity was built on the backs of slaves. It's that he worked for it. He didn't get into Harvard on his daddy's coat-tails. His family LOOKS like a real American family, with a white mother, an immigrant father and grandparents from the heartland. This family could be anybodies family. America is a melting pot, more than any other place I have seen, and it feels great to FINALLY have that reflected in our leadership. And, as a member of a trans racial family, I am thrilled my children get to grow up in a country where this is not only possible, but, I suspect, will become the norm. I predict lots of crashing sounds in the future as glass ceilings of all sorts start shattering to the ground.
Mom called me yesterday from her seat on Amtrack, cheerfully relating that they were running almost 2 hours late because they were right behind Obama's train. The sounds of the other people on the train celebrating made it almost hard to hear her, but let me tell you, the woman is excited. She can't wait to be shoulder to shoulder and rump to front with her fellow Americans on Tuesday, and I can't think of a better way for a great woman to celebrate her birthday than to be at a party as a great citizenry celebrates the inauguration of a great man.