My great grandma had this photo. I don’t know where it is now, but I wish that I did. It was a picture of her television, taken at the moment that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.
Dear Mr. President
It felt like that today, taking photos of my boys watching President Obama being sworn in. Historic. Breathtaking. Monumental. A whole new world. I don’t care who you voted for, you could not help but be proud, hugely proud, of America on this day.
We broke out the bunny ears for the occasion and settled in to eat popcorn and witness a new era beginning.
My boys were intrigued, punctuated by fits of “how long is this supposed to last anyway?
They thought it was cool, but you know for them, for young minds who don’t understand really what this all means… for boys who can believe as solidly in the possibility of time travel as they can in the fact that if they jump they will land, for them it was not so extraordinary. A man, not so much older than Mama and Daddy… a man with little kids of his own, took a job, promised to do his best and gave a speech that they deemed too long.
They wondered what it would be like to live in the White House like the Obama girls. (Could you order up ice cream anytime you wanted? Would the staff have to ask your parents if it was okay first, or would they just bring it to you?)
They wondered what it would be like to ride that helicopter that Mr. Bush got to ride. They wondered if he was sad to leave the White House, or if he was happy to be “done with working.”
As I held them though, and watched, I thought that one of these days, they will come across these pictures. They will be men then, men who will then know about oppression and war and the worries that grown ups carry about finances and healthcare. When they see with those grown up eyes, they will be proud that they were there to see history unfold.
As for me, I got a little misty eyed when I watched my oldest finally put his letter that begins “Dear Mr. President” into the mail box.
He wrote it on election day and has been saving it until he was sure it would get to its intended audience.
The neat thing is, I wrote a similar letter, although a far more long winded one, when I was pregnant with him. That was before – before 9/11, before Iraq, before this financial mess, but the thought was the same. It boiled down to, “we hope you will be the man that we need you to be.”
Now, that little baby, the one on whose behalf I wrote that letter, the boy I had not yet met but wanted so desperately to protect, has grown enough, learned enough, to have his own ideas, to speak his own mind. And that gives me hope – hope that as wonderful as today is, there are stories to come and life to come and leaders to come that we cannot yet even imagine.
On a day like today, even a grown up can see that anything is possible.