If you were a fly on the wall in my house yesterday morning at around 10:45 am CST, you would have seen a family with 4 boys sitting on the couch, all together and quiet, watching history being made. Yes, I chose to keep my boys home to watch the inauguration. I suppose I should clarify that even if McCain/Palin won, I would have done the exact same thing. Either way, we were witnesses to history. More than anything, when they remember this day, I want them to remember that we were together.
We started to watch about an hour before the actual swearing in, but it gave us the opportunity to see former and current leaders of our country and talk about who they were. It was like a live American History lesson. Eleven and I did most of the talking, with Six, Five and Two playing in the background. For Eleven, it was seeing the real people that he has only read about in his Social Studies book. We watched Former Presidents Carter, Bush Sr., and Clinton make their way in to see Barack Obama take the oath of office that they did once upon a time. We talked about the Supreme Court justices and their role in the government, and the checks and balances system of the 3 branches of government - Executive, Legislative and Judicial. At one point, Eleven said, “Mom, we haven’t talked about all of this stuff in Social Studies yet.” Glad to know that my tax dollars are at work, heh. Then again, I LOVE American History, history of all kinds actually. If I didn’t have that little issue of not liking kids that aren’t mine, I would have made a great history teacher.
By the Grace of Bob, as Joe Biden was taking the Vice Presidental oath, all of the boys settled down and became silent, even Two. Once President Obama took the oath (side note: smooth moves there Justice Roberts. Next time, please bring along the oath on a piece of paper, you overachiever ), I quietly told my boys, that they would remember this moment for the rest of their lives. Much like when people remember where they were when they heard about 9/11 (I was in a CK’s Coffee Shop parking lot for the record) or when the Challenger Space Shuttle blew up (6th grade Reading class) or for my parents generation, when JFK was shot. It’s just something that you will never forget, a defining moment of a generation.
We live in an area of the country that is still to this day, very racially charged. When you live just south of Memphis and North of the Mississippi Delta, sadly, you can’t get away from it. Unfortunately, even if you don’t want it to be, its there.
Barack Obama said in his speech, “We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.” (emphasis is mine) I believe that this is so true, especially with my children’s generation. On Monday night, when I asked the boys WHY the inauguration was so historical, Eleven responded with, “Because we are swearing in the 44th president.” He didn’t even see the color of Barack Obama’s skin, just that he was going to be sworn in as the 44th president. THAT my friends was the message of Dr. King.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
My children are the generation that is making that dream come true my friends. They are the ones that are letting the seeds of old hatreds die. That gives me hope for the future. And I get to be apart of it. How awesome is that?