As a child, my exposure to politics was negligible at best. I recall getting a "Hey Mr. President" t-shirt iron-on from Weekly Reader during the Mondale/Carter election. And when Reagan won his first term, I asked my father who he voted for. He quickly told me that it was a private choice and wouldn't disclose said information. (I now know that my parents lean to the far [religious] right and I've ruined many a family dinner based on our differences).
I've tried to keep my children quite a bit more in the know of my political leanings. Martin or I have typically taken them with us to vote and we had family discussions when Kansas showed what an angry red state it is by passing the one man/one woman marriage amendment. And not surprisingly, they were aware and involved in this most recent presidential election, proudly wearing Obama buttons and excitedly pointing out neighbors with "good" yard signs.
When I realized inauguration day was on my work-free Tuesday, I started pondering with whom I would watch. I knew I would cry. . .it was a matter of weeping alone in my chilly basement or shedding tears in a more social setting. And then I remembered the whole school gathering in the cafeteria to watch Reagan being sworn in and I called the elementary school. I was hoping for more of a group gathering but each class was independent of the other and they all have fancy projection tvs. I was told by the school secretary that the first graders would be eating lunch in their room so they could view the historical event.
I packed a lunch and headed to school. The teacher was surprised to see me, but continued the group reading of some book about a boy trying to catch a crab. I was fidgety, knowing I was missing pre-oath coverage and eventually tuned my mp3 player to NPR, just as she dimmed the lights and turned on the tv.
I was impressed at how she pointed out landmarks and politicians to the students. Then as the justice who presented Biden's oath came on screen, she explained to the kids that they needed to stand because that's what you do when a judge enters a room. It was great to hear their excitement when the camera would pan over Obama. And then the moment I have waited for. . .and I wept. It was moving and beautiful and I'm thrilled this day has finally come. I celebrate that we have a remarkable communicator and man as our new President, but also relish the exit of his inept predecessor.