We huddled around my laptop, with it's stinkin' stop-go almost live coverage of yesterday's amazing events, and my eyes kept ping-ponging between my children and my President. And then I would cry and laugh and do a little dance that was no where near as graceful as the Obamas' fancy footwork at the Neighborhood Ball.
Just before bed, the boys and I sat down to write letters of congratulations to the 44th President of the United States of America.
"I am a little worried about him," Noah said as we sat along the coffee table. "He didn't smile much today."
"It is a big responsibility. He has a whole lot of work that he has to do now. I think we saw the weight of that today," I responded.
It was one of those moments when I realized that Noah is growing up. He did not ask "what work?" He did not look perplexed at the notion of it being a job that comes with heavy burdens.
There was an understanding in his silence, a sense of that strange emotion that happens when hope and fear collide.
He took out his pencil and wrote a simple, matter of fact letter. It included a line of congratulations. A vote of confidence. A laundry list of what he would like to see accomplished (1. end war 2. help more people who really need it 3. build better schools-- and by that I don't mean actual buildings). Thank you, my son added, for being who you are.
Max, at four, was to the point in his scribble/draw/dictation:
"I am glad you won (*in the spirit of the day, mom edited out the 'and beat that old McCain...,' and also the 'did you ever see the Palin rap from that late night tv show?). I hope someday we can ride the subway together, because it is the most funest thing to do in Washington, DC. Trust me. I did it before. Love, Max"
And as I continued to cry and laugh and get up to dance, I wrote this:
Dear President Obama,
Today, I sat with my children and listened to you as you accepted your position as leader of our nation. Outside, the blue sky and white snow seemed to reflect, one off the other, so that our yard was filled with light. Inside, my three young ones gathered around my lap, each smiling, and cheering and watching with unmistakable trust and joy as they listened to your words of hope, your call to action, your celebration of living a new dawn, a new day.
Tonight, I can only say thank you. Thank you, Mr. President, for giving us back our country, and even more than that, thank you for expecting more from all of us. I am a mother, and so to know that the leader of our country is a man who values the emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental needs of all the world’s children; it fills me with gratitude and a renewed sense of responsibility. Thank you, Mr. President, for being someone that will continue to inspire and engage my children as they grow and learn about service, ethics, and following dreams.
All the best to you,
A new day.
A new day.