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Watching History - And Our Future - Being Made

As I write this, the nation’s in
final preparation for the inauguration, and I have to confess,
I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. This is history in a
way we’ve never seen before, and I wish I could get the girls
to understand the momentousness of the occasion.

There are certain points in our history that I remember with
complete clarity: where I was when the space shuttle Challenger
exploded (in school, watching all the teachers starting to weep);
when the tanks rolled through Tienamen Square (in Kentucky doing a
show – and staring with tears rolling down my face at the
lone protestor standing in front of the tank); when the Twin Towers
were hit (New York, and that’s a whole separate

But there are also momentous events I
remember for the good – a point I recognized even while in it
as a seminal event in our nation’s, or even our world’s
history. The fall of the Berlin wall springs to mind; I remember
watching the people swarming over the wall and thinking, I will be
telling my grandchildren about this.

And as the clock counts down for the inauguration, I think, I will
be telling my grandchildren about this.

I remember learning that people were shocked when JFK was elected;
he was the first Catholic president, the first non-protestant, in
our nation’s history. And I remember thinking, Are you
kidding me? There’d only been protestant presidents before
this? What was the big deal? And I am sure my grandchildren –
and perhaps even my children – will, upon hearing that Obama
was our nation’s first African-American president will be
thinking the same thing.

I wish my girls were old enough to appreciate what’s going
on, to drink in history as it’s happening. This peaceful
shift of power is awesome enough – no guns, no tanks, no
executions or coups – and I’m struggling to find the
words to explain it to Maddie. But add in this historical first,
and I know I’ll remember the day for the rest of my life.

On the one hand, I’m sad that the girls aren’t old
enough to “get” it, to remember the day. On the other
hand, I know they’ll grow up in a world changed by that one
day, and I’m thrilled such things will be the way of life
rather than the exception.

Mommyhood colors the way I see everything, and this inauguration is
no exception. I see my children staring intently at the television,
soaking in what they can, and I know I’m looking at the

In more ways than one.


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