Why I Cared About Obama’s Inaugaration

28 01 2009

Today my daughter Ellie drove me absolutely crazy. Not in a ‘I crazy love her’ way, not nervous break down crazy – but close sometimes. From the moment Ellie woke up to the moments we prayed and said goodnight she seemed to be yelling at me, frustrated with my every move, and intentionally not listening or following directions. I think she received five sitting down time outs today and we most often get through the days with none. So all frustrations of living with my four year old today I have to gloat about how she inspired me a week ago. Even earlier than that.

You see, I don’t care much about politics. Doug is impressed if I happen to know the key news headlines in a day. I depend on him to let me know what is important in the world of politics and news. When I vote, he gives me the ins and outs of all sides of an issue or candidate. I won’t tell you the details of the year I forgot to stop by the polling place and even to mail my ballot because it was a crazy busy day at work (it was NOT the 2008 election).Doug still won’t let me live that one down. This last election I stayed on top of the information though and it was due to the inspiration of my four year old wonder and a desire to not let her down.

In preschool, she attends a montessori child care, Ellie’s teachers informed her of each of the main presidential candidates and their campaign partners. In the classroom they had an 8.5″ x 11″ photo of each person, including the current (at the time) President Bush and VP Dick Cheney. Ellie knew all of their names and continually identified them when she saw their faces on the tv news or the newspapers and magazines on our tables. She even asked questions when she heard the campaign ads on the radio in the car. This kid was quite literally more informed than I was. I had to learn with and for her. At school they held a mock election and Sarah Palin won because ‘all the girls voted for her, but some boys voted for Obama and some boys voted for McCain”.

In the days before the election day Doug and I took turns showing her our ballots and how we voted for people (in Sno county we are all mail-in ballots). Doug planned to take her to drop off his ballot in the a.m., he ran out of time before work and she woke up disappointed. So I made a special effort to wait until the evening so we could take my ballot in. My drop off place was a local grocery store. We walked in, I let her put the envelope in the box and a lady gave Ellie, Katie, and I “I Voted” sticker. We preceded to pick up a few items for dinner. As we were walking down the aisles Ellie asked me “when are we going to vote, Mommy?”. I explained that we already did – when we dropped off the envelope and got the stickers. She denied ever doing that and started crying saying loudly “Mommy, I want to vote!” over and over. We were getting some good giggles from the other customers within earshot.

We told her, the next morning, the results of the election and she said “Oh man, I wanted Sarah Palin to win because she’s a girl, but that’s OK Barak Obama can be President.”

Come a few days before January 20th, ’09 Inaugaration Day for a new president – Mr. Barak Obama. Ellie was overjoyed and superexcited that we would have a new president – not for the same reason that many Americans were but because she is four years old and it is the first Election that she has been alive. On Monday she told me that she had to be at school on Tuesday morning because the whole class was going to take a field trip down to the school’s TV in the office because they were going to watch the parade and that she was going to wear her Christmas dress because it was a special, special day. Inaugaration day arrived and Ellie was awake at freaking 5:00 a.m. ready to watch Barak Obama become our next president. 5 AM! I told her there was still three hours and go back to bed. She just threw on her Christmas dress and bounced on my bed demanding breakfast and the tv to be turned on so she could watch the inaugaration. LoL!

That child watched people walk in , prayed the prayer, listened to the music, witnessed the oaths, and then sat through the entire speech (through which I was running around the house getting ready to get us out of the house). I was seriously amazed.We listend to the poem and benediction on the way to school. They never did watch the parade – she didn’t seem to disappointed about that. She did tell everyone she was wearing a dress because it was a special day to be pretty. Apparently she also ran all over the playground yelling – OBAMA IS PRESIDENT! over and over and over again.

Seriously Doug and I do not know where she got all this inspiration. It cracks us up to think about it. But I’m happy that my little girl took interest in this special day and made it all the more inspiring (or at least called it to our attention) for the rest of us. Below is a picture I took of her to help her remember the day and make me smile when it has been a tough day living togher. I love my little Ellie:

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One response

28 01 2009
Mamma Waldher

I love it!!! Ellie, please send your inspiration and fervent devotion this way, Lothar could use some!!! Leena, I am delighted to hear of Ellie’s interest!!! And I am glad to read that you encouraged and followed through on explaining to her the meaning behind elections ,etc… you did a great job teaching her!! Go Leena !!!! Does Elli’es montessori continue through kindergarten, etc… We are looking at putting Lothar in Catholic school for preschool and kindergarten. And how is life for you? How is work? I am busy like you now, working and balancing home. Think of you often and we must get together some time!!!


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