Monday, January 26, 2009

Not for the Faint of Heart

Hello friends and family. As you all know, Joe and I attended the inauguration of our new president, Barack Obama last week. Through Facebook and text messaging we tried to include you in our experience, carry you with us, let you know where we were, if we were in and what we could see. Spotty cell phone and blackberry service and frozen digits prevented us from reaching all of you, so I thought I'd capture our recollections through a blog.

As I started to write, I realized that I was jotting this down as much for me and my family as it was to tell all the amazing things that we saw to those who couldn't be there. In the future, I think I'll be glad for it. So, it's long and it's not finished yet and from the looks of this blog layout, it doesn't look like I'll be able to enter it chronologically. I thought I'd better start posting some of my thoughts before the event started to fade from our collective conscious.

I titled it "Not for the Faint of Heart" for obvious reasons.

It was cold; true, we came from -20 below zero, and the first couple of days felt balmy. I even went to Bruegger's Bagels without my coat on, but after 6 hours of standing in virtually one place, moving forward at the speed of 2 feet per half an hour, the blood freezes in the lower extremites.

It was crowded; Joe and I can handle crowds. We've been to large public events, Lollapalooza, the State Fair, Grand Old Day. We've travelled to Europe where the europeans don't so much stand in line as they tend to move together en masse. I think the single file line was invented in the U.S. It's so civilized. But we were not prepared for what 2 million people looked and felt like. Before the event people warned of long lines and hours of waiting. Okay, not so much with the lines - it was more like the glut of humanity massing together, moving in swarms for the spot that could get them that much closer to the action. It was brutal.

The wait; I mentioned the hours of waiting. We were coming off a pretty intense holiday season and hadn't been away from our kids for a while. This was like a vacation for us. Come on, I was going have my husband's attention for hours on end without someone needing a diaper change, a refill on water, a "mama watch me", a request for the assembly of 10,000 little pieces of a game that would be played with for 4 minutes, and the demand for the explanation of why the baby cries in the car. We would not get bored. But the night before, some good friends suggested that we would never make it to the mall if we left Alexandria at 7:00 AM as planned. So, we awoke at 5:00 AM and headed off into the darkness to board our train at 5:45 AM. Later, when it was all over, we stepped off the yellow train line and checked our watches, it was 5:45 PM - a twelve hour adventure.

But to tell the truth, no one's hearts were faint that day. They were filled with hope, pride, excitement, and brimming with thousands of stories of what brought them there. Fuses were not short, smiles were in abundance, songs seem to burst from the crowds with little provoking, laughter, humor, and genuine huddle together-ness abound. Our hearts were full to capacity, waiting for the moment we could let them burst open as our country embraced the true words of our founding fathers and a dream was realized.

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