Today I attended the 57th Presidential Inauguration. Sitting inches away from the Obamas, the Bidens and Beyonce, I was enraptured. Wrapped arm in arm with my 14-year-old daughter Eden, I watched the Inaugural Celebration on the big screen from the warm comforts of my living room couch.
In 1976 when I was my daughter’s age, I watched the election of Jimmy Carter (also in the crowd today) and even though my parents had voted for him, he was not my president. Today Eden watched the second inauguration of Barack Obama, our nation’s 44th president, who is truly her president. Before the election, she made calls to get out the vote, she debated issues on the president’s agenda, she went with me to meet the president and to top it off, she can relate to the First Daughters, Malia and Sacha – I did not have anything in common with Amy Carter when I was 14!
President Obama spoke today for Eden’s future. He spoke passionately of a world that she will grow up in that is exciting, diverse and full of possibility. I am not naive, I know there are difficulties and challenges, but the spirit and intent of his words made her future feel more humane and tangible. “This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together.”
Today’s Inauguration was full of pomp and circumstance – Michelle’s fabulous navy checked silk jacquard coat and her hot new hair style! I loved that beautiful Sacha and Malia dressed in stunning purple and magenta jewel jackets from J Crew sat in the cold air not texting or instagram-ing, but smiling warmly and greeting others. I wanted to reach out and thank Hillary Clinton for being a wonderful Secretary of State and female role model and yes, I wanted to get a closer up look at Beyonce’s stunning 80-carot emerald earrings.
When James Taylor took the stage to sing, America the Beautiful, Eden said, “Who is that?” Instantly, I felt ancient. Perhaps Sasha and Malia Obama also did not recognize this music icon? I rejuvenated as soon as Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce took the stage and belted the American pop favorites, ‘My Country ;Tis of Thee’ and ’The National Anthem.’
The Obama girls did show signs of being typical teenagers. Sasha yawned during her father’s address and did not cover her mouth; my kids also yawn when I speak and do not cover their mouths. Malia bobbed her head during the invocation; it it could have been my own children giving a prayer a bit of her own ‘teen style’.
I loved Richard Bianco, the first young hispanic, gay inaugural poet. The words in his poem ‘One Today’ tugged at me. Eden less impressed by his words, still sat witness to this remarkable historical moment simply by the committee’s invitation to this poet to take an integral role in this ceremony.
A few hours later, the Obama Family at the Inagural Parade goofed around with each other. This First Family felt normal. Both girls holding their iPhones close and the president on his blackberry checking messages. Who the heck was he getting e-mails from? Mitt Romney? The First Daughters took Selfies with their parents. Two teenagers not embarrassed by their parents? Impressive! I can count on one hand, the number of Selfies my teenagers have taken on their iPhones with me and their father!
I am not sure when I will feel this excitement for another president or if my children in their life times will experience an election and administration that symbolizing inclusion and optimism? Thus I decided to take one more look at this awesome day and simply appreciate my wonderful view.