On Tuesday, I gorged the DVR with news coverage of the inauguration of President Obama (say that again with me, won't you?) so the boys and I could watch it together that evening. I kind of figured they'd toss a fit when they didn't get to watch Hannah Montana, but to my delight, they were quite interested in the day's events.
When I was talking to my oldest son about what transpired today, I asked him what his thoughts were while he watched the swearing in ceremony with his sixth grade classmates. His response made it clear that, in his own way, he gets the magnitude of the day, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't feel the way a lot of adults feel - that regardless of where we sit politically, today was a historic day (and Wednesday's a bigger one for the new President, who would probably be all, "Oh, hey, sorry your little three-hour bookstore shift can be a drag some days. I'll see if I can do something about that, but first I have to work on fixing our economy. Oh, yeah, and the war thing. Big doins' ahead. You know what? I haven't even slept yet, so yeah, feelin' good you got a job now?"
Then I think he might smile at me and shake my hand, maybe reach in for a hug. Obama seems like a huggable dude.
For my sons and their classmates, the significance of who we democratically elected as our 44th President is no big deal. His race is no big deal because they've never really experienced a time when race was. For my oldest son, the most impressive thing about Inauguration Day was the massive sea of people, of all types and from all places, who gathered for hours to watch this brief moment in our nation's history, and how kind people were to their neighbors.
"All those people?" he said. "That was cool.*"
I could say a lot of words. I already have. There has already been countless, and far better, words shared today. I'll definitely go with 'cool.' He meant the scene, but it's fitting for the entire day. I'm delighted I got to share a part of it with my sons - the one who dreams of being a professional basketball player and the other who could easily be an award-winning actor.
* He went on to say it was cool that the throng of people (Popular Science's satellite views of the National Mall. Click the link. Zoom in on the photos. They're crazy cool!) in attendance today stretched from the Capitol Building steps "all the way to the big, tall pointy thing out there." I immediately logged onto his school's grading pages and breathed a sigh of relief to see he's getting an A in social studies, and surely he knows that big, tall pointy thing is the Washington Monument. If he does become President one day, I shudder to think that, when I visit him, he'll suggest I kill time between his meetings by going to look at that "big, giant old dude sitting in the Lazy-Boy."