Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Portrait of These Days

I was just overwhelmed and a little bit drunk last night and I stared at my post editor with tears streaming down my face, McCain's concession speech on the telly and the Grant Park ecstasy on my other monitor. The only communication I could eek out of my spinning, confetti-covered mind was more punctuation!!!!!!!!! and SCREAMINGLY CAPITALIZED letters than coherent thought, and was confined to Twitter and a wonderful chat with Laura, who was able to reflect in the moment. But here is a mosaic of moments:

I walk through the grocery store with my husband and my daughter. We feel like a solid unit and I'm very content. We turn the cart backward so she can "drive" and she laughs like tinkling bells. We pick up a $3.33 bottle of wine and pizza ingredients. I imagine toasting a victory, then I grab that thought and condense it into a fixed vision of Obama being sworn in, and I ball that hope up and send it out of me in positive, loving prayer-intent.

I'm tensed like I have to face a test in the morning, so excited and worried and tense.

I pick up the baby from the grandies and they say "Tell mama you voted today!" Bird says "Mama, I vote." Papaw prompts her, "Who'd we vote for?" My child says "KaCain." I smile sweetly, roll my eyes, and ask her who mommy likes. She answers, "Babomma!" I ask her for a fist bump and she obliges and the exchange feels relaxed and festive. Competitive, but like a football game. After I leave the passion of the contest is there again, but I'm happy it wasn't intense or weird at the in-laws.
I lay my girl down for bed; she wants to "play baby." I cradle her, snuggle her up and hold her sippy cup like a bottle. She asks for a song, and that's retro- she never asks for that lately. I ask her what song, and she says "Ding Dong," so I sing her Frère Jacques. She sings along: "Zokka Zokka Teena Teena Ding Dong Ding Dong." I think how recently it was still nursing and songs instead of stories and sippies, how her revisiting the old routine is because of weaning, how bittersweet it is.

I visit my online worlds, then snuggle with my husband in bed, still marveling that we are wishing for the same result tonight, that we are on the same team. Maybe it means more to me than it should... but it is a symbol. We feel more married than the couple sparring and digging in 2004...

My gods, that girl: Hair waist-length in a messy topknot. W/slashed-through sticker peels at the edges on an old army shirt. Clay and ink stains on jeans. She votes for Kerry, gets high on codeine so she can bend over her sculptures and sit at lectures all day. She has recently said "fuckit" and fails Chemistry. (She'll ace Bio in '05, four months before she'll conceive her daughter.) She'll buy the wedding dress in a month or so, anticipating the September wedding.

Husband rolls over, turns down the volume. I pour a third glass of Merlot- not at all bad for three bucks, seriously. Label looks fancy... musta been overstocked. I fiddle with laundry, match baby socks. Bu calls down: "CNN called it." I yell up ""WHAT?!" then, "Oh NBC too! Holy shit!" and I'm crying. I sit down at the computer and watch the Election stream on Twitter, message Laura.

I tell her I'm scared to celebrate; I'll always remember working late at the clinic in 2000, going to bed confident Al Gore had it, then waking up to George W. Bush and dragging into the women's center filled with worried, disappointed warrior women. (In the next eight years I saw their jobs get more and more complicated- they can no longer give out free birth control pills after abortions. How many women come back in a day or a week to get them?) Laura tells me, "No. He is winning by a lot. We have this."

It's a quiet, emotional party online with little tears, a frisson every few minutes. Waves of it sinking in, solidifying. Then Obama takes the stage on my screen, and I sob and laugh. I feel so proud, and I'm stunned. We chat about worrying for him, but maintain this glow and excitement. I sign off after his speech, try to temper my energy so I can rest.

I climb into bed with the warm little baby-girl-child. I like her world better now, and every moment seems poignant and significant. The Meaning of all this, the symbol of it, the realities of this decision are like pond ripples when I think about the world watching us choose this new direction.

Waking, I'm giddy. I make goofy tweets about the Return of the King (which also makes me cry.) Bu and I joke through the shower doors. "Did you see it turned around? McCain really won." "Yeah, I saw... I'm packed, ready to go to Canada." "That's really what this road trip's about, right?" "Oh yeah- See ya!"

I deal with Medicaid, only not, but I still have a fountain of good news on the radio; I'm good. More tears under my awesome dollar store sunglasses. I talk to the Souster, we plan the road trip that we have willed into existence, share dizzy silly happy thoughts. She groans at my LOTR tweets, and we plan our sound track.

For the moment, good news buoys me. Travel and change pull me out of my worries and it all feels just easy.  I'm unknotted, uncynical, unbound. There's a sweet, adorable feeling of connectedness knowing how many other people are sharing my simple happiness this morning. I don't feel like a muted voice screaming beneath a  din of ignorant rhetoric. I feel like reason prevailed. Feels freaking good.


  1. Our children will now grow up in a world in which no one wonders if a black man can ever be president of the United States. Life is good.

  2. Tis an AWESOME day.

  3. I just read the quote: "Parks sat so King could walk; King walked so Obama could run; Obama runs so our children can fly."

    I share your feeling of utter contentment. I choose to ignore how our state as a whole voted.