Mouse was up first, as per usual, frantically running out of her room, across our size 2 hallway, and over to my wife’s side of the bed to check the time. More of the same. It seems a strange nervous tick for a single digit aged child but she’s constantly concerned about being late for school. It was 5:53 AM. We had time. We had plenty of time. Maybe she should have a clock in her own room. I’ll write that down somewhere.
Bear followed a few beats later, her wide smile obscured by the darkness of early morning but joy radiated from her outstretched arms making her presence known. She’s a quieter kid in the morning and throughout the day. More of the same. She was in our room to urge mom to wake up so that we all could get to the polling place together before school and work. This was a special day and we all knew it.
Gloves and jackets were grabbed, hot tea made, and into a warmed-up car we piled for the short drive. We arrived just as the doors opened, got in the line that snaked out the door, around the kid’s play structure and reached the end of the large square parking lot. We were voters number 190 and 192 by the time we entered at 8:05 AM.
I’m generally a big fan of the straight ticket oval, for efficiency purposes, but this year, with my oldest girl standing beside me, we held the pen together to fill in those ovals individually with black ink so that we could specifically vote for her. So we could look at that darkened mark next to a woman’s name. For president. Of the United States of America.
I cried and got choked trying to say out loud to my oldest kid what she already knew, that we were voting for the first female president of the United States, but I wanted to say it again to her right there, having actually done it. I squeezed her hand and pulled her in close to me as we walked out to the parking lot, crunching the frosty grass along the way and looking at the breath we could see heading up toward the brilliant blue sky. I kissed her head and then lifted our joined arms up like a champion. We voted for the first woman president. We did that together.
The Mrs and I dropped the girls off at school, late of course (sorry, Mouse) but giddy to have participated in the process, to have been a part of history, to have made the future female.
Once at home, my remarkable, pantsuited partner in crime gathered her things for work while I do what I always do, put her lunch together in the kitchen. On this Tuesday, she got a little homemade egg salad, kettle cooked chips, a drinkable yogurt, some Fig Newtons, a filled up water bottle, and a fresh cup of English Breakfast for the ride. More of the same.
Today, we voted for something very different, a woman, but really, we voted for more of the same; more decency, more kindness, more equality, more intelligence, more thoughtfulness, more grace under pressure, more progress.