If I’m being honest, yesterday caught me off guard. I’ve witnessed inaugurations before, in fact I grew up watching them with my parents overseas and grandparents here in the states. As an adult, I remember distinctly watching the first inauguration of President Obama in 08′, sitting in my own living room huddled around a fireplace taking in the enormity of the moment. Then, I knew I was witnessing something special. Four years later, with a two year old and a six month old crawling around, we did it again. This time, it was familiar, but still significant, because we knew it would be his last.
So, when it came time for President Biden and Vice President Harris to take their oaths, I knew what to expect, except I didn’t expect it to be such an emotional affair. But there I was, with my two oldest daughters watching Vice President Kamala Harris, our first woman, first black woman and person of Asian decent, first woman of color… take her oath. Suddenly I was struck by what the moment meant. I hugged the girls closer to me as they asked questions. Questions like…
Riley: Does the vice president live with the President in the White House?
Me: No, boo. They have their own residence.
Riley: So, do they have a black house?
Or rewatching the show stopping poem recital by our nation’s youngest Inaugural Poet Laurette Amanda Gorman. We watched it several times and then we watched other clips of her story. Riley mentioned that she’d like to write more poetry. Olivia loved her hair. Both of them thought it was cool that they also got to discuss the historical significance of the inauguration in virtual class yesterday and they watched Amanda’s performance with their peers again as well.
I was proud of so many things yesterday, proud and grateful. Grateful that I got to see moments like this happen: the torch being passed from one change-maker to another.
Proud that my daughters got to see themselves represented in so much of what’s good about our country and what makes us who we are. Grateful that I’m here for this moment. Afterwards I texted my grandmother who turns 82 years old this week (texted because of course that’s what hip 82 year old grandmas do these days!). Did she ever think she’d live to see a day like this? I wondered.
There are moments that when they happen, you’re just glad you were present to experience them. Yesterday gifted us one of those moments. And I’m glad I had the chance to experience it with my girls. Now, what happens next is up to us.