Where we were

            We were all buckled into the car by 8:30 yesterday morning, pulling out of the driveway to the sound of NPR’s coverage of the inauguration.  My plan was to listen on the drive to school and then hope there was a radio playing at the preschool.  If not, I was prepared to keep all the kids in the car to listen for as long as it took.  I didn’t have a concrete plan for how to keep a two-year-old, a four-year-old and an infant content listening to NPR right outside their preschool for a half an hour.  I figured I’d play that one by ear.

            Benjamin was delighted as the band struck up, as he had been informed there would be no music on this morning’s drive.  We sped along the 405, which was surprisingly empty for that time of day.  I got off at Sunset, stopping for a light behind several cars at the top of the ramp.  I began to cry as Biden was announced, so relieved was I that the Bush era was about to end.  When the light turned, I pulled forward.

            And that’s when I saw him.  Standing between the two lanes of traffic, holding his sign: “Hungry.”  He hasn’t been there for a few weeks, and so I have stopped bringing food for him.  I did have a pear in the car, and I wanted to give it to him.  He likes pears.  He used to have them growing in his yard when he was a child.  But, by the time I saw him, I was already pulling past him, unable to stop without causing an accident.

            And so, I pulled on past, listening to the sound of change on my radio.  We drove into the preschool parking lot at 8:50.  The director was just at the gate, and before I turned off the car, I asked her if there was a radio going inside.

            “We have a TV set up,” she replied.  I hustled Tweedledee, Tweedledum, and Tweedledette out of the car and into the lobby, where, for the next 15 minutes, parents, children, and teachers began to collect.  And that’s where I was at the historic moment – a boy on each knee and a baby strapped to my chest, crying on the floor on the preschool.  Right where I needed to be.

            Of course, one mother bitched about it.  She was unhappy that she had not been informed in advance that the inauguration would be playing.  “It’s for the parents, not the kids,” she snipped.  Maybe her kid had no idea what was going on, but Zach sure knew.  We’re one of those hippy-dippy houses where we talk about things going on in the world.  To counteract little Miss Self Involved, I thanked the director for giving me a chance to have this experience with my children.

            And out on the freeway ramp, there was a man who once grew up with a pear tree in his yard.

12 responses to “Where we were

  1. it was perfect. wherever we were yesterday, it felt like we were welcome.

  2. There is always one in every crowd. One unhappy person.

    My kids were thrilled to watch it with us last night. I am a big believer in my kids not being ignorant to what is happening in the world around them. Some people are though.

    Maybe today or tomorrow he will be there again…the man who had a pear tree. There is a guy who we fed and sometimes clothed for years. Mark. Sometimes he’d leave for awhile and I’d worry about him. But he always came back. I wonder what happened to him. He was sad when I told him we were leaving, but he understood too. He’d had a normal life until he lost his family. I just hope that someone else is helping him out.

  3. I came home to find my kids listening to the speech on the internet – they hadn’t been able to watch it in school (I KNOW!! We had mandatory state incompetency testing) but came home and immediately put it on. It was a beautiful moment to have my kids listening, making insightful and intelligent comments, and realizing that this is going to be Their President – their first president as adults, the president they will weigh up and choose to vote for or against in four years time. I’m so grateful for that.

  4. I cried like a baby during the inauguration. (Although in all honesty, I was so happy that Bush was out of the office that I might have cried tears of joy for Spongebob SquarePants.)

    When I lived in Pasadena, there was a guy who was always on the freeway ramp. I don’t get out that way much anymore, and I hope he’s doing ok.

  5. My kids got to watch at school, and I’m so glad they got to watch as it happened, instead of later on a replay.

    I hope there’s enough to change to reach everyone, I really do, especially the man who likes pears.

  6. Thank you for sharing that. I’ll always think of the man with the pear tree. My kids watched the inauguration in school…and we live in Canada!

  7. Someone always has to bitch. My son got to watch at school, too. I had to work, but I taped it and watched it last night. It was awesome, and seeing the Bushes getting on that helicopter made me beyond happy.

    Better times are on the way!

  8. That was beautiful. Thanks for bringing pears to that guy and helping the human race make a better impression to the casual observer. As, I am sure, did voting for Obama.

  9. I also teared up through the inauguration (although didn’t actually cry) but it was spoiled for me a bit by visiting a site earlier in the day where I had a few exchanges with a (fairly bitter-sounding) Republican who was trying to convince me that Obama was a trumped-up nobody. I couldn’t stop myself imagining the new Prez through his eyes. Is he all style and no substance (a bit like Dubya) I wondered? Of course not, was my answer. But then why were my sympathies with the justifiably-slammed Bush? Maybe it’s my contrary nature.

  10. my funny story.. my 4 yr old was at home with his grandfather watching and while da-da was explaining everything he started to cry because john mccain didn’t win. (he cried on election night also) It cracks me up because I had the two older as Obama fans. I think my husband is doing some condioning on our last child while I’m busy.

  11. Wonderful post. I took (and posted) a pic of my sons in front of the TV during the oath. Cheesy, I know. But maybe someday they’ll be glad I did. Or maybe not. I didn’t hurt.

    What a WONDERFUL day!!!!