You would think that I would've written something about the momentous occasion of Tuesday, November 4th, 2008. Because my favored candidate won and there were tears and celebration such as I've never seen in my lifetime and may never see again.
You would think that I'd be telling you how proud I am of our country and how fantastic it is to see some of our history of bigotry fall by the wayside as we elected a man who offered hope and change. You'd think I would have woken up on November 5th, barely able to believe our good fortune. You'd think.
But the truth is, on November 4th, I took Smunch to speech therapy in a town not-so-far away, but far enough during rush hour. He's done at 5:30. I'd left Mam with her Sarah, so at least I was alone to sit out in the mommymobile and listen to the election returns come in. As Smunch went in, he said "It's eight to three. Does that mean McCain is winning?" Well, yes, but it's not really about who's winning at this moment.
I listened to the returns. It was cold. The heater was on and as it got dark, I didn't notice that the headlights also came on. I know what you're thinking and NO, the engine wasn't on. Because I'm a moron. That's why. The battery died about 5:15. And I ran around in the dark trying to find someone who could help me jump start my van...like an idiot. I finally found a man in the park with his son who was kind enough to help me out. (Thanks a hundred bazillion million, kind stranger!)
My parents were coming over for a fine dinner of take-n-bake pizza and salad while we finished up the election. We got home just 15 minutes later than usual. Not bad. Considering. But I was frazzled and in the moment between turning off the engine and hence the radio and walking through the door (directly into the room with the TV), I missed the announcers calling Ohio for Obama...the one call that was probably most indicative of the nail in the coffin of the McCain campaign.
We enjoyed the rest of our evening. I went out and bought a celebratory berry pie at Andronico's. It was outrageously expensive, but it was a momentous occasion, after all. McCain made his very eloquent concession speech. (Reminding me that he really was an excellent candidate who somehow lost the way in his campaign.) Mam went to bed. Smunch begged to stay up and hear Obama's speech.
Really? After all this time, when you whined and stomped around every time I wanted to watch a debate or a speech? I'm sure there was a large element of procrastination to his request, but who can deny their child the experience of seeing history made right then and there? I couldn't. He stayed up, then went to bed after the speech. My parents left. Daddy and I hung out happily on the sofa for a little while before going to bed.
But sleep? It wasn't in the cards. By 11:30, Mam was awake, crying. I wasn't sure what was wrong, but I got in bed with her and snuggled down. I could hear her stomach roiling. Not a good sign. Moments later, the bed was covered in vomit...just the beginning of a very, very long night. The puking didn't stop until almost 11 o'clock the next night. Wednesday was horrible.
It was easy to forget about the momentous election. And there's so little pride to be had when you've had no sleep and you're holding back your 4-year-old's hair for the 100th time in 24 hours. I'd let Daddy off the hook because I figured she got this virus from me and he didn't need to get it. But by Wednesday night, I was in desperate need of help...and sleep. That night was a little better...not so much puking, but lots of writhing and tummy clutching.
Sadly, Thursday night was more of the same. And Friday began with more vomiting, so off to the doctor we went. She sent us home with some anti-nausea medication that instantly let Mam sleep...for hours. No more puking as of Sunday and she slept through the night and woke up happy both yesterday and today, but she's still whining and crying about her tummy by early afternoon. Now, she's sleeping again. She hasn't taken an afternoon nap in years. This feels bad.
Fortunately, with all this time stuck at home, I've been able to read a lot about the election and found several articles I really loved. Here are just a few:
New York Times Op-Ed columnist Gail Collins on Obama's win.
Chicago Sun-Times film critic, Roger Ebert's blog post about his historical perspective on the election night scene at Grant Park.
The last couple of paragraphs of Heather B. Armstrong's Dooce.com blog post to her 4-year-old daughter, describing her experience of election night.
It's been encouraging to see the vigor with which Obama's transition team is diving into the work of the country before inauguration day, but the expectations are so high, I imagine many people will feel let down in the coming years. The morning of November 5th really did feel like a brand new day, despite my lack of sleep. The pride was there, but mostly it was the relief of knowing the last eight years are coming to an end.