I’ve never been to a presidential inauguration. I’ve been to political conventions, the Oscars, the Olympics, the Super Bowl. And truthfully, you see those events far better watching at home.
On the other hand, I’ve been incredibly lucky to take part in what were experiences of a lifetime, that I’ll never forget. And that’s the way I feel about going to Washington next week.
It’s always exciting to see a president in person. It’s even kind of a family tradition. When I was 12, my father took me to see John Kennedy. When Alli was 12 and I had breast cancer, I took her to meet Bill Clinton. So in a way this is a chance to complete the cycle with Daniel.
Sharing a lifetime experience with one of my children takes an opportunity over the line from intriguing to irresistible. This is history in the making. I can’t pass up the chance to go. But that’s not the only thing that motivates me.
There is something else I’ve always tried to communicate to my children–other than history, or the experience itself. What I want them to absorb is the attitude. The message is not just having an experience; the message is to embrace all the experiences that make life such an incredibly rich gift.
So I feel privileged to be part of this inauguration experience. Most likely we’ll be cramped and cold. Most likely we won’t get anywhere near Obama himself. We’ll be surrounded by thousands of people on the lawn of the Capitol— along with our new president, all breathing in the same cold air. What will be in the air is change. And hope.
When I saw John Kennedy, I got his autograph. When Alli saw Bill Clinton, she shook his hand and got her picture taken with him. When Daniel sees Obama next Tuesday, he won’t get a personal souvenir. But I know he’ll get the magic.