Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mother knew best about many things

My son Ben bought the mug at right on the Internet in 2004.

Years before everyone had a cell phone, my mother told me I should get a new thing called a car phone because I drove so much and I could call for help if needed. I rolled my eyes and said, “Who needs a phone in a car?” Later I gave in and got the phone, which was almost as big as a shoe box. The rest is history.

Years before everyone had suitcases with wheels, my mother said I should stop dragging my big suitcase around and get one with wheels. I rolled my eyes and told her that was silly. Eventually I gave in, and now, of course, most people use suitcases with wheels.

My mother also told me, when the 2004 Democratic convention came around, that I should watch the speech given by a young senate candidate named Barack Obama. I told her most of those speeches were boring, and that I didn’t even know who this Barack Obama was.

“He’s going to be president some day,” she said.

Last night, when the early returns still showed that no red states had flipped to blue, I anxiously called Ben in New Jersey. Ben, who is something of a presidential historian, told me to calm down. This was a kid whose favorite bedtime books included a history of the presidents. As a kindergartener, he could recite the presidents in order, and my mother loved to show his talent off to her friends.

When Ohio went for Obama last night, the phone rang, and it was Ben saying, “I told you.”

As it looked better and better, Katie sat on the edge of the couch. At 16, she doesn’t remember much about 2000, but she felt the sting of 2004. When Obama won, she danced around the room.

When I talked to Ben again, I said that I think his grandmother, who died two years ago this month, is happy about it in heaven. (I’m sure that my father, who died in 2002, is happy too.)

Ben said that his grandma had probably found Obama’s grandma to congratulate her.

It was an unbelievable night.

Mother really did know best.


Carl said...

Yes, she surely did. Rejoice!

Howard said...

What a delightful post. We, north of the 49th parallel, applaud America's choice. It's not just good to have hope. It's a necessity. Your Mom seemed clear on that concept.

Ben said...

The best part is that when your grandchildren get one of those books, Obama will be on the cover instead of Poppy Bush, who is/was a good guy (and a slick-fielding first baseman) but doesn't have that inspirational quality.

PJ said...

Amazing that we both wrote about our very wise mothers. I'm just catching up on things after a long day at the clinic yesterday.

Susan C said...

It must be gratifying to see your mother's ability to pick a winner in Ben. If I was making mugs, they probably would have said 2012, but I'm glad I was wrong.

Margaret said...

I wish my mother had lived to see Obama elected, too. She would have been so thrilled. As the returns came in election night, I wept tears of joy for both of us. And every time I listen to the radio I weep some more!

Diane said...

It's hard to get my mind around what happened this week. It feels like the whirlwind of emotions we all had on 9/12/01, except of course the opposite. The world has fundementally changed forever, for our future, but mostly for young people. This generation may ultimately be saved from global warming and a rotting economy (among many other ills), but most importantly who can see the endless possibilities of hope and may grow up in a world that looks less at someone's skin color and more at their character, judgment, and capabilities.

Yes, Mom and Dad would have been thrilled with the outcome. Interestingly, however, they might have been equally as pleased with how all 5 of their grandchildren were glued to the process. Even Sam who is 14 stayed up following the returns on a computer and TV, and now is positing about who might be in the cabinet, and of course for Lily and Joe, they got to vote for the first time in their lives for this transformational leader.

Let's hope that the excitment that engaged so many young people is translated into increased activism in building community and healing the world going forward.

margie said...

I hope they found my grandmother to celebrate with too.

Anonymous said...

I love that she knew he was presidential material back then. What an insightful and smart lady. I feel sad I never got to meet her. Your stories of her are always amazing...
Happy Obama (sniff)