All my kids could think about this morning as I headed out the door for work was of course, the snow. They ran in and out of my room asking me to help them wriggle into waterproof snow pants, tie their little boots and wrap woolly scarves around their tiny necks. Living in North Carolina is a blessing if you love a mild climate, but a curse to children who wish winter after winter for white fluffy snow beneath their unused sleds. My oldest daughter has rarely seen snow; my smallest has never seen snow that she can remember.
As I left, I gave them stern warnings about the dangers of the Red Flyer sled as I recalled my friend, Suzy, hitting a tree as a child and puncturing one of her vital organs. And then I reminded them of the importance of the day-it was not about snow, but about the presidential inauguration. I made my husband promise to bring the girls in from sledding long enough to watch the historical event on television. I knew in advance this might be an unpopular decision, but like eating your green beans, sometimes parents know what is good for children and need to lay down the law.
The truth is our children won't remember a time before it was possible for a black man to be the President of the United States. But hopefully someday they will realize that January 20, 2009, was a significant day in American history, a day people will ask-where were you when Barack Obama became president? They will be able to say they were home and watched the inauguration on television just like adults who now remember seeing astronauts walking on the moon for the first time.
I called my house just before Obama took the oath of office and asked my daughter if she was watching the festivities on television and what she thought of the whole thing. She replied, "Kind of boring." I'm sure she was only thinking about how quickly she could get back outside on that Red Flyer sled and careen down the hill on the elusive snow she might not see again for several winters. For a long time to come she will most likely remember January 20, 2009, as "the day it snowed." But maybe, just maybe, when she grows up she will remember it as the day America proved anyone can now dream about being President of the United States.