20 January 2009

And a new day will dawn

The daughter came down with some evil virus over the weekend, and has been feverish and talking nonsense (ice suddenly was classified as food and she was having none of it, even if I was just trying to bring her fever down) and suffering from a dreadful sore throat and generally keeping me up all night.

So, the feed hasn't been moved yet.

The upside of her illness, though, was that she was tucked up on the couch next to me this morning to watch the inauguration.

The son, who watched the speeches later in the day, was fittingly off working on a service project, loading up food boxes for a local charity.

The daughter and I looked at how cold it appeared to be in my home town, and I pointed out landmarks in the distance. When the First Daughters Elect entered the seating area, a commentator made note that "all 7-year-old girls like pink. Hahaha."

The daughter, who has never cared for pink, glowered.

It is interesting to her, I think, that the new president is the same age as her father; that the new first lady is of similar age to her mother (not to mention the same height), and that the Obamas' eldest daughter is near her own age. This is the first presidential election that's really had meaning for her, and so, she seems quite taken with the fact that the new family in the White House is very like her own.

We listened with care to those who spoke today. We were annoyed by certain people, and pleased by others. As all the presidents, past, present and future, greeted one another, the daughter noted how politely and civilly they behaved toward one another. We listened to Obama, and we talked about what we heard. Neither the son nor the daughter missed the call to service and the call for personal responsibility in today's speech. They hear a lot about that at home.

As I said before, I am cautiously hopeful. The appointments that went to Clinton and Panetta did not make me happy. At all. A lot of things are not making me happy.

Last night, as I sat by the daughter's side, putting cool cloths on her hot little face, I worried over her illness and I worried about what the future brings for her and for us all. I was tired, so even more anxious than usual, and when I was back, half asleep, at her bedside at 3 am, trying to get more acetaminophen down her, I thought about the days and weeks ahead.

I never discourage the kids from waking me in the night when they are ill, because there is nothing more awful than feeling miserable and alone in the dark. I will take the burden of being miserable and alone in the dark because they shouldn't have to. Sitting there, as the daughter tossed and sighed, I knew that things would look better in the morning. As the old saw goes, it's always darkest before the light. I tried to believe it.

I slept a little before it was time to take the son to school, and startled awake, touched the daughter's face to find she was cooler, and later, willing to eat some cereal. Then together, we watched and listened.

Cautious, but hopeful. I like what I hear, but I don't want words, I want deeds. I need those words to become action. Talk is cheap; talk is easy. I've spent my own life making hard decisions, making tough choices, and forcing myself to back up my own words, making sure that I live my convictions and raise my children by them.

Right now, I'm tired. The daughter is still feverish, but resting more easily. I need some rest, too.

Tomorrow is another day.

Go listen to some music: "Stairway to Heaven" from the album Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin.

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