Dear Mrs. Obama,
This message to you has been near the top of my list for months: a most heartfelt thank you for all that, well…all that you are actually. I don’t claim to know you as more than a woman for whom I am fan and follower. Yet, I’m tempted to put in this quick note the same thing that I put in birthday cards to those who mean the most to me:
“Thank you for being born.”
That would be a bit intense though since despite my greatest efforts, we’ve not yet met.
Actually, here’s the truth: I started last fall by taking for granted that you and your family would continue to be the leaders protecting and leading my sons for another term. Like so many others, I watched the debates for the first time ever and during that process I cracked. Rage would not be an exaggeration. Even though it was your husband who was being personally and morally attacked – for some reason, I found myself feeling deeply offended as well. Thankfully I remembered a huge sign that my mother kept in her laundry room which said:
“Living Well is the Best Revenge.”
So, despite my best efforts to keep the home fires burning and volunteer for your family campaign in an official manner, I found myself seeking revenge “Kate Style”: I drove around the Quad Cities being an hour, or day, or a week too late for events but never allowed myself to feel a dollar too short. I prayed and retweet all that I found to be good. I wrote and deleted and lost my thoughts and eye glasses on what felt like an hourly basis…
Don’t get me wrong – I’m no hero. My campaign efforts were nothing compared to those of most of your volunteers and most of all, other than the retweetAthon that a friend pointed me toward, everything I did was in my head.
As a matter of fact, in an effort to support one of your speeches I got lost and ended up in a town called Lost Nation, Iowa. My family is so long and suffering.Thank God, I did find my way to hear you, just days before the election in Iowa City. Did you see me? I was the one who started crying like a sissy girl when you simply opened your mouth to say hello. My mother campaigned for you before you even knew you needed her. Sadly, she died several years ago.
Actually, the tears on my part were that of complete joy.
The joy was, in part, to be a few feet away from a woman who I admire deeply. More so, tears flowed because you said, word for word, what I was feeling.
After the harrowing experience of dodging winter weather, my completely mismanaged childcare back up plans and getting utterly lost on the road to a very easy to find destination…what could I do but laugh?
I was exhausted from worry and effort by the time you got up on stage and if I’d had to wait too many minutes longer I would have needed to bail yet another event to get home in time for after school pick up.
Shazaam. On came the Earth Wind and Fire music. Shoulders grooved. Water cups were passed. Secret service squeezed in, and you came out to say what I’d come to realize in those exact long hours:
If, despite my most heartfelt prayer, Michelle is asked to leave the house, joy will still come in the morning.
Thank you for saying exactly that Mrs. Obama. I heard you say:
“No matter what, we are going to be just fine. On Thursday (after the election), no matter where my family will live next winter, on thursday we will go back to picking up our shoes and putting them away.”
Soon after you said that a mom in the crowd hushed her child who was playing in the front rows and you said:
Don’t shoosh…Let her go!
We’ve got another party over here!”
So, for now, I’m going to finish this thank you note and ask that, although I think I am certainly at least 24 hours too late with this message,
I would like to recommend that the benediction for the inauguration be given by one of my many favorite pastors: Meadowlark Lemon.
I knew he was a Trotter, and am so pleased to read this week that he is a theologian as well:
“True visions have transformed my time on this earth from
to joyful living.
As the saying goes, if you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it.
A worthwhile life
begins with a bold vision.”
~ from Trust Your Next Shot: A Guide to a Life of Joy, by Meadowlark Lemon and Lee Stuart
@Chris Handles loves my new book as well.