I may be insane.  I plan to take the darelings with me today to the polls.

I don’t have a sitter, for one.  And for another, I just like taking them there, to see what this whole democracy thing is all about.  Plus, they get stickers!

My eldest and I have been having lots of adorable conversations over the past month or so about just what it is a president does (hard to explain, when she still can’t quite grasp the distinctions of city/state/country) and what voting is all about.  I can tell it distresses her shiny new sense of fairness that only one of the two candidates can win.  When I told her that the grownups will all be going to vote so they can choose the new president, she said, “I don’t want to grow up.  I don’t think I could choose.  Can’t they share?”

I’ve also been hearing from my mom–who, for the first time in my memory anyway, has been actively campaigning on behalf of her candidate, calling voters, standing out for hours in crummy weather to hear him speak.  I think it’s awesome.

I write historical romances because I find that long-ago, far-away time to be swooningly romantic.  But today, I could not be more happy to be a modern woman.  I’m so glad that this is the very first election my daughter is aware of.  I can discuss the four main candidates with her, and she can look at that group of people and see herself someday fitting among them–because they include both a female candidate and a biracial candidate.  When she says “When I grow up, maybe I can be president,” I can say unequivocally, “Of course you can!” and the media images she takes in will actually back me up!  (Of course, most days careers like “teacher”, “doctor”, and “restaurant girl” seem to hold more appeal for her, but we encourage her to keep her options open.)

I’m also grateful to have my children around me, because explaining all this to them makes me even more conscious of the responsibility of voting, the wonderful thing that is democracy.  And some masochistic part of me wants to make my children stand in a big long line to witness it, because they should know that it’s something worth waiting in line for–even moreso than their favorite rides at Disneyland.

So if you see some frazzled woman at the polls today with her two noisy children in tow, cut her some slack and pass the stickers.  She might be me!

Did you vote!  How were the lines?  Did you hear Starbucks is giving out free coffee to voters?  I’m going to need it!  I thought I heard a rumor about Ben&Jerry’s giving out ice cream, too.  Any more freebies?

5 comments to “On historic elections and history”

  1. Elyssa
    · November 4th, 2008 at 11:16 am · Link

    I’ve been jittery since last night. I’m so nervous about the outcome of this election . . . I’m hoping the candidate I want to win actually wins. I don’t remember being this nervous back in 2000 and 2004—I thought the person was a sure win but in both cases, he wasn’t—but this one I am. Maybe it’s that so much seems to be riding on this election?

    I think it’s great you’re bringing your darelings with you. Same to you Terri. It’s so important to see the electoral progress and it’s awesome that there are candidates on both sides of the ticket who are breaking new ground.

    But, oh, I feel that it’s going to be a long night ahead of us!

  2. terrio
    · November 4th, 2008 at 10:31 am · Link

    I too am taking my kiddo with me. She’s been fascinated by this even if she doesn’t understand it all. She’s 9 and they did a mock election at school. I’ve yet to hear how it turned out, but I think it’ll be interesting to see if it’s close to the real results.

    I didn’t hear about all the freebies. I could go for a good coffee right now. The stuff they have here at work is so nasty.

    I’ve heard of 2 and 3 hour waits here so I’m keeping my fingers crossed it’ll be better after work.

  3. Judy Gasperini
    · November 4th, 2008 at 11:41 am · Link

    I used to like to take my son (now 15YO) to the polls too. The polls workers like to see the children too. When he was about 7, I told him we were going to vote for who we want for president. He piped up with “I want Daddy!”

  4. Santa
    · November 4th, 2008 at 7:42 pm · Link

    My cherubs have been actively talking and debating about the elections at school. Pretty cool in my book. Banana Head’s class had an election. Oreo cookies vs. chocolate chips. Oreos won so they got to eat them with milk at snack time.

    I took my oldest to vote on the way to her violin lessons. They let her step into the booth with me while I explained to her how to pull levers and vote. She was amazed to see that I didn’t click all the levers on one row. I explained that it was important to vote for candidates that you find meet the needs and concerns and issues that are important to you. Party lines aren’t nearly as important. She found it to be a cool experience all around.

    That’s gotta count for something.

  5. Janga
    · November 5th, 2008 at 8:33 pm · Link

    Tessa, Terri, San, I thought about all of you and your kids when I opened the November Good Housekeeping today and read the editor’s advice to take your kids with you to the polls. So you all get the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for parenting and citizenship training. 🙂