“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.” Barack Obama, Grant Park, Chicago, November 4, 2008

I really hope that166 Grace and Max have some bit of memory of the day that Barack Obama became President of the United States of America.  I have so much hope for all of us and especially for them.   We got up at the crack of dawn yesterday to get started with our votes.  Dan went to the poll at 5:55 am and got to vote around 7:30 am.  I took Grace with me to vote after Dan got home, in hopes that it would be a historic day and that she could say she was there.  I didn’t prep her for what voting was like and upon arrival I realized she had some notions of her own.  When we pulled into the parking lot, she asked “Where’s Barack Obama?”.  She was quite disappointed when I told her that he wasn’t in person for our vote.  We had taken the kids to the Obama rally in downtown St. Louis a few weeks before so it makes sense that she thought she’d get to see him again.  When we got into the polling place after waiting about an hour in line, she was disappointed again.  She said “I thought it was going to be like going into a movie theater and we were going to have FUN!”.  She was quite confused about the whole process – she was very unsure about how our vote would be counted since it stayed inside the computerized machine.  Since many of us are, I was pleased to expose her to it early.

Every time I vote, I have a moment when I walk into the polling place that I get a little teary and humbled by the whole process.  I was so excited this time and with the long wait and with Grace with me, I was feeling mostly happiness that the day was here and we were going in to select Barack Obama on the ballot.  I did get a little lump when Grace saw his name on the ballot and helped me hit the button.  But the usual feeling of humility hit me when I pulled in to drop Grace off at school.  We went straight from our voting place to her school, which was also a polling place.  There was a big change in routine so that the kids could get safely into their classrooms and cars could move through the parking lot without a big jam up.  There were so many people involved in making this all happen, just at her little school, all so every one who wanted to have their voice counted could do so safely and efficiently.  This is always what makes me feel so humbled and teary when we have the opportunity to vote.  Every person has their own set of circumstances that lead them to choose the way they do and every person gets to make a choice with honor in a safe and calm manner.  We are so blessed.

I tried to work the rest of the day, but it was hard to stay focused.  I talked to Alli in the middle of the day and she sounded so excited, it was fun to share the anticipation.  Dan got home a little early and we started our election party.  We had leftover lasagne with MSNBC in the background and then moved on to Obama banana splits.  The good thing about Obama being our candidate is that his name is a good baby word.  Max can practically say it.  It sounds close to Mama, but he tries to get that B in there.  We told Grace she could stay up late and she was ecstatic.  We put her to bed around 8:30, when it was looking positive for Obama, but not finished by any stretch.  Before going in to her bedroom, Grace and I took pans out in the backyard and ran around banging them and whooping and hollering for an Obama win.

I was glued between the tv and my iPhone updating 538.com for more info.  We were watching tv when it was called at 10:00 CST.  I had a few tears then for the hope of change for our country, for our kids, for the people who need more hope the most, and for people who have gone their entire lives thinking this could never happen.  I said a prayer that Barack Obama and his family will be safe.  And I was mostly happy to believe that we can.

I got a few texts after Obama won.  Here’s a sample:

Missy Barmann: “Wahooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Angela Spittal: “I just did a happy dance”

Rob Barmann (in Chicago’s Grant Park) 9:24pm “I’m in a mob outside the park”; JB response “A good mob, right?” RB “Yes. Peaceful. But very very large.  It is insane.”

RB 10:23 pm “This is just overwhelming. Lots of tears and lots of cheers. Hope is a good thing.”