Four years ago, my kids were just seven and nine, so a Presidential election fell into a category similar to Student Government. They knew it was more significant than the school bakesale or canned food drive, for more people, but they knew it in kid terms. This year, at eleven and just about thirteen, they seem engaged in the process and the effects of the vote. When I told them about Dixville Notch at breakfast this morning, they really got a kick out of it.
They are particularly interested in the candidates as people, where they grew up, what their families were like. Joe Biden’s story of loss was compelling, as was Barack Obama’s, especially since he was raised by a single mom. Yesterday, my younger daughter said, “Only if she could have made it one more day,” referring to Obama’s grandmother. She really felt bad for him. John McCain’s prisoner of war story, though removed from experience they could imagine, still garnered empathy.
I am excited to share the day with them today. They tried to clear off as much homework as they could last night, so they can watch the returns this evening. We are going to eat hamburgers and French fries and brownies with flags in them. All of the American flag toothpicks were sold out, so I got the collection of world flags, which is just as appropriate, if not more so. We’ll have blue plates and a red tablecloth and it will be the best.
Next time, my older daughter will be a year away from voting herself. I don’t think she has realized this yet. Maybe tonight.