Dear Olivia & Emma,
Something truly amazing and wonderful happened two nights ago - America elected its first African-American president. This is a moment in history that I am preserving for you both - by collecting newspaper front pages, magazine covers and news stories about this day. It is the step forward that we as a country needed to take in order to finally put behind us the years of racial divide in our country.
You are both too young to understand why this is so important or why it means so much to so many. To you, Barack Obama was just a man on TV who was running for president - you are too young to understand what that means. Soon enough though, you will both learn the history of our country and will come to know words such as slavery, segregation, and civil rights - and then you will, I hope, truly understand why this is such an historic moment for the United States.
Knowing (hoping) that this year was going to be historical, I made it a point last month to take you both to see Barack Obama at a rally here in Toledo. Olivia, you were very excited. You listened to his speech and even picked out a "Kids 4 Obama" T-shirt after the rally. Emma, you were still too young to understand...and ended up sleeping through the rally. But we have pictures to prove that you were both there.
Olivia, you spent the last few weeks before the election writing "Obama" on pieces of paper and drawing pictures of Sen (President-elect) Obama. My favorite picture is when you drew him with a purple crayon and then made him wear a green suit. A classic piece of art. You walked around the house yelling "Obama! Joe Biden!" And on election day Olivia, you said you wanted to vote for Obama. You have no idea how proud I was of you at that moment.
It makes me so happy to know that because of this election it is possible that you will both grow up in a world where race is no longer something we focus on with such intensity. My hope is that as you grow, everyone of every race, gender, creed and sexual orientation will finally be treated as true equals. My hope is that by the time you are both old enough to vote, we will have elected women presidents and Hispanic presidents and openly gay presidents and that FINALLY there will no longer be glass ceilings to be broken or racial barriers to be torn down. I want you to grow up in a world where you KNOW without any doubt that everyone is created equally and where everyone is treated as such.
I want you both to know that I cried on election night. I was the only one still awake at our house and as I sat on the couch, surrounded by my cell phone, laptop and a small pile of Halloween candy, I cried tears of joy and celebration. Joy because I knew that this election brought with it a new world of change and possibility for everyone, regardless of what color state you lived in or what ticket you voted. Celebration because at 11 p.m. EST the American dream was finally realized.
[This was originally posted on my other blog The Olivia and Emma Show]