The inauguration was this week, Mom, which was so bittersweet without you. I watched in disbelief as this long-awaited day unfolded on our television screen. I wanted simply to rejoice in this incredible moment in history - a moment I (and you) had only dared to dream of for what has felt. like an eternity. Instead, I found myself fighting back tears as you loomed in my mind. I wanted you to be here to celebrate with me, with us. As each moment unfolded I kept thinking of how you would feel if you were here to experience this incredible triumph.
Just two weeks prior to Inauguration Day was the catastrophic siege at The Capitol. I am grateful you were not here to witness that tragic moment in our history, although I think given the political junkie that you were, you would have been swept up in it, in disbelief, as we all were. Inauguration day, in contrast, was such a joyful and hopeful day.
I found myself watching the inauguration through your eyes and imagining what you might think or say, had you been here. I was so moved when President-elect Biden. and Vice President-elect Harris (and their spouses) pulled up to. the stairs of The Capitol. They stood for a few moments in reverence, gazing up at the imposing building before ascending the grand staircase. It was as if, at that very moment, they walking into the future they had fought so hard to secure.
I think you would have loved watching all the former presidents arrive. Sadly, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter couldn't attend due to their advanced age and COVID. I couldn't help but think that it might well be their last chance to attend an inauguration, which made me sad. However all the other usual suspects were in attendance. They filed in to the Capitol one-by-one with their spouses, allowing me to reflect on their time in office, the time in history in which they served, and even on my own life during those years gone by.
I think you would have agreed that viewing them strictly through a lens of style and fashion, Michelle and Barack knocked it out of the park. Michelle Obama was breathtaking. She was dressed, head-to-toe, in a deep burgundy-colored ensemble that wowed the crowd. Catherine and I were absolutely blown away by her stunning style and beauty.
My next favorite moment, and I think you would have agreed, was when Lady Gaga made her way to the podium wearing a spectacularly Gaga gown. She did not disappoint in any way. Her fabulous black and red ball gown, whimsical up-do, perfect red lipstick, and her show-stopping, oversized, gold dove and olive branch broach were perfection. And that was just her appearance. Her performance of the National Anthem would have brought you to tears with both its beauty. and predictable Gaga intensity.
Watching Joe and Kamala be sworn in was memorable as well. I don't recall feeling as relieved about anything in a long time as when I watched each of them place their hand on the bible and take their "vows" in front of the entire world.
Although there were many other joyous moments, I (along with most of America, I presume) was transfixed by young Amanda Gorman, the poet laureate, as she recited her captivating and timely poem. Her sense of style, confidence, giftedness, and presence. were hypnotic and inspiring to all who watched. You would have loved her!
This inauguration seemed more special to me than any other, despite its dramatically simplified format and scaled-down attendance. With all we have been through, both while you were still here with us and since you left, the moment felt so hard-earned. And I don't think there was a person out there (no matter their beliefs) that didn't realize how easily it could have gone the other way. And if that had happened, how different that day would have been.
As the kids and I watched, I imagined what it would have been like to watch it with you (yet apart, due to COVID), both of us relishing in not just the nostalgic pageantry of it all, but the indelible mark left by this improbable moment in history. The changing of the guards at a time that a change has never been more desperately needed.
The kids and I watched the inauguration together in the evening after our long homeschooling day was done (yes Mom, we are still homeschooling). The kids watched history being made on so many levels and I truly believe they understood the enormity of the moment. You would have been so proud of them.
I know you couldn't be here to see all of this unfold, but I hope and pray that wherever you are, you at least know this historic event took place. I could not bear it, after all the time you waited (not always so patiently) for this moment, if anything else were true.
You can rest easy now, Mom. We are in good hands and we are finally at peace. Peace at last for us and for you.