Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours!

Several times in my life, after thinking that I know something or understand something, I’ll have an experience that leads me to the realization that, actually, I didn’t know what I thought I did. It took the experience itself for me to truly know and understand. A good example of that would be postpartum depression. I’d been busily helping women who suffered postpartum depression for years, thinking that between my education and training and work experience, I knew all about it. And I was, in many cases, very helpful. Then, after my first child was born, I had serious postpartum depression that lasted about 5 weeks. Those five weeks in hell brought true understanding.

Now, I’m not saying that a person has to experience something to understand it or have compassion around it. I don’t believe that’s true. But I also believe that there are some paths in life that you really have to walk down to understand the journey.

Tuesday evening, in a crowd of a quarter million people, I stood next to an African American woman about my age. With so many people, the jumbotron CNN, the stage, the motorcade, the helicopters, the Chicago skyline lit in red, white and blue, and, ultimately, Barack Obama himself, there was a lot to watch in Grant Park. Mostly, I watched her. I couldn’t help it. She was there on her own, no sign or little flag or funny hat; she was just there standing next to me on a knoll above the field. We had an incredible view. She first came to life when CNN called Ohio. She smiled and clapped a bit. When they called Florida she laughed out loud and raised her arms. When they announced the victory for Obama, she yipped and spontaneously grabbed ahold of me and we hugged like the very best of friends. We couldn’t stop hugging. She kept saying, “never in my life, never in my life.” Across the field, we could see the motorcade coming along Lakeshore Drive and as the loudspeakers pumped “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” we ALL danced. During the invocation she bowed her head and teared up a bit. When we said the Pledge of Allegiance, she and I chuckled because the bouncy, bubbly, squealy first time voters behind us didn’t know some of the words. She applauded the gracious concession of John McCain. And when Barack Obama spoke, she wept silently. Her shoulders heaved and tears streamed down her face and she covered her mouth and she wept. As I watched her I realized that, try as I might, I will never truly understand.

It was a great event, a once in a life time event, a history changing moment. You’ve heard all about it. I kind of think you had to be there to realize the true momentum. I went with my neighbor Larry, while his wife, Donna, and Rich stayed home with the television contingent. With only my ticket plus one, Larry and I were the two that couldn’t bear the thought of not going. Larry took some amazing photos that, really, speak a thousand good words, so here you go. (they’re great large so definitely click to embiggen; please don’t copy)

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18 responses to “Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours!

  1. I imagine it was one of those experiences that words can not really capture. I felt it sitting on my couch, taking it all in with my family. And I wasn’t the only dry eye in our house either.

  2. A powerful moment for sure.
    Really nice photos … they give a good sense of the excitement.

    Your books on my blog today.
    πŸ™‚

  3. I watched the faces in the audience and wished I could be there among them for the best moment in the last 30 years. You are lucky. My daughter and I have requested tickets for his inauguration, and I cannot wait!!

  4. I thought of you while watching the crowd in Grant Park and would loved to have been there. I have high hopes for our new Barack Obama administration and shed tears of relief hearing while hearing him speak. Thanks for sharing a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  5. I only wish the winners would now cease and desist with the hateful, vile venom that spews forth against our current president. If only the Democrats had been such gracious losers as McCain eight years ago.

    Hopefully the nasty bumper stickers and cartoons posted on my favorite sites will go away now!

    You will have to excuse me… this is why I try to stay away from politics… it really doesn’t do any good for anyone.

    I am seriously thinking of discontinuing the blogging thing… not enough time, no energy, too many parent things going on and a brain full of mush.

    Congrats on your candidate winning.

  6. Beautiful photos that capture the amazing excitement of that moment. I was watching MSNBC, and when they announced that Obama had won, their camera stayed focused on a young woman who had simply fallen to her knees, head bent down, but obviously weeping. She never looked up.

    I have never felt such elation about an election outcome in my entire life. I am hopeful.

  7. Oh, Vicki. I’m so glad that you braved the crowds and went to Grant Park. I wish I had been there with you.

    I agree with you. As moving and beautiful as this moment is, I don’t think that those of us who were born into privilege by virtue of our skin color can totally understand. We were never disenfranchised. We have always seen people who looked like us in positions of power and prestige. BUT.

    I am so pumped and so happy.

    It’s a new day.

  8. I certainly never thought I’d see this in my lifetime and my dad and mom certainly didn’t! What an amazing week.

  9. Thank you for the poignant images. I think about all the children who will now grow up and imagine, “Someday, I might be president” and not have to consider that their race or sex could be a deterrent.

  10. It was so special and wonderful. It meant a lot to me to know you were there in that amazing crowd. It gave me a connection to that moment that was really meaningful to me.

  11. Vicki…It must have been thrilling for you. congrat’s that your candidate won.
    I am so thrilled that I can get up in the morning now knowing that we don’t have to Blame George Bush for EVERYTHING. He has taken the crap from everyone with class and dignity. I appreciated McCain’s spirit in his final speech. I WILL support my new president and not stoop to the vile venom that SRP described so accurately. It sickens me. If the people Obama picks to work with him have half the class that he does (which I doubt)…our country will do well. I Pray for his wisdom to lead us effectively.

  12. I saw the link for your blog on LauraHinNJ’s blog–and based on your title “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” I just KNEW you wrote about the election results.
    While I did not have a first hand view, I could not take my eyes off the people shown on TV, especially African-Americans. To see the pride in their faces was such a thrill.

  13. Thank you, Vicki, for taking me there.

    You made me cry.

  14. I too love the SHIT out of America – and you too. xo

  15. Once again, you are where I wanted to be. But I did have the satisfaction of waking up to a BLUE Florida. Granted, my part of it is mostly red, resentful and armed, but the blue parts turned it.

  16. It was awesome watching this disconnectedly on the TV. I can imagine it was over the top to be there in person.

    I have hope again.

  17. Oh! What Raehan said. Tears.

    A red county in a blue state here. I’ll take my victory where I can though.. A BLUE STATE!!! πŸ™‚ I’m so thrilled by this outcome. I must be visiting the right places. I’m not seeing the venom others are discussing above, thank goodness. But I have seen some horror and nastiness by the bigots who have awful things to say about President Elect Obama. And it fills me with fear.

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