Momlogic is sending Naila and her daughter Kennedy to the inauguration, so she can share this once-in-a-lifetime experience with the rest of us. She leaves this afternoon. We asked her to write a post introducing herself as she prepares for the trip of a lifetime.
There was my grandfather. The day he died, the heat in the funeral home struck me as much as how many cars waited patiently behind the car carrying his casket. Turned to the window, I watched the road and stared blankly, avoiding my mom's face, instead chasing memories much happier than this day.
We rode deep into the mountains, in the pickup truck, windows down, him whistling, sometimes it was the porch while he drank scotch and smoked cigarettes and watched me perfect my splits and cartwheels ... other times it was the trips to McAllister's store ... 25 cents in my pocket and 25 pieces of bazooka joe bubble gum and shoestring French fries...
For thirty years he was the head waiter of a prestigious five star resort, never missing a day of work, many of those years supplementing that work with seasonal employment between Florida and Washington. My grandfather was the very definition of a southern gentleman, pressed shirts, ironed slacks, dress socks and wing-tipped shoes, dignified, ethical and loving ... as my mother put it.
My grandfather also knew the value of education: putting all six of his sisters through college during the height of segregation. During that time, the thought of a black president wasn't even a concept, not even a dream.
So the night Barack Obama took the stage in Chicago flanked by two brown girls and a beautiful statuesque wife, with Joe Biden and his family, it took a moment to process. It wasn't until he hugged Joe and the Bidens departed that my tears began to fall, digesting the reality that the highest office in the nation would belong to a man of color, named Barack Obama.
I expect a lot more tears between now and Tuesday ... some for myself, many more for my grandfather William Rogers, my great grandfather Fenton Cook, and others like them, who followed a code of conduct even when the rules didn't protect them, for Momma who as child read all the books in the colored library, hoping to read her way out ... for my grandmother and Bubber who raised joy-filled children in joyless situations yet expected happiness none the less ... the rest of the tears will belong to my proof of life, my daughter Kennedy, who will know more about inclusion than exclusion, who can't imagine a world where race once mattered so much....
We hope you will come share this journey with us,
Naila and Kennedy
Watch for more blogs from Naila and Kennedy, straight from the inauguration, here on momlogic.com.