Guest blogger Blythe Newsome: This year, I went to vote alone. The last time I showed up with all six kids in tow
was for the Presidential election in 2008. I had this great vision of it being
a monumental learning moment for them ....
The adventure to cast my vote in 2008 began with
all of us trudging up a long, winding path to the building where I vote. As we were walking up to the door, I saw that there was a line of people waiting for
their turn. I was excited, thinking this gave me time to talk to the kids about
how important it is to vote. With my beautiful children gathered around me as
we stood in line, I began my "State of the Newsome" address about the importance
Elspeth interrupted me to tell me her tummy hurt. Without
missing a beat, she projectile vomited all over me. The line suddenly began to
look a bit overwhelming. She seemed to feel better after losing her cafeteria
lunch on me, so I decided to keep my place in line. Before I could say the
"Please don't let this be the stomach bug" prayer in my mind and get back to my
speech, I noticed Finn heading for the bushes.
My sweet son seems to be drawn to
using the bushes as an outhouse. This child has been seen by millions on "Supernanny" doing just that. Why do I have to vote at the one precinct
surrounded by bushes? Anyway, I decided it was time to run interference without losing my
place in line.
I asked Daly to go grab Finn and get him to stop before he began to water the
shrubbery. Daly decided to use the opportunity as a passing drill, and threw a football to his little brother. The problem was, his brother was not
expecting to have a football thrown at him, so it hit him on the back, causing
him to lose his balance and fall into the bushes.
Moira, meanwhile, was blowing into her
plastic recorder, practicing Christmas
carols for the school program. This was
her first time touching a recorder, and the shrill sound was making me feel
anything but festive. The older girls looked mortified as I asked them to please go
pull their brothers out of the bushes. There were only two people in front
of me by this time -- just a few more minutes, and I could cast my vote so my children would see
how every vote counts!
And then it happened: a candidate who was running for local office walked in to
vote. He went right to the front of the line. My mind was racing with the
things I would've liked to say to him, such as: "Excuse me, sir, but I have been patiently
waiting here in line for half an hour. Those are my sons, the future of
America, climbing out of the bushes with twigs coming out of their hair. My
teenage daughters, who could someday run this country, are complaining about
what a bad mom I am because I brought them somewhere with poor phone reception.
carols you hear being played are from my daughter, who is trying to
start a singalong. And if you aren't careful, the little one, who looks a bit
green, is likely to throw up all over your nice suit. I still have four loads of
laundry to do, dinner to make, baths to give, homework to check and I pray that
I make it to the gas station before running out of gas after I leave here. If you
want to be a real gentleman, since I have been waiting in this long line for
my turn, why don't you stand here with my kids while I go vote? If I don't
return in ten minutes, don't worry: It just means I'm taking a break from
living the American Dream."
Since I was supposed to set an example for my children, though, I bit my tongue. As he
walked by, he gave me a thumbs-up. I couldn't help but smile, thinking that maybe, in
a way, I could relate to that politician. Here I was, trying to represent my six
little people and cast my vote so their voices could be heard. The reality was that no matter how good my intentions were (just as I am sure that politician knew),
there is no way to keep everyone happy. So this year, I decided to keep this
mommy happy. I went and voted alone.