My teenage daughter, Little Fawn, and I have a standing date every Wednesday evening. Such are the perks of being the non-custodial parent (where’s that damn sarcasm font).
It’s evolved from getting happy meals when she was five, to going to the used book store after dinner in junior high, to wandering around in Target, or Home Depot or the grocery store with her slowly releasing the habit of clutching my arm as we walked. Our date night now is YMCA Wednesday! And now on Wednesdays I see my little girl donning a baggy t-shirt with sports bra underneath, long basketball shorts on her tiny five foot frame supported by her Chuck Taylor’s.
This past Wednesday we went to the Y, as we have been for about eight months, she off to her aerobic combat punch, kick thing and I on the elliptical trainer and treadmill.
I plugged in my headphones, ready to get my once a week dose of television. The Memorial for those killed in Tuscon was on and I tuned in as Gov. Brewer was being introduced. Then Secretary Napalitano recited a Biblical verse as did Attorney General Eric Holder.
Then President Obama was introduced. I have to admit, I was embarrassed for him as the crowd cheered, applauded and screamed for an inappropriately long time at a memorial service. In fact, I’ve learned later that there are a few things to be embarrassed about that went on at the memorial but in the grand scheme of things, I suppose it’s trivial.
President Obama began as I thought he would but then he settled in to what he and speech writers came up with and it was amazing… moving. I was literally brought to tears as I heard him tell the stories of Dorwin Goddard and Dorothy Morris’ husband as well as the other people who died that day.
I have been critical of the president at least once on this blog and a number of times to friends although I voted for him. And up until this speech it almost seemed like he was going through the motions, not living up to the promises he made when campaigning.
But it seems this speech was the turning point. It’s as if he has found his presidential voice. It resonated with me as he spoke of the individuals who died that day, particularly as he spoke of husbands defending their wives and of parents who lost their daughter.
And with my daughter across the hall kicking and punching her little butt off, I stared at the screen a foot away from my face as I rolled my feet back and forth and wondered will we even learn anything from this?
I hope so. I certainly hope so.