Inauguration With an Eight-Year-Old

I was so happy when my parents told me they were coming to town for the long weekend. After the post-Pakistan blues, I knew that seeing family would give me a boost. Since they were driving, I suggested they bring along my eight- year-old cousin who had never been to DC before.

A little background on my cousin, D. When we went to Michigan in October, she kept asking me to sleep over. I told her I couldn’t sleep over that time but I would sleep over when we came back for Thanksgiving. This girl set up a countdown and dutifully marked off each day until we would be coming back to Michigan. She called me to remind me that I had said I was going to be sleeping over and proceeded to give me a hour by hour break down of what she had planned. She also told me that she had all the snacks ready for the sleepover- which was still two weeks away.

When I talked to my aunt on Saturday morning, she told me that D was especially excited to meet President Obama. She assumed that everyone in Washington DC hangs out with the President.

As luck would have it, my wonderful neighbor Billy had called the night before offering us two tickets to the inauguration. I initially had planned to go with my dad but he insisted that I take D who was so excited to “meet” the President. What a great guy!

The first inauguration experience for both of us.
D got up at six in the morning and put on her sparkly top and bow headband in record time. I didn’t go to the inauguration in 2008 but I did go to the Stewart/Colbert rally a few years back and I was afraid that DC would be a total mad house. I was more than a little scared of losing my aunt’s only child so I gave D a long lecture about sticking close to me. I wrote my phone number on a piece of paper and put it in her coat pocket. Then, for good measure I wrote it across her arm too. I explained to her that if she got separated from me, she should immediately find a woman and ask her to call me. Then, for reallly good measure, I made her memorize my phone number.

D on her first metro ride.

We were initially going to try to walk most of the four miles but it was so cold outside that I decided we would take the metro. I was so scared of losing her down there or her getting crushed! There was absolutely no reason to worry. The metro was so quiet that I was sure it was closed down or not going to the inauguration. But it was running a-ok and we got a seat no problem.

I made D carry a bag full of snacks and extra hats and gloves. No free rides around here!
Once we got off the metro, there were tons of signs and there were volunteers all over the place. We got through security painlessly. The only strange thing was that they had everyone turn on their cameras and looked through the viewfinders.
Once we got to our section, I got us some seats at the end of a row. Even though it meant we had to sit a little farther back, it meant that we could easily come in and out if we had to go to the bathroom or get up and stretch. We had over two hours to wait before the speeches started. We took pictures, danced in the aisle and watched the man who climbed forty feet up a tree so he could heckle the President and everyone else while they spoke.
This will definitely go a long way to ending abortion. Definitely.
The police tried to talk him down and even brought a ladder but he just kept going higher.

Finally, it was time for the  Vice-President and President to be sworn in.

Here is the President giving props to immigrants like D and me. I hope this year will finally bring long overdue immigration reform. Come on, Congress and Mr. President! There are so many people counting on you! D was a great sport throughout everything. She didn’t complain about the cold, the long wait or even the fact that she didn’t understand most of what was being said. What a champ.

Listening to the Pres.

For me, the best part of inauguration was when I found out D had no idea who Jay Z or Beyonce were.

Before we knew it, it was all over and we made our way through the crowds to get back on the metro. After a few stops, I realized that there would be too many delays and decided we would get off and walk home. To keep D going, I stopped at Potbellys to get her a cookie and… we ran into Obama! D got this sweet picture.

We made it about a mile and half before we both decided we needed to get on a bus. When I asked D what her favorite part of inauguration was, she thought for a minute and proudly replied, “Riding on the subway.”
This is the face of someone who is thinking, “Today I saw President Obama. He has nothing on the Metro.”

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