*Photo that I took on the National Mall just after sunrise on January 20, 2013. Published at Jay Bookman’s blog on ajc.com with my permission.
On January 20, 2013, I was in the crowd of hundreds of thousands to watch the swearing-in of our 44th president for his second term. It wasn’t just a trip for me though as the entire Brosephus family was there. At that time, there were three of us, with one on the way. In addition to the three, we were accompanied by my daughter’s two “babies” which most people would recognize as Cabbage Patch dolls. At that point and time, the littlest Brosephus did not go anywhere without her babies, not even to the bathroom. The trip was a reward for my then 4-year-old who had very diligently followed the presidential election the previous fall.
Her Pre-K class had several lessons and activities surrounding both candidates for president. By the time September rolled around, my daughter could tell you who Romney was and what he liked and the same for Obama. If she saw either one on tv, she would begin to rattle off different facts about them that she learned in class. It was because of that interest that the wife and I set the plans for the trip in October to go regardless to who won the election.
We arrived in DC a few days before the big event. We acted like tourists, taking in all the sights we could. We also connected with family while we were in the area. The entire time, the entourage consisted of the three living as well as the two babies. Then came Monday, the actual date of the inauguration.
That morning, we all got up around 4:30 am and got prepared to head down to the National Mall and join in with the thousands of others who had the same plan. We packed a bag for snacks and water for the trip, and we made sure we had the cameras and stuff to record this event. As we got ready to leave, my wife noticed that the little one didn’t have her babies. The wife asked her, “Are you going to bring your babies?” The little one responded, “No, they don’t want to go.” For a 4-year-old, she was quite adept at communicating the wishes of her babies to the two of us since we didn’t always understand them. After that answer, my wife and I both looked at each other and wondered how long would we have to listen to her crying about missing her babies. Anyway, since she was at the door empty-handed, we took that as a sign that she knew what she wanted, and we left the room and started off for the Metro to get to the Mall.
We arrived at the Mall early enough to pick a prime spot, but we settled on standing in the middle of the Mall so we’d be close to the Metro station when it was time to leave. We had a big TV screen right in front of us, so we wouldn’t miss out on anything at all. My cousin and his family met up with us, and we had quite a ball that morning. There were American flags passed out before things started, and every time there was a reason to cheer, you’d see a sea of flags waving over the entire Mall. My daughter was having fun waving her flag and cheering as well. At times, I put her up on my shoulders so she could better see everything.
Now, she was born a few months before Obama was first elected. Before that election in 2009, my wife received a birthday card with Obama’s face on it. After her birthday, we left the card up on the fireplace mantel, because it was a pretty funny card. For some reason, my daughter took to that card quite well. If we changed her diaper within sight of that card, she would look at it and coo until the cows came home. As she grew up, the fascination with Obama didn’t go away. After she began to talk, she recognized him as “Buddy” because my wife and I would both say, “There’s your buddy” anytime she saw him.
So, we’ve enjoyed watching “Buddy” get inaugurated for the second time, and things are over. We go back towards the Metro station, which gets shut down because of an accident. The whole time we’re waiting in the crowd, I’m getting increasingly upset because people are stepping on my child and bumping into my then 7 month pregnant wife’s belly. We eventually get out of the crowd and decide to grab some food from some nearby food truck and wait for the crowd to dissipate.
Eventually, we got to the station and boarded the train heading back to the hotel. On the train, the wife and I both talk about how we had not heard a peep at all about the babies.
Curious about this, my wife asks the little one, “Do you think your babies wanted to come see Obama get inaugurated?”
The little one responds with confidence, “No, they didn’t want to come.”
The wife then asks, “Why didn’t they want to come?” As parents find out, there are some questions that you will ask your children where the answers they give will knock you out of your shoes. At this point, nobody had told us about this phenomenon, and we were soon about to find out on our own.
The little one then told mommy as though she should have already known, “They didn’t want to come because they don’t like Arock Obama. They like Mitt Romney.”
My knees buckled from laughing so hard. I think there were a few others seated nearby who laughed as well. My wife and I laughed the rest of the trip home and all that evening about that answer. We never had any indications that we had Republicans in our house during the entire election, not that it would have made any difference anyway. My daughter had never wavered in her like for Obama, but she never once mentioned that her babies were Republicans.
That evening, while watching the inauguration festivities that were going on in DC, the little one chimes in out of the blue, “Mommy, they like Arock Obama now”, and then she went right back to watching the inauguration ball that was on TV.
If my daughter continues to look at both political sides and judging them on the facts of their campaign, I will undoubtedly be the happiest father in the world. Either way, I have a funny story to tell for the rest of my life.