Originally posted Feb. 5, 2008
I've brought mine twice. The first time, eight years ago,
Noah was just a one-year-old. A new walker, holding him was a
joke. He ran around the school gymnasium serving as our
district's polling place, amusing some very good-natured folks who
waited patiently in a line that snaked around the school.
When it was our turn to vote, he squirmed in my left arm while I
did my best to focus and flip the levers with my free hand.
Four years later and oh, so much smarter, I had Holly buckled
into her stroller with a toy. A big boy, Noah peppered me
with questions: "What's the curtain for, Mommy?" "Why
do we vote?" And "Can I have that donut?" That
white-powdered donut, offered by a very kind poll watcher, saved my
life - for about a minute - then it was our turn behind the curtain
and Holly had a melt-down. I tried to pretend it was a
hide-and-go-seek game, but she wasn't buying. By then five,
though, Noah was very curious about the process. He even
shouted out the name of the guy who got Mommy's vote.
Negotiating two in the voting booth was hell, but I managed.
I voted. My husband had risen early that day (never my cup of
tea) to vote before his thirty-minute commute to work, or we'd have
Our kids are in school these days, so Todd and I took the
opportunity to cast our primary votes early, with no
hangers-on. Bliss! I got to take my time and read
everything carefully, before casting my ballot.
But you know what? I missed the kids and all of their
I love explaining stuff to them. I'm consumed with
channel-surfing between several television news programs for the
latest coverage of the ever-evolving political landscape, in an
effort to make some sense of it all for myself, and find myself
feeling better than ever about my choice this time around.
The kids are even paying attention.
"We have all white presidents," Holly observed a few days
ago. "I want a black president. And I want a
girl president," she added, wondering if two could share the
job. "He's kind of brownish, actually," she
continued, her brow furrowed. Seems she was confused by the
use of the word "black" by
television news announcers discussing Barack Obama.
That confuses me, too, I told her.
This isn't the first time Holly and I have talked
politics. Last year, after we watched news of the last
mid-term election results, Holly made an announcement:
"I want to be the girl President." Five at the time, she
already had a plan:
"How 'bout I tell people to 'Vote for Holly'? I
could pass out signs," she shrugged.
"What would you do if you were the President?" I asked.
"I'd tell people what to do: eat good vegetables, listen to your
parents, do your work, go to school every day, be nice to other
people." She's got my vote.
Now get out there and cast yours. It's no picnic bringing
the kids along, but it's well-worth the effort. Give it a
whirl. Let them see you doing your civic duty and enjoying
the privilege of having your say. Next time I get the chance,
this November, I will, too. I can't wait.
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.
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