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You Say O-Bam-A, I Say O-Bom-A

The folks at my mom’s retirement home are having an ice cream social to celebrate Barack Obama being elected President of the United States.  “I just don’t get what all the fuss is about,” my mom complained.  Excuse me??  Don’t get the fuss??!!!  Even if you didn’t vote for him, and she didn’t, how can you not understand why so many in our country (and around the world!) are going wild over this?  I keep telling my children, “This is history.  Right here, right now, (“at this defining moment” to steal his elegant words) history is being made.”  I try to impress upon them the significance of what has happened and yet my own mother doesn’t get it? 

She jokes she is 1 of 3 Republicans living there.  Quite frankly, it surprises me.  I guess I stereotype older people in the Republican category (especially well-off older people).  But at her retirement home, you have never seen so many Obama pins and buttons in your life.  Many belong to the Seniors for Peace club and they march out on the corner every Friday afternoon (some pushing their walkers, some parked in their wheelchairs) holding banners and waving at cars.  

I ran into one of my mom’s friends there in the elevator and we got to talking about the election.  She asked what I thought about Election Night.  I told her I cried while listening to his acceptance speech and she told me she did too.  40+ years between our ages, and we both felt similar feelings of hope and inspiration and amazement at what had been achieved.  So I struggle a bit to understand my own mom when she acts so nonchalant about it all. 

I do get where my mom is coming from – my mom’s parents were Republicans, and her grandparents too – and certainly I respect her views.  But I still do not completely get her resistance to at least acknowledging the momentous event that happened on November 4th.  

She did save the newspaper for me like I asked of her, so I could tuck it away for the kids to look at one day.  But when she called him O-BAM-A (rhyming with Alabama) I kind of lost it.  “Mother!” and yes I still say it like I did when I was 13 and mortified over something she said or did – like all teenage daughters do from time to time.  “If my kids (including my Little One who is only 4!) can say his name right, I think you can too!”  (I suppose I should be grateful she didn’t call him “That One,” right?) 

But I must say to her credit, she did ask if I read his books and that maybe I could bring them over next time so she could read them too.  And that’s what I love about her.  At least she was trying. And at least she is now saying his name right.  At this point, that is good enough for me. 

Meanwhile, my son (the aspiring author) was so in awe to overhear that Obama had written two bestselling books, in addition to now being elected President.  To hear a skinny little white boy saying, “I want to be like Barack Obama when I grow up!” really sums up what happened with this whole election, I think.  And this Zen Mama Wannabe can look him in the eye and tell him, “Honey, in the United States, anything is possible!” because at last it feels like it really is.

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2 Responses to “You Say O-Bam-A, I Say O-Bom-A”

  1. LarkLady Says:
    November 11th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    You get upset over the mispronunciation of the President-Elect’s name; I get upset when people can’t spell his first name correctly. B-A-R-A-C-K… now is that so difficult?? I wouldn’t think so, except much of the pre-election emails that came my way (most of it pro-McCain, I have to add) spelled it B-A-R-A-K.

    Regardless of who one voted for, this was indeed a momentous election for us as a nation, and I’m glad you’re helping your children understand that they’re living something that will one day be in history books. My own kids went back and forth between sensing history in the making and acting like electing a black man President was oh-so-natural-and-why-is-everyone-making-a-big-deal-over-it.

  2. callieandbatido Says:
    November 15th, 2008 at 7:29 am

    It was truly an exciting moment in history and one I know I will remember forever.

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