Thursday, January 22, 2009

So Change has Come

Most people who know me, know that I am not particularly sentimental.  I don't usually cry at weddings (except I sobbed through mine, hmmmm) and I can appreciate a touching story without shedding tears.  So I was a bit taken aback by my reaction to a little children's book this morning.

While walking through Target I spied the book "Change Has Come" drawings by Kadir Nelson, words by Barack Obama.  It looked like a nice keepsake of the Obama presidency, the first new president in my boys' lives, so I tossed it in my cart.

Back home, after the purchases were stashed, the baby was fed, the dishes done and the floor swept, I sat down and looked at the book.  Wow!  I was not prepared for such a strong reaction.

It is a simple book.  The words are all taken from Obama's speeches and the drawings are scratchy pen and ink.  I think it was the simplicity that hooked me.  Too much pomp would have turned me off.

I found the drawings particularly touching.  Something about pen and ink was so right for this moment.  Some people don't like pen and ink because it is rough.  They dislike that it feels hurried or more like a draft than a completed work.  I like pen and ink for those exact reasons. It is like the artist wanted to get his impression down on paper before it floated away.  Pen and ink is real, no editing, no polishing.

I know the words that were used in this book were probably chosen carefully and with much debate, but I'm okay with that.  I have a pretty low tolerance for prose that try too hard.  These hit the right note for me.

As I read this book, I began to tear up and by the final page I was openly weeping.  I was so overwhelmed by the significance of Obama's presidency, that I wanted to rush right to Huck's school and share the book with him. 

I wanted to explain to him what it means for America to have a black president.  I wanted to tell him about our historical mistakes and triumphs. I wanted him to understand that the election of Barack Obama is a way for America to truly realize its potential.  I wanted to tell him that America is now The Land of Opportunity for everyone.  I wanted to tell him that change has come.

I will tell him all these things tonight after we read the book.  

I urge you to buy this book for the children in your life, no matter what your politics are. Change is good, embrace it.


  1. Wow, I only have small...well, somewhat large, cats but I may have to get the book for myself. Or maybe I can borrow my #1 nephews. Or maybe I'll just go to Target and read it there. Except I have a little of Thelma and Grandpa in me and I am prone to openly weep about things like that and I do hate to weep in public. Hmmm, what to do what to do. I really just need to pack for HAWAII since I'm leaving in less than 48 hours and have packed nada thus far. And it's a little more complicated than throwing some clothes in a bag. I have a bike and bike stuff and running stuff and swimming stuff and nutrition stuff and lots of other stuff too. I need some of my wasted time from the last 3 weeks back!

  2. Stop reading my blog and go pack you procrastinating loser! The book is only $12.95. Buy it, read it (in the car) and then give it to someone for their kid.

  3. Well, I'm at I can't pack! The only thing I can do is sit here and waste time reading blogs. I meant to say, educate myself from the writings of other learned people. For example, I read something that struck a chord with me this morning on another blog...
    "I've often slaughtered my own truth to preserve someone else's illusions". Now, that's food for thought. Goes along with my tendency to act like a doormat. Those days are over, my friend. I am a new woman.

  4. Every time you deny your own truth, you lose a little piece of who you are.

    P.S. Didn't know you were at work. Ignore all packing related hostilities.

  5. Yep, I am out of time. 2 week vacations in the first month of the new year will do that to your vacation account! Otherwise I would have taken a packing day. I'll be duly noting that in my book of things to remember.

    And, do lose a little of yourself each time you deny your truth. And then you sometimes find yourself so lost you don't know who you are at all. But you can always be found again if you want.