[Note: This morning, I saw a prompt on the Writers Write Facebook: Write about the day he left. This immediately came to mind.]
It was dark when I woke up. It shouldn’t have been so dark at that time of morning, but the cloud cover and the grey skies combined to make the picture of a sad morning. The grey even seeped through the leaves of the tall trees outside the window, like a fog rolling in, obfuscating the electric lines and the roofs of the nearby houses, seemingly covering over the reality of the coming day. I should have really still been asleep. I tried. I really did, tossing and turning, each shift causing a spring to poke me in awkward places from my twenty-five year old mattress. It’s needed replacing for at least fifteen years; probably more. I finally gave in. I couldn’t sleep anymore. I would stop trying to. I also didn’t want to spend this last day in bed.
I closed my eyes and tried to pretend that today was just an ordinary day. I could hear the drip drip drip on the window ledge from the melting snow on the roof. The garbage trucks and school buses roared by, with each collecting their charges, the wet ground spraying water from their tires, the squelch as they stopped and then went again at the stop sign on the corner.
Today’s list of things to do includes a shower, buying a new (functioning) toilet, and possibly making a plan for my aunt’s ninety-fifth birthday next month. It does not include watching the news.
While dull in color, and heavy in weight, everything else around seems vibrant in feeling; not bright or brightly colored, but palpable in dread, an overhanging sad as the minutes tick down until the moment he does leave.
Twelve noon and it’s finished.
It’s the end of the second term of the first Black President, and at a very young fifty-five, he enters citizenship with more to do; much more. Books to write, a library to build and fill, a well deserved vacation, and politics as a citizen, just like me. Well, not quite.
I won’t talk about his successor. There’s no need. We’re going to have the next four years of twenty-four hour news cycles and nonsense from all sides. He matters at 12:01, but until that moment, we continue to enjoy and remember the Obama Presidency.
The sweet little girls who came into our lives eight years ago who are now young women, one starting college in the fall, and one finishing her two years of high school. Lovely, smart, kind by all accounts. They are a beautiful reflection of their parents and the good job they’ve done despite the scrutiny and the lack of privacy. They’ve done well, and I’m certain they will continue to do well.
Their mom, who left her career for another, unpaid one as First Lady pulling all of her priorities as a Mom to encourage us to do our best for ourselves, for our military families often forgotten. Let’s Move is the perfect analogy for her. Constantly in movement whether for her family or her American family, meeting, listening, and doing. Growing a garden at the White House – just magnificent. What a lovely person to look up to, to be inspired by, and to emulate.
Her husband. Our President. Not just well-spoken as all Presidents should be, but well-learned. Thoughtful and thought-filled. Caring. Innovative and inspired. Inspirational. Compassionate. Kind. Always looking forward and inward, and never worrying about what people would think of him, simply doing what he thought was best. Always.
His legacy is so much more than words on a paper or chapters in a history book. Others will remember promises broken, as is the case for all presidents once they get in and see how difficult running the government and protecting the individual is, but I will remember his sense of humor, and his easy laugh. His arm gently resting along his wife’s back and hers in the same place on his, a better definition of partnership I don’t think I could find. He sings, he dances, he pases equal pay laws and celebrates equality in marriage, in gender, affordable health care, and in religion. He doesn’t let his own beliefs and his Christianity get in the way or overshadow someone else’s, and there are many represented in this country.
He took the high road in all things, never showing his frustration despite the racism and the lack of civility and professionalism by his colleagues, some of whom should be embarrassed by their behavior. This level of obstruction and pettiness was unprecedented.
He won’t dwell on his last Supreme Court nominee stolen from him. (I will.) He will remain on the high road.
Give him credit, don’t give him credit for what he’s done with our economy and the inclusivity of our civil rights; he doesn’t care as long as he’s helped us.
And he did.
Scandal free, which doesn’t mean not making mistakes. We all make mistakes, but his White House was above board, fair, and diligent for ALL Americans, regardless of their feelings for him and his family.
The day he left was cold and dreary and grey. I don’t know if I’ll ever see his kind again in my lifetime. I can only hope that there is someone to carry his torch because right now, I’m not sure there’s anyone qualified to carry his coat.
I will miss you, President Barack Obama. I will miss you deeply. You were more than my president; you were my ally. You were my champion. You were my leader and my inspiration to do more, to do better, to be better.
Thank you, President Obama, and goodbye.
Welcome Mr. Obama. I hope to work with you in the future for the better. I will remain alongside you as we all roll our sleeves up and get to work.