[Below the orange whatever is my letter to my son.] But first, some context:
We came home tired, hungry, and a bit chilled after 8 hours of canvassing in Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Ohio, together, this evening. He wanted to stay longer to do a third, extra shift in response to the desperate call they sent out to all our cell phones to stay and keep working the streets ...
I'm 52. He's 16.
I looked into his eyes and tried to get my hurting bones to meet his enthusiasm and commitment, and I saw (for the first time) the kind recognition in his eyes that I simply was not up to it.
We started to talk over each other in a kind of Maji gift moment kind of thing, and then, I let him win. We came home.
So ended 8 years of canvassing, together. We started when he was 8 with the Kerry campaign. His first button was" "Ogres for Kerry" with the Disney Character on it. During the first Obama campaign, our son fell fully in love with him. Hey, kids REALLY like him! He got to shake his hand in Dayton. (He crawled on his hands and knees between legs to get toward the front ... and then, people picked him up to bring him up to the front.) Yeah, Democrats are nice.
During the 2008 campaign, our OFA handlers declared him their "secret weapon" in his basball cap and sincere pleas for votes ... with his procotious command of the issues.
In 4 more years, he'll be in college. He'll be off and away ... an experienced, young field organizer. I realized, today, as we were walking for EVERY VOTE TOGETHER, that this will probably be the last time we do so, together.
My letter to my son.
Dear [Son], Nov. 6, 2012
I was really proud of you, today.
Watching you take your side of the street, it made me tear up. You looked so big and so capable – out there making a real difference in the real world. I saw you get tired, and bored, and a little discouraged … then, I saw you reach inside yourself to keep going. You were drawing upon the greater good that you were doing, you were drawing on your connection to being a part of something bigger than yourself to motivate yourself to keep going.
You were able to so sensitively handle that situation where the man had lost his wife, and you got his name and if he had voted, too? Wow, kiddo. And, you did it nicely and in a caring way. You had the courage to knock on door after door and explain who you were and why you were there – and people not only responded to you, but also told you about themselves and their family situations. You were authentic and good, and people responded to that in you.
I couldn’t help looking back and seeing you in your baseball cap, four years ago, in my mind’s eye. I couldn’t help looking forward to four years from, now, when you will be in college. I doubt we will get to do this again, together, because you will be a young, experienced field organizer! You will get to be a part of your college’s Young Democrats Organization, and with your experience, possibly a leader in it. You will get to think about spending your summer as part of some campaign as a miserably paid staffer sent somewhere in the nation to work your heart out with a bunch of other young people … (like Sarah was doing in this election).
Your life is your life, and there are so many wonderful possibilities ahead for you.
We’ve had some tough times, lately, but I wanted you to know how much I have loved having “my little campaigning buddy,” and how proud and pleased I was to partner with you as my fully capable canvassing team mate, today.
No matter what happens, tonight, [Son], we can be proud that we left it all on the road and did our best together for something very good and worthwhile – not only for this nation, but also with each other.
I love you,