Where I should be: the Western Ball with my cousin wearing the turkey cutlet gown and a pair of 3 inch black satin slides.
Where I am: at home.
My cousin wanted me to go to the ball with her and I have to tell you that even though I am completely anti-dressing up (which goes along with the anti-shaving-my-legs and the how-the-hell-do-you-apply-eye-make-up side of me) and it would have easily taken five hours of standing in freezing cold temperatures wearing nothing but a skimpy dress and I probably would have had my breasts fall off from frost bite, I really really really wanted to go to the ball. Not for the actual party, but just to be close to everything.
Seeing it on television made me want to go rub my cheek on the Mall grass.
Back in college and grad school, we had this Capitol step my friends and I always parked ourselves on for the Fourth of July fireworks. It was a small group that included two of my cousins, including this one who worked for Obama in Florida and came down for the Inauguration and held an extra ticket to the ball. Josh ruined this tradition the first year he joined us and told us that sitting in direct sunlight for hours in high humidity was just plain stupid. That shade was "better." Seeing our old fireworks-watching spot on television today made my heart swell. Because the last time I sat in that spot was the Fourth of July prior to Bush becoming president. Isn't that strange to think?
Seeing Obama speaking several stories above our step made me feel like we had reclaimed the space. You better believe we're parking ourselves in direct sunlight again this July.
The twins loved watching the coverage, screaming out the names of buildings they recognized on the Mall or along the parade route (and I was corrected as always when I said it was the Air and Space Museum and the ChickieNob told me that it was the "Outer Space" Museum. I think she often wishes I wasn't quite so dense). They kept saying, "what if Daddy looked out his window and saw Barack Obama?" and I had to explain that he was actually six blocks away and that city blocks are actually much larger than Lego blocks.
I think this moment summed up the day for me: I burst into tears when I saw the First Family walk through the doors at the end of the parade, sobbed and sobbed, reassuring the twins for the 90th time that these were happy tears. I finally cleaned myself up and then they showed a replay of the moment and I cried all over again. I cannot wrap my mind around it, the enormity of the whole day. Of the next four years.
I spoke to my cousin before she left for the ball and she sent some pictures from the morning. I am so bummed that I wasn't on the Mall and I'm so glad that I watched Obama become president from my nice warm house. I can't imagine damp cheeks would feel too good in this weather.