I realize I've been strangely silent for someone so psyched about the official arrival of the new Leader of the Free World (OMG, BHO!!!!)
The truth is, I've been sick for two solid weeks as of today, and not just garden-variety sick, but stricken － first with what felt like a near-death ear infection (ear infection?? what am I, four?), then with either another villainous virus or what we affectionately refer to here in Central Texas as Cedar Fever. Whatever one calls it, a nose by any other name would still be rendered miserably smell-less, runny and raw.
Enough gorey details. The point is, while I've been emotionally elated, I've been physically (and mentally) preoccupied with suffering and healing (update: at this writing, the former is still leading, but the latter is finally gaining ground). And it's difficult for me to write much worth reading when my head is so very full of gunk.
So here, for posterity if not for prosaic prize, are some of my thoughts about this most amazing week in which to be an American:
1. Inauguration Day began for me by sending my kids off to school wearing Old Navy American flag tees, my recent morning mantra ringing behind them, "It's a new day for America!!".
2. My husband and I treated the day as a national holiday (which it should have been!), watching ABC's Inaugural coverage from 8:30a to 5:30p, pausing only for lunch and bathroom breaks.
3. I burst into tears just as Obama was about to walk out onto the balcony. He was standing there, shadowed yet clearly ready, and my only thought was, Thank God － he has finally arrived.
4. I *loved* Aretha's hat. Big, bold hats are worn by many African-American women to celebrate special occasions. And she looked like just what she is － a gift － bringing new meaning and soul to the words she sang: Let music swell the breeze and ring from all the trees sweet freedom's song. God save the Queen (of Soul).
5. Did you see Obama's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, utterly undone following the oath? Such a sweet showing of sibling joy and pride.
6. If the current U.S. population is about 300 million, and about 2 million people were at Obama's Inauguration, then essentially, 1 of every 150 Americans were there. That's incredible.
7. Poor Teddy Kennedy. What poor timing for a seizure － only halfway through lunch and missed the whole parade. (Seriously, thank goodness he's okay, all things considered.)
8. During the parade, we laughed and laughed at Biden's little grandkids up on Craig Robinson's (Michelle Obama's college basketball coach brother) lap in the viewing stand, each wildly waving a flashlight up at his smiling face.
9. The day's most frequently recurring thought: BRRRRRRRR.
10. Seeing Obama give the shaka, or "hang loose" sign, to the marching band from his Hawaiian prep school, Punahou, was almost as cool as seeing him return salutes to U.S. military marching by.
11. We picked our kids up from afterschool and went to Mangia Chicago (note the theme) Stuffed Pizza for supper. We ordered the Michelle's Special pizza (picante sauce rather than regular tomato, chicken, spinach and mushrooms) and toasted America's New Day.
12. I dug Michelle's Inauguration ensemble (typically elegant, a little glam). I wasn't as wild about her inaugural ball gown － I'd have preferred something more form-fitting. But she didn't ask me.
13. I teared up again during the First Couple's first dance of the evening, at the Neighborhood Ball, Beyoncé serenading them with a stunning － and again, newly meaningful － version of Etta James' classic, "At Last." Beautiful.
14. We stayed up until the wee hours watching coverage of all ten balls visited by the Obamas, despite the Groundhog Day quality it assumed about halfway through the night － him stepping upon and her adjusting the troublesome train of her dress, and their trademark twirl during the ballad's bridge.
I guess we just didn't want it all to end.
But of course, it hasn't. It was just the beginning.