Tuesday, January 20, 2009


"Just waking up in the mornin'/gotta thank God/I don't know/but today seems kind'a odd..."

My Dearest Niglets,

"Today was a good day" as Ice Cube once said. Strange that we started today with "Tomorrow." You probably won't remember by the time you're reading this. So, let me explain. You see Mrs. NMN (aka Mommy) bought us all tickets to go see "Annie" this past weekend. And since we walked out of that theater all you've wanted is for us to sing "Tomorrow" to you. This morning, Mommy burned a CD and we listened to it on repeat all the way to school.

I thought about the play - all the talk of tough times and the need for hope - as we drove by all the "For Sale" signs that punctuate this landscape, this moment in our country's history. I thought about the play and considered that it is "The Hard Knock Life" for us as a nation today, with people getting laid-off, companies closing and retirement being snatched from beneath so many as men and women die in wars that were ill-conceived and poorly executed.

But as I glanced into the rearview mirror and looked at your serene faces, as you enjoyed the music, I mostly thought of sitting in that theater together. I thought of you, my dear Niglette, sucking your fingers on my lap nodding your head to the music. I thought of Mommy shushing you, Niglet, as you declared, "I don't like Mrs. Hannigan." And I thought of the warm feeling in my chest when I considered that we were sharing one of those memory moments, the kind your grandmother gave me many yesterdays ago. Saturday was good day.

"Look at this beautiful Black family." On Monday, we went down to Martin Luther King Blvd. to watch the parade. The calendar may have said King Holiday, but Barack Obama got at least equal billing. The smiles were as bright as the California sun. And the faces were every shade of the human rainbow. And as we walked up Crenshaw Blvd., rushing to claim our spot, a woman smiled at us from the bus stop and said, "Look at this beautiful Black family." The Obamas have made beautiful Black families chic. And as we hoisted you onto our shoulders to watch the marching bands, Korean drummers and stepping fraternities, I realized I've never been so excited to be in style. Monday was a good day.

Today, in the midst of brushing teeth and getting dressed and eating breakfast and getting out the door on time, I pulled the two of you into our room to watch CNN. Your usual Sprout shows would have to be missed today. I needed to point to the TV and ask, "Who's that?" I needed to hear you say, "Obama!" I needed to include you today in an event I never thought would come in a million tomorrows. I doubt you'll remember what inauguration means, but I hope some piece of you always remembers that anything is possible for you in this country. That has never been clearer to me than it is today.

Today is a "tomorrow" that we all had to "hang on" eight years to see, a tomorrow for which so many hung on much longer than that, a tomorrow for which, tragically, some had to hang.

Today, a message of hope was vindicated, vanquishing a message of fear.

Today, I raced back home to hear the first words of President Barack Hussein Obama.

Today, I was inspired.

Today, I listened to "Tomorrow" on a loop just to make you happy, glancing into a rearview mirror and seeing the future.

Today was a good day.

NMN (aka Papa)