Get Out the Vote

Today, like the rest of this election cycle, I focused on my children. Harrison had preschool this morning and, thanks to the time change over the weekend, we were up bright and early and breakfasted and ready to go well before school began. Since we had the time, I asked him if he wanted to come with me to vote before school. Originally I had planned to go before picking him up when all I had to do was carry Raegan on my hip and not worry about lines or waiting or any of that jazz.

Of course, because he’s an enthusiastic kid in general, HD was pumped. “Vote? We get to vote?! Yay!!!!!!!” was his response. So after brushing teeth and shimmying into shoes and coats and hats, we were out the door. [Full disclosure, though? Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is Harrison’s all-time newest and most favoritest show on PBS and last week or so, they ran an episode about voting; otherwise, I don’t think he’d have a clue as to what it is or means….]

My polling location changed this year, so I didn’t quite know what to expect for parking and crowds. Compared to any city or metropolitan area, I know I still had it quite easy in both regards, but the fact that I had to turn around twice before finding a parking spot and then walked in to a line of 15ish people caught me off guard. We only had thismuch time before school started and I didn’t know if we’d make it in time with the wait.

I thought about bailing, but Harrison was so darn excited about the whole experience, that I decided to just stick it out. We got in line and began our wait.

In total, the whole experience from arrival to departure only took about 20 minutes. Again, nothing compared to those who wait hours or half a day or don’t get to vote because of some silly error or ID issue. I am a proud citizen, always happy to exercise my right to vote, and this morning I was proud to be there with my children.

Harrison was fantastic. He stayed right by my side the entire time. Granted, a couple times he was crawling through my legs as if they were a tunnel, but he was quiet and calm and very, very, very patient for a 3-yr-old who is supposed to be on his way to preschool. Raegan also did very well, snuggling up on my shoulder and making eyes at a few of the others also waiting in line. We all chit-chatted about the new polling spot, not knowing why our line had so many and the other had none, and, of course, the weather. One man even commented on how patient Harrison was being; he was, of course, my new favoritest person of the day.

Then, magically, it was my turn to vote. I signed in, got my ballot, and then tried to figure out how I was going to quickly read and fill out my choices, all while holding a baby and keeping an eye on said 3-yr-old. I realized pretty quickly, after she tried to grab my pencil three times, that Raegan had to go to the floor. That also gave Harrison something to do, as he followed her over to the table she crawled to, and together, they played and made peekaboo faces at the older ladies working our precinct. I went as fast as I could and then it was time for stickers and a mad dash to the van so we could get to school (which we managed and only a few minutes late).

Harrison and I wore our stickers all day.

Then it was time for Daddy and Harrison to go vote this evening after haircuts. Again, HD got very excited, asking, “Can I vote?!” We had to explain that he still wasn’t old enough, but I promised him that I would have voting waiting for him when he got home.

Here is what I came up with while the boys were gone:

Good thing, too, because it was the first thing he asked about as soon as they walked back in the door.

I read the ballot to him, handed him a pen, and let him vote for which stickers he wanted to make art with tomorrow morning.

His choice? (even though he later changed it to Ocean) Sports!

Four years ago, before children, I was far more vocal about my political stance. While I certainly don’t care any less now (in fact, I probably care more), I made a conscious choice to stay out of the political fray this year, especially on facebook. I’ve been insulted and called names and poo-poo’ed, all indirectly, by friends and family members sharing their opinions online and I decided I just didn’t want to go there this time. Like I said, I am a proud citizen and always happy to vote. Today, I was also a proud mama, happy to be sharing this great privilege and great responsibility with my two greatest accomplishments in this world. I want them to know that everyone has a voice and deserves to be able to make that voice heard; voting is how we do that.

While part of me wishes that our choices could be as simple as Harrison’s ballot, the rest of me understands that just isn’t our world or our political climate. Today feels like a big day. Come what may and no matter if we agree or disagree, I hope you also made your voice heard.

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