Every year, I vote. I turned 18. I registered to vote. I longed for the vote.
I love my country. I love the land of the free and the home of the brave. I believe in the tradition and honor of having the vote. We are blessed to live in a democratic society. Women before me could not vote. I can and I will.
I have served in the United States Army Reserve for 13 years now. And with growing older, I become wiser. Of course, I am slightly less optimistic about our country and our government’s intentions than I was in my teenage years. But with knowledge and perseverance and the vote we can change things for the better, we must at least still believe that. Avoiding complacency with our government is where it begins. You want to see change? Do it and be it. In order to change any negative notion about how our elected officials treat our Constitution, I must vote.
Since becoming a mother, I still vote. I vote with my children.
I remember that first year, with a four month old in my Ergo baby carrier. John was so chunky then. And fussy. And loud. We called him the pterodactyl for good reason. Not too long of a line, not a presidential election, but still, it was tough. A crying baby, a new mom, juggling him up and down, trying to circle the little black dots and just choose which court justices I cared about. But I did it. And John and I both left with our little stickers. Proud mama moment.
And we voted, again, in the small elections, both in August and November. It is an honor to vote on our elected officials and various proposals affecting our community. And one day — despite this blog — maybe I’ll even run myself.
And when my daughter was born, all three of us stood in that presidential election line — for at least an hour and a half — we cried our way, and nursed our way, through the line. It was also cold. I had to ask the person at the end of the line if I could stand behind them once the line reached inside. We waited by the door. And I was that mom. With the stroller, and the snacks, and the baby wrap, and the screaming, and the hitting, and the running past the guard rails. I remember thinking, why didn’t I just do absentee?! I’m sure the people in line with me thought the same. But the whole way, two year old John said, “I vote!” After I reached the front of the line, and we went into our little area to exercise my free right as a citizen of the United States of America, I voted with my children by my side. I taught them a greater lesson than just telling them ever would. We voted.
And we will vote, all three of us, on Tuesday.
Will I do an absentee ballot in 2016 for the next presidential election? Absolutely not. It’s an uncomfortable hour or so, but the people around me aren’t the ones that matter. The impression I leave on my dear children matters. Walking into that building, entering the voting booth; this is all an experience for my children, and I hope, they will remember it and honor their right all their lives.
If we don’t show them how to vote, who will?
If we don’t teach them why they need to vote, who will?
So tomorrow, we will vote. John and May will learn how it’s done, and what needs to be done. As they grow older, they will respect the process. We’ll discuss the candidates and the issues. They will ask questions tomorrow, and I won’t shush them, I will answer them and teach them. It’s a process, and I’m teaching them. They are my precious ones and I am proud to teach them. And every year after, we will vote. Together.