Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Absentee Voter

Today is election day (as if you didn't know already).  You can hardly hop on Facebook or Twitter without getting pummeled with election and political information.  I've been looking forward to this day for a while now because, quite honestly, I'm just so tired of it all.  I'm tired of the campaigning, the speeches, the debates.  I'm tired of all the Facebook posts, signs and oodles of mail asking for a donation.  It's just all getting so old.

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But I'll confess, my passion was reignited today.  Reading all the tweets about the loonnnng poll lines.  Seeing pictures of my friends' "I voted" stickers.  And just plain knowing we've reached the end ... has me excited.  And grateful.  So my leaf on our Thankful Tree today, nestled amongst all the "I'm thankful for treats" and "I'm thankful for Mommy pushing me on the swing" and "I'm thankful for iced tea" leafs, is this one:

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Because at the end of the day, no matter which direction the election goes or even who is running, I at least have a say.  And people have fought very hard, and many have died, for that privilege.  And that's a right I never want to take lightly.  Which why I'm sitting here and watching election coverage on the news, despite the fact that my political husband isn't even home AND I have a new Emma DVD staring me down, begging to be watched.  Because I want to be present, I want to be a part and more than all that I don't want to be ambivalent.

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That said, I didn't vote today ... I actually voted last week.  In the middle of the hurricane.  I made sure my husband ran our ballots out to the mailman, in the pelting rain, just as soon as I heard his engine revving up the street.  Because as hard as I'm trying to be present in this election, I'm technically an absentee voter, compliments of the military.  

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This probably an advantage for me. I'd much prefer to cast my vote in Pennsylvania than any other state.  And hearing from many of my friends who stood in line to vote today with their little ones in tow ... I'm thankful I didn't have to draw up that courage.  Even so, I felt a little left out.  It must be so satisfying to pull that lever, or whatever it is you guys do (since I have never been able to personally vote in an election). I mean, I don't even know if my ballot made it to our polling center.  A receipt would be nice.  Or even better, an "I voted" sticker so that everyone else around me would know I care too.  But alas, the most political thing I've done all day is turn on the news after the kids went to bed.

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Instead we went to Target.  Because the boys needed some soap and, since my small children have not yet grasped the conept of Daylight Savings Time, Mama needed some Starbucks.  And after that, well let's just say it's never difficult to come up with reasons to go to Target: A Berenstein Bear book here, a $5 Emma DVD there, and some Echinacea to build us up for holiday travels ... you know how it is.  And potty breaks.  Geesh, potty breaks are kicking my rear this week.  I never considered how having two potty-trained youngsters would impact my errand-running.  And I can only imagine what that will look like once Julia gets older.  Forget making everyone go before we walk out the door, it doesn't matter.  One of them always has to use the restroom once we reach somewhere.  And since going potty is contagious, well it's inevitable we'll all end up cramming into the stall wherever it is we end up.

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Speaking of cramming into restroom stalls, did you ever notice how high the toilets are in public restrooms?  Or the lack of stools?  Neither did I, until I had kids.  Who can't reach the toilet.  At least not unless I lift them up, which is pretty tricky while also holding a 13 month old.  And I'm sure you've noticed how dirty the floors are in public restrooms... *sigh* I cringe.

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So funny story, or maybe not.  Jude decided he needed to go potty in Target today.  I mean, really had to go.  Like holding himself and jumping up and down had to go.  So picture the store as a large square.  The bathrooms are in the upper left corner and we ... were all the way in the bottom right corner.  As far away from Pottytown as possible.  So I tossed him into the basket, Jack jumped on the back of the cart and held on tight, and I told them all we were going to "zoom" through the store if Jude could just hold it for 2 minutes longer.  And zoom we did.

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Until Jack decicded he wanted to get off the cart.  Without warning.  Just stepped off the back and didn't move.  Well, he moved once the cart rammed into him and plowed him over.  And threw Jude into the back.  And gave Julia whiplash and knocked my coveted cuppa Starbucks right out of my hands and all over my baby girl.  Who started screaming (whether from hot coffee or whiplash I'm still not sure.)  Which all caused a red-shirted associate to ask "Is everything okay?"  And I assure her all is fine while I'm wiping up coffee and clutching my daughter.

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We pushed forward towards the restroom, Jack walking, me holding Julia and pushing the cart at a much slower pace, and Jude still holding his pee-pees.  And I concede that I must look like an utter fool.  Perhaps it's a good thing I didn't get an "I voted" sticker today.

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Regardless, tomorrow morning we'll (hopefully) know who will be president next year.  Despite my absentee status I have been present in this election.  And maybe after tomorrow we can go back to all the fun stuff that gets posted on social media.  Like pictures of dinner, snarky ecards and stories about little boys that have to go potty in Target.  I can't wait.

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