>> Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Today was just like any ordinary day. I got up this morning around 6:00 a.m. and got ready for work, took the girls to school and then drove to the office for the usual day. After I got off of work at 3:00 I drove to the high school to pick the girls up, as usual. Most generally, I get there a few minutes before the girls make their way out of the building, so I sit in the car and listen to my music, (most often Mozart, of course), and wait until they get there. Today, as I saw Lauren making her way out of the building I observed that she had a huge grin across her face. I thought that perhaps someone had just said something funny to her, or something really exciting had happened to her at school. So when Lauren got in the car I inquired, "What's the big grin about?" And you're not even going to be able to imagine what she said, "I'm just sooooo excited because I'm going to vote!"
Lauren turned 18 in September, and one of the very first things that she did was register to vote. I'll never forget the day she received her voter ID card in the mail. She literally jumped up and down like a kid in a candy store! I'm not kidding. This girl was that excited over it! Today when we pulled into the parking lot of the Stillwater Airport, (our polling place), she jumped out of her seat and flew out the car door. When we got into line she was still grinning from ear-to-ear. She proudly walked up and presented her ID card and signed her name. Then she told the man who handed Lauren her ballot that she was a first-time voter and asked him if he could explain to her what she needed to do. The woman sitting next to him looked up at me and smiled and said, "We need more young people who are as excited about voting as her!" Needless to say, I was proud of her, as I am always.
When we arrived home she changed into her uniform for work and proudly donned her "I Voted" sticker on her shirt. As we walked out the door she was still grinning as she exclaimed, "I just exercised one of my Constitutional rights! I now have a voice in this country!" Her enthusiasm was contagious and it gave me pause to think about the times when I have taken that right, my voice, for granted, and not exercised it as I should have.
From now on, when it comes election time, I will remember the enthusiastic smile on the face of my eighteen-year-old daughter, and perhaps it will cause me to remember what a joy it truly is to exercise my right to vote.