When my wife, and all her passion, reacted to Trump’s victory in November by immediately booking a hotel room near D.C. with a friend so we could fight back. This didn’t settle for me until we were about two weeks out from the dark day Trump would be sworn in. It was real. It was going to happen. And we had a hotel room just miles from the event’s ground zero. In full disclosure, I didn’t want to go. I thought, being in a city I had never been to, surrounded by insane red hat wearing, hate filled Americans was about the worst ideas EVER. But again, Monica and all her wisdom, said, “we are going and we are going to march.” I am so thankful she did. As we drove across the eastern part of our great nation, I was reminded how unique and yet similar our communities are. As we drove I slipped into memories of growing up in a small town and how that was incredibly different from the world my kids are now growing up in within Chicago. But the very best part of our drive? The incredible feeling of community and love we felt at every rest stop. Each stop was filled with people wearing pink Pussy Hats. From Chicago to D.C., the march was already underway. The Turnpikes of Ohio and Pennsylvania were filled with license plates of motivated people from across the country. It was on! And, we were a part of it!
Saturday morning, after two nights in hotels, we arose and joined our friends from Chicago for breakfast in the Hotel’s restaurant. A yummy breakfast buffet that our kids, outfitted with whiskers and Pussy Hats, quickly gobbled up. I was battling a bit of a headache after enjoying a few too many celebratory Bourbons the night before. During my temple rubbing gaze around the lobby, I quickly found many others were readying for the march. But to my surprise, there were also a few peering at us with disapproval. Even a couple donned the tell-tale sign of bright red hats. They glared at us and shook their heads. Which I kindly replied with glares and headshaking of my own. I know our kids did not notice but that anger and intolerance is something I would luckily only feel a couple more times over the next 48 hours.
Bellies full, hats on, signs in tow, we arrived at the Metro station. It was then, the size and scale of the movement began to make itself known. A line three blocks long greeted us. Unfortunately, we were split from our friends who had been delivered to the OTHER side of the station which had an equally huge line. My kids, not exactly the models of patience, were not comprehending the enormity of what we were going to soon experience. However, other little ones found amusement on a damp leaf covered hill adjacent to our long pink infused line. Which helped them steer from an expected meltdown. Monica and I quickly made friends with those around us. A group of gals from Georgia, D.C., and Florida, outfitted in “Nasty Woman” hoodies were as excited as we were. We enjoyed Pictures, laughs, and stories which made the hour in line move by quickly. Of course, that hour wait was to only get into the station and get our tickets. Despite the massive crowds, everyone was respectful and very polite. Heck, even the Metro employees were smiling and cracking jokes. They didn’t let the heard of out-of-towners slow things down. They had reps at every machine to do the “work” for us. Thank god, cause it would have taken double the time if everyone had to navigate the vending machine challenge on their own.
After a brief break while on the train. We were back on our feet and wouldn’t leave them until more than eight hours later. To tell you the sight, that would come moments later, was amazing does the experience no justice. As we climbed onto the escalator moving up to the action, it was like we were passing into the light. Symbolically and literally, we moved from the dark and were saved by the light. We never got close to the rally speeches but the energy could be felt blocks away where we entered our adventure. For me, the burst of energy was matched with an equally powerful punch of anxiety. The crowd was immense and loud. People were in trees just trying to get a glimpse at the action on stage more than a block away. With my children in tow, we worked our way towards the marchers who were already taking to the streets. Although, our progress was quickly stopped when bathroom breaks were needed. Much to the frustration of my daughter, I might add. She was hungry for action and was a natural protester. Likely because she’s been protesting her parents since birth. I mean one of her first words was “NO” for Pete’s sake.
I think it’s appropriate to mention here that none of us had ever been to D.C. And for me, a huge history nerd was in immediate awe of the sights. I mean out of the Metro, we were looking at the Capitol. The Capitol! Then the Washington Monument! I could clearly see the different stones it was made of which I had read about but never seen with my own eyes. But, like my daughter reminded me, we were there for business. Of course, that business came with a price, as simultaneously my kids broke down. On one hand, my daughter was pissed we weren’t marching and was “bored.” While my son, who would never be comfortable with the crowds, didn’t want to do anything but go eat. Of course, this was going down while being surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people. So when they stormed off in different directions, my blood pressure spiked like a Misty May winner on the beach. Luckily the grumpy passed, both on their part and mine, well, mostly mine. The moment was so big, we had to! So we wiped our eyes and jumped back into line with our pink army and marched, and marched, and chanted, and posed for pictures, and took Facebook live videos, and, and, and…I’ll pick this story up in my next post!
I’ll pick this story up in my next post so please stay tuned.
If you marched please share your story! I would love to hear your take on this momentous day as well!
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Filed under: Me being Me