February has arrived, yea!
I love February.
And, not for the reasons you might think. Sure, I love Valentines' Day, though I must admit I enjoy it infinitely more having someone to share it with. And, February is my birthday month. I love birthdays, mine, yours, anyone's, really. But celebrating my birthday, and this year's is a biggie, is still not the source of my affection for the shortest month. Who isn't enamored with Punxsutawney Phil? (Hooray for early Spring!) And, in addition to Black History month, did you know that February is also: American Heart Month, International Boost Self-Esteem Month, International Embroidery Month, Library Lovers Month, National Cherry Month, National Children’s Dental Health Month, National Snack Food Month, and Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month? In celebration of these important observances, I plan to drive by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on my way to the gym where I will work-out for the sake of my heart and to keep my endorphins flowing and spirits up. On the way home, I'll swing by the public library to borrow some books about Chinese New Year (another February event). While in transit to the library, and using my hands free device of course, I will schedule annual dental check-ups for the boys. On the way home I'll stop by the grocery store to buy cherries and pretzels and then I'll leave my shopping cart in the appropriate location.
But I digress.
The reason I love February so much, is because of President's Day. That's right, I'm a great big, President's Day loving geek. And, more specifically, I'm an American President junkie. I know what you're thinking, wow, she's weird, and maybe I am, but I can't help it, I've always been this way. When I was a kid, 7 or 8 maybe, I memorized the US Presidents in order from George Washington to Ronald Reagan (at the time). Incidentally, in 8th grade, we got extra credit for knowing the presidents in order, so that little exercise ended up paying off big time. I used to do all my history reports on US Presidents too, especially the obscure ones. How much does anyone really know about Warren G. Harding? Or, James Buchanan? Or William Henry Harrison? Okay, so there isn't all that much to know about him since Harrison died after only 32 days in office, but how intriguing is that? Right?
I am fascinated by all things presidential. When I was young I used to think it would be great to be president. Clearly, I was very young. Now, I am confident it is just about the worst job imaginable and you'd have to pay me a heck of a lot more than 400K a year to take it on. Speaking of which, has anyone noticed how much President Obama has aged in the last couple of years?
Or, maybe that's just me?
|Inauguration Day 2008 (image from here)|
|January 2011 (image from here)|
Pretty dramatic for a guy who won't be 50 until later this year.
This month is also Ronald Reagan's birthday, his 100th in fact. The radio shows and newspapers are peppered with pieces discussing Reagan's legacy and impact. In 2004, when Reagan's casket lay in state in the US Capitol, Kenny and I stood in line on the Mall for 8 hours to file past it. Neither of us was or is particularly devoted to Reagan (not like these people), but it is a rare occasion when anyone lies in state in the US Capitol Rotunda and we wanted to participate in the history of that moment. While awaiting our turn, we met dozens of people who had taken time off work and left kids with babysitters so they could do they same. People had driven from 100s, even 1000s of miles away to be there. See, I'm not the only presidential junkie out there.
At our house, we are talking a lot about presidents these days. What they do, who they are and what that means to us. I always wonder how much of what I tell my kids is being absorbed and every once in awhile I get a clear signal that I'm not just talking to fill the silence. Yesterday we were in the car and NPR was on the radio. The commentator mentioned something about the White House, and Isaac yells out, "That's Obama's house." I was so proud.
To celebrate President's Day this year, we have no big plans, but we'll certainly enjoy the 3-day weekend and maybe make a visit to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, James Madison's Montpelier, or Richard Nixon's Presidential Library in Maryland. No matter what we do, however, a trip to the National Portrait Gallery and a stop by the America's Presidents exhibit is definitely in the offing. Did you even think President's Day could be so much fun?
|image from here|