The Breakfast Club
From time to time, we stop and remind ourselves to enjoy some of the amazing things we’ve experienced in our lives. For me, it happened, again, Monday as I participated in my third Presidential Inauguration. I remember years ago when I was in fifth grade and the son of a family friend attended the Inauguration. I had him come speak to my class about his experience. I remember thinking how incredible that all must have been…never expecting that one day I would have my own memories from three of them. We’re reminded to, at some point on “game day,” stop and take a look around and take in all that we see and realize that we are a part of history in the making.
It’s at these times when I also remind myself just who I am. At my core, I’m just a small town girl. It wasn’t all that small to me when I was growing up, but after living away from home for several years, I realize it was just that. People like me aren’t supposed to grow up and become employees of an organization responsible for orchestrating one of the most important ceremonies of our entire country. And then I remember I’m not alone.
This time around I had the privilege to work on the Inauguration with some of my very favorite people. There’s the one who grew up on a farm (he may call it a ranch) in New Mexico who has brought so much joy and support to my life that I can’t imagine my life without him. And the one who is adopted and makes me wonder what if he hadn’t been adopted. Would he have ever been who he is today? He can drive me bananas, but when he gets out of bed the morning after the Inauguration (after working the previous two months on a 24/7 schedule) and comes to work just to give me a hug and thank me for my hard work, I forget about the bananas because he’s the one who’s been through all three of these with me and he KNOWS what surviving one of these (much less three) really means. Or the one who grew up in a small town in Michigan, the only son of parents who own the local hardware store. He’s the one who worked and saved his money so he could afford to move to Washington, DC without a job, so he could look for one once he got here. He’s the one who keeps a smile on my face…whose eyes everyone should get to see the planning of the Inauguration through. There’s the sweet girl who’s the daughter of one of my favorite office managers. It’s her face that lights up when she sees me walk in the room. It’s her I stop by and see to make sure she’s keeping her sanity and isn’t going to cry herself to sleep over the stress. The one I tell “everything’s going to be ok” and “it’s in no way, shape or form her fault that something stupid just happened.” There’s the lady whose laugh is contagious. Who has some of the best advice in the world and two of the greatest listening ears ever created. She’s our fearless leader and the one who escorts the Vice President to his seat and instead of clapping and cheering for a Vice President I really do adore, I yell at the top of my lungs in excitement and pride for her because she’s my friend and she just escorted the freaking Vice President of the United States to his freaking seat on freaking national television.
That’s when I stop and ask myself, “how does this happen?” How do all these people come together at this very moment…having known each other for years…and end up planning and orchestrating an event of this magnitude with practically perfect precision? The small town girl, the New Mexico farm boy, the crazy adopted dude, the Michigan blue collar kid, the Capitol Hill legacy, and the fearless leader pulled it off with a lot of help from a lot of new faces who quickly became old friends, too.
Somewhere along the way I stop and say it doesn’t matter just how each of us made it to this very moment in time. It only matters that we did because looking back, I realize I wouldn’t have wanted to go through this experience with any other group of people. Together we made history, we recorded memories, and we changed lives…including our own.