Section 6: Election Night 2008 – Our story

This post is part of an archived series of blogs called The LeVine Line, written by former Ambassador Suzan G. LeVine during her time at U.S. Embassy Bern.

25 October 2016

Election night 2008 will be forever etched in our minds – yes, because of the results. But also because it was a great moment of parenting. My daughter three years old at the time, and I had been campaigning in Florida the day before and flew up to Chicago on election day to meet up with Eric and our then six-year-old son, who had flown in from Seattle.

We had brought our kids with us for the evening results-viewing event in Grant Park. We were standing in the enormous crowd and were about ten meters from the stage where the Obama family would come out to greet the crowd. As the results from the states came in, we knew that it was going to be a great night, but were anxiously anticipating when the California polls would close so that the official final result could be called. A few minutes prior to that time, our daughter, who was on my back in a baby carrier said “I need to go potty – bad.” Parent or patriot – that was the question. Obviously – parent first, but let’s just say I’ve never navigated a crowd more quickly in order to get her relief.

When we finally returned, at the moment of the announcement – we realized what had been keeping our son so occupied down below our knee level. He had been busy on the grass, gathering it all up into a football-sized wad of grass clippings that he threw up into the air like confetti when the celebration started – covering everyone around us (many in very nice suits) with bits of dirt and grass.  It was a magical, memorable, and hilarious moment that we will always cherish.

As the Obama victory sunk in and the excitement continued through speeches, singing, crying, dancing and a lot of hugging, it was clear that the kids’ batteries had run out. One of the best images of the evening is each of us with a kid sound asleep on our shoulders with Obama temporary tattoos on their cheeks.