the other day happened to be election day. sure, it can be hard to get to the polls for many people. for people with small children, it’s damn near impossible.
luckily for greg and i, my in-laws stopped by and offered to sit with the kids while we ran up real quick to the middle school nearby to cast our votes. unluckily for everyone involved, ruth had other ideas.
“ruth, why don’t you stay here with uma and papa? dad and i will be right back…in like five minutes. that’s a really short time).” she furrowed her brow at me. then she started to whine in the subtle but persistent way that i knew indicated that if we tried to leave, it was going to get ugly real fast. girlfriend is like an Alzheimer’s patient with a bad case of sundown syndrome. as soon as it gets dark, she gets all panicky. i looked at greg with a look that said, this is not going to happen. “let’s just skip it this year,” i said resigning myself to staying. “no,” he said, suddenly a devoted patriot, “we are not going to let her stop us from voting.” “alright, fine,” i said. then to ruth, “ruth do you want to come with us?” her face lit up, “yes!” “then you need to get ready ’cause we gotta go now.”
there was some back and forth. would she put on her boots? no. she has to put them on or she can’t come. why doesn’t she just stay, offered my mother-in-law. “NOOO!!!!” ruth replied. fine, then put on the boots. the boots aren’t fitting right, ruth is getting agitated. fine, i’ll carry you, just bring the boots. but you have to wear pants. she doesn’t like her pants. we need to leave now, ruth. if you wanna come, you need to put pants on. you can’t show up to the polls pant-less. why not? well, i guess you could….just put your pants on! how about your jacket? it’s cold out there. no? ok, then we’ll just bring it. ok, let’s GO.
so, we took ruth to the polls. she was very curious about the whole thing, and a little mistrusting. after all, where in the world were we going in the dark in such a rush? it was one question after another. are we driving far? where are we going? will it take a long time? greg and i did our best to explain the democratic process to her.
we broke it down into terms she could relate to. “ruth, you know how we live in the state of michigan? well, our state is just one state in an entire country of states. fifty states. and our country has rules. laws. and people that make the laws. that’s called the government. and, as citizens of our country, people who live here, we get to vote and decide who is in charge of making the laws and also we get to decide certain laws and rules we want or don’t want.”
then: are we going in the school? why are we going in the school? is this where people go to school? then she wanted to watch everything from me handing over my id to them giving me my ballot, which i had to show to her and explain how it worked. then, she came with me to the booth and wanted to watch as i filled in my ballot, but i couldn’t hold her and fill in the bubbles at the same time so she settled for climbing around underneath it like a fort, almost knocking it over.
wow, that was a lot to go through just to fill in four bubbles with a bic pen.
on the plus side, there was a map of dearborn on the wall and we got to show it to her and where we live on it. she has been more into maps lately due to the map character in her dora movie she watches with her grandparents.
and i think greg and i got a real taste of the democratic process. everyone’s voice must be heard. including a three-year-olds.