I really like the Queen. I know that sounds strange, particularly from an American, but I do. She's like a national grandmother – odd hats and a big purse you just know has a tissue and some breath mints in there. It's kind of hard to picture her cuddled up with the grandkids and a Dr. Suess book, but she has that grandmother vibe. As an American, though, I really like the idea of having a symbol of the country that's outside the mess that is politics. She's the Queen, yes, but she's also a figurehead. Any political decision you don't like, well, that's the fault of the Prime Minister and parliament. The Queen shows up to meet dignitaries, open schools and hospitals, and host tea. You can like the Queen and not like the British government.
That's not the case in the US. If you don't like the politics, it's really hard to like the President. Even if he is there to open a hospital, you might still be grumbling about what he did that morning. There's no way to separate the two.
However, I think it's okay to like the First Family, even if you don't care for the President. And I really like our new First Family – especially Sasha and Malia.
The President's children have a tough row to hoe, and it's not their fault. Their dad took a job that put them in a giant fishbowl for the whole world to gawk at. They have nothing to do with the politics or what's going on in the White House; they're just trying to grow up under the harshest of spotlights. Sure, they live in a really cool house and they'll do and see things the rest of us can only dream about, but the trade-off for sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom is harsh.
I can't imagine trying to go through the awkward stages of puberty in public like Chelsea Clinton – only to be fodder for the late-night comics. It's bad enough to get caught trying to by beer underage, but the Bush twins had to deal with the Today show wondering if they're closet alcoholics. How do you date with a Secret Service detail on your heels? How do you handle hearing your dad bashed by every pundit on the planet? It's a lot of weight for kids to carry.
So I'm already sympathetic to the First Kids. Of course, the fact the Obama girls are so freaking cute doesn't hurt their cause with me. And Sasha – that kid owns me. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact she and AC are the same age, but I just want to squeeze her and then have her over for a sleepover in AC's room with s'mores and cocoa.
Maybe it's because I'm getting older and I understand things differently. Maybe it's because I know how I'd worry if AC were thrust into that kind of spotlight. In addition to everything else I worry about as a Mom, now I have to worry about security risks to my child? Listen to everyone and their brother criticize everything she does or, even worse, make fun of her on TV? Worry that life in the White House is going to turn her into an entitled brat or screw with her head so badly it will take years of therapy to sort back out? Mercy, that whole First Lady gig isn't sounding so great now – fabu clothes aside.
I'll reserve judgment on our new President for a while, but I'm lovin' our new First Family. I love the idea of young kids in the White House. It will certainly shake things up around there. After all, as any parent knows, life with small kids is a zoo where the animals roam free.
I wonder if the First Family is allowed to hang crayon drawings on the fridge door?
So, forget the President...how cute are those kids? Didn't they do amazingly well being on “show” all day Tuesday? (I think one of my favorite moments on Tuesday was during one of the prayers or the poem or something and the cameras were on the President. Behind his head, you could see these little orange gloves bouncing around. A moment later, the green glove came over and pressed the orange gloves gently into Sasha's lap. Every mom can relate, right?) Would you trust your kids to behave on world-wide TV?