"Are you sorry yet?"
That's what the bumper sticker on the SUV festooned with other Grand Old Party sentiments was asking me as we waited for the traffic light to change.
I imagine the person inside had slapped that sucker up the moment polls closed in November of 08.
I wanted to ram the gas guzzling middle finger of a vehicle with the force of a thousand auto crushers.
Thing is, I may be angry but I'm not sorry. I believe Barack Obama was the best choice we had for a leader. I believe he is a good person who has made and will continue to make decisions based on what he truly believes to be in the nation's best interest. Decision that will undoubtedly be unpopular to people along all political spectrums.
I would like to see this country embrace socialized medicine.
I would like to see this country turn its back on war.
I would like to see this country spend its earnest efforts and our money on innovation and education; not corporate megaliths beholden to stockholders and their own golden parachutes. And not on the machinery of destruction.
I would like to see the newspaper industry go non-profit.
I would like people who rail on about their "God given rights," realize that they were wrong. Rights are given by governments we elect, and which have been happily taking them away while still touting our freedom.
I know these thing I want may never be realized. And yet, I still have hope.
This has been an amazing year for us as a family.
Ittybit started kindergarten, and it has been wonderful for her and for us. It has been far from the exercise in futility and the uphill battle I had envisioned. She still dresses herself in loud, alternating patterns. She still marches to the beat of her own drummer.
The Champ has been, for the most part, a happy little monster who always keeps us guessing. He is hysterically random and, at times cunningly contrary.
HIM: "I don't want that cookie. I don't want that cookie."
ME: So ... do you want that Cookie.
He has not, however, slept through a single night yet.
That has been hard on us as parents, and perhaps on us as a couple, too. But it also seems that without much discussion the fact that this time won't last forever makes it somehow seem tolerable. Maybe that's just wishful thinking, or some incomprehensible chapter in the bedtime story of interrupted REM cycles. But smiles here and there between us seem to be some evidence that we are on the same page.
Of course, like most Americans, I look back at 2009 and see it as being a personally difficult year.
I have shut the door on our beloved barn, tearing up the very first time I chastised one of my children for leaving the door to our new house wide open: "We don't live in a barn anymore, you know."
I have been slow in embracing our new home. It wasn't until one day ... months after we'd removed our last box ... that I was struck by the fit. We hadn't purchased one single thing for the new living room or family room or office. The place just seemed meant for us ... for our stuff.
I have learned a lot this year about myself. About tolerance and lack thereof.
I have learned about standing up for myself. I have learned about the necessity, in some cases, of burning bridges.
I look at my mother, who was diagnosed with cancer for a fourth time, and realize life is too short to suffer for long with anything we know to be damaging to our souls.
As I look at my mother, I also am shown myself. A mother, bound to be reviled for the choices I made, the things I said, the roads I made my family take ... no matter what choices they were. Perhaps revered, too. Eventually.
Looking back I see where there is room for so many regrets. Rest that didn't meet relaxation. Anger that could have used better management.
But ... am I sorry?
No, I am not. I am not even ambivalent. I still believe.