Breathe. That's what I kept having to remind myself this week.
On Sunday evening the bureaucratic wheels in DC started turning, splicing, slicing, dissecting, and parsing the possibility of mentioning Erin in President Barack Obama's speech at the Points of Light conference hosted by former President George H.W. Bush in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Points of Light Foundation.
This was a very low probability event. Almost completely unlikely. Maybe 1 in 330,000,000.
It took most of several days for a final decision.
It happened despite the odds.
Erin was such a political junkie that I have to believe that she would have appreciated all the twists and turns the week brought, and especially the VIP treatment at the talk. to put her fervor into context, here's a selection from the entry I wrote the day after the election last fall, appropriately titled, Junkie (Politics and Pickles).
Erin returned to school yesterday, medicated with tylenol-3, and when I picked her up she seemed washed out and spent. Oh me of little faith. After a brief rest, she started getting geared up for the evening. She began by flipping through all of the television channels, matching the channel number and the network to the television program guide, thus creating a list of which channels were covering the election at what times. Then, she found an internet list of states organized by their poll closing time, which she highlighted and marked with various information about whether they were safe, likely, leaning, or toss up states and if there were contested Senate races in them. By 5:30, she had staked out the prime spot on the living room floor. As the first polls closed and the pundits and analysts started chanting over the numbers, Erin had the remote in her hand, surfing channels, while simultaneously clicking through on her laptop to sites like http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/ and nytimes.com looking for the freshest returns. Every time a state went in her favor (actually Barack Obama's favor), she headed to the kitchen for a celebratory pickle! I wonder what her sodium and potassium levels will look like when she has her labs drawn tomorrow?
Here is a link to the C-SPAN video.
This video begins with President George H.W. Bush, with President Obama following. Erin's story is near the end (Around 26:30), but I think the message of service is one you might not mind sitting through. Of course, you will want me to add commentary and soon, but for now, I'm trying to remember to breathe.
Thanks all around: to Chet Edwards for having the idea that Erin was just what the President needed for his speech and for having the audacity to pursue the idea, to Jim Papa for selling the idea, for the speechwriters to capture Erin so succinctly, yet accurately, and to our President for delivering.
And thank you all for following Erin's point of light.