Monday, January 19, 2009

An Open Letter to The Quartet

President Barack Obama recently wrote an open letter to his daughters for Parade magazine because that is the publication his 10- and 7-year-olds read regularly, so he knew they'd see it there.

I have no idea what kind of president Mr. Obama will be, but he seems to be a pretty good father. I was inspired by his letter and wrote one of my own to my children. Parade magazine declined to publish it, which is fine, as my kids have no idea what that is anyway. For them to see this letter, I'd have to have Homer Simpson read it on air. So, for now, I'll let you read it.

Dear C and JP and S and GK,

I would like to address you at this time as we embark on a new chapter of our nation's history.

I ask you today to think of things larger than yourself. As President Obama recently asked of his own daughters, I encourage you to hitch your wagon to causes greater than the individual. But first I ask you to pick your socks up off the floor and take your dishes to the sink. Wipe up that spill, please.

This isn't The White House. No one here is scurrying around to assure that your taxpayer-funded home is kept pristine.

I hope you children have taken from this last presidential campaign, and recent inauguration, that even you, too, can one day be the President of the United States. Or, at least, a voter.

Until then, however, I am the president of this house, and my vision is clutter-free. There is no spilled milk here, it is a land with no half-eaten Pop-Tarts left on a chair.

And as much as I want you to hitch your wagon of promise to great dreams, I also want you to promise me you will pull that wagon out of the front yard and to the back at the end of the day, because it looks tacky; and also because this is Memphis and someone will surely steal that wagon of hope if it's left out.

In these heady days of change, regardless of your politics, kids, embrace Barack Obama as your new commander in chief, but remember, always, that I am your commander in this house. Now, please, bring me my drink.

Love, Dad