First Lady Love

Michelle Obama

I love my First Lady.

I was so pumped after watching her speech last night, it took me an extra hour and half to fall asleep. I went to bed this morning and awoke this morning with the same feeling I had on November 5, 2008, the morning after Barack Obama was elected president: that anything is possible.

Even having an adoring husband seated miles away, embracing our children as he watches me on television with a look that says, “Mmhmm. That’s why we have these two children.”

I was delighted to spot a few men tweeting about black love last night—healthy black love. Twitter chatter is usually about dysfunctional black relationships used as entertainment.

Michelle Obama is the sole reason I tuned my television to the Democratic National Convention last night. I didn’t watch the RNC at all (can’t have that much hate in my space) and I’m not into pep rallies that are just as full of promises that may not pan out as they are of digs at the other side. But I don’t know how many more times I will get to see Michelle Obama as the First Lady, and I’m cherishing each one. No matter if her term as First Lady ends in January or in another four years, I will miss her presence. She makes me proud. She makes me want to step my game up—in humility and grace, in fitness, as a professional, as a fashionista and after last night, as a writer. She makes it okay to have high standards for myself and for the man I choose.

She is the reason I can forgive her husband for declaring, both in word and in silence on certain issues and policies, that he is “not the president of black America.” I know he can’t see and love her the way I’m sure he does and forget about the rest of us who want to be her.

I know. She didn’t mention us directly, either. But I believe black people, and black women especially, will always go crazy over her because she validates us. She makes our contribution to this country real, substantial and appreciated.

Her speech last night renewed another possibility for me: the belief that there’s a reward at the end of hard work. I’ve had my doubts about this for years now. I believe the safety net for when shit happens to a hardworking person who would otherwise be successful, wealthy, or both were it not for bad luck, is still faulty at best. But I’m back to thinking the kind of work ethic Michelle Obama’s father displayed even through sickness is worth more than the dignity it brings to the worker (not that dignity has a price). And a couple days after Labor Day, that the worker is important. And that someone who knows that, from both experience and from empathy, is running for president.

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