As the Mom-in-Chief of my house, you had better believe politics is personal...which is why I packed up the kids, all my medication, the wheelchair, and made the trip across the entire country so we could be part of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
It might seem a bit crazy...a Mom with Lupus, a nine-year old, a seven-year old, and more doctor's restrictions than GOP obstruction moves, but I knew I had made the right choice when my son was asking me why anyone would think climate change was a hoax and my daughter, after watching DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, turned to me and declared "Mom, she was really great! I really like her!"
Think about that for a second. My son, all of nine years old and fidgeting like a typical boy, was listening intently enough to catch the President calling out climate change deniers. My daughter was INSPIRED by an accomplished female politician at the age of SEVEN. How many of you could say the same at that those ages? Or could come close to having those opportunities?
The convention gave our family moments we will never forget.
Not just the easy things like watching speech after speech, or seeing senators and Secret Service agents in the hallway, but the hard things. Like having to discuss freedom of speech after I made them close their eyes while we walked by anti-abortion protestors.
Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance along with former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and having to explain to them both why I was crying so hard and why she was walking so slowly.
Taking to their feet to cheer our military men and women and our military families—a seemingly simple task. But then making the drive back to Fayetteville where we stayed with our own military family—prompting my son to hug his uncle just a bit tighter, my daughter to ask her cousin what it was like when her Dad was deployed.
And then, the moment they had waited for and told their friends about: getting to see the President accept the party's nomination. My son swore he was speaking "right to us, Mom" when he talked of change happening, like the "the girl who needed the heart surgery."
Mom, I know the President has helped you while you are sick. Now we have to get people to help him with votes.
Even my kid was fired up and ready to go.
But that's because my kids understand the Affordable Care Act is something President Obama did that helps their Mom with her Lupus. They don't understand HAMP 2.0 and ACA have also saved us from foreclosure, but that's not something we want to worry them with.
They also understand President Obama wants everyone to be equal, including friends of Mom and Dad's they love who have spent holidays in our home. They agree it's wrong to keep those friends from marrying. And they agree it's wrong to keep women from being paid the same as men. Everyone should be equal.
The look on my daughter's face when I told her there has never been a women president said it all.
But the look on her face as she cheered on the many women on stage, and our president speaking of that equality, gave her hope she could be the first.
As the confetti fell, watching them jump up and down cheering and waving their flags, I knew those 3,000 miles were worth it. But more importantly, I knew we had to be part of the convention to show other families going through similar hardships that it is time to take that extra step for the President. It is time to do things like skip that morning coffee and donate the money to the campaign, talk to your neighbors about what "Obamacare" really does, or show the world you will not be disenfranchised by making sure you are registered to vote.
It took everything in me to get the kids and I to Charlotte in the hopes of inspiring them and possibly you with our story. I've accomplished one of those goals...now help me with the other.
Because this is personal.
Erin Kotecki Vest, when not disabled by Lupus, is BlogHer, Inc.’s Social Media Strategist. Prior to joining BlogHer, she spent ten years as a broadcast journalist in Los Angeles, Orlando and Detroit winning six Golden Mic Awards with LA news institution KFWB. In addition, Erin speaks to audiences across the country and provides commentary for national media outlets on social media, women, parenting, politics and how they all intersect. When she's not in treatment for Lupus, you can find her at home in Los Angeles with her two children, VFX digital artist husband, and wonder dog and Bo Obama look-alike, @nickythepup. Find her on Twitter @queenofspain.