michelle made me cry not once but thrice

Earlier today I wrote a check for $18,880 to my son’s college.

image by idansimpson via flickr

It nearly made my hand cramp up, not used to writing and all that, but also because it barely fit on the line and I had to write really, really small:

eighteen thousand eight-hundred and eighty dollars and 00/100 cents

I messed up the first time, had to void the check. Freudian slip. Wishful thinking, perhaps.

Now don’t go thinking that I’m rich. Far from it. I don’t have that money sitting lazily in a checking account ready to be spent on just anything. It’s money borrowed, the interest ticking madly, compounding as we speak, or I write.

I had to wipe my eyes first, and no, I wasn’t crying because of the check (although I should). I was crying because I just corralled another member of my family into watching Michelle Obama’s speech. It was my third time, and each time I cried. Might have let it all out and sobbed had I not been embarrassed to get so emotional

Why did it resonate so much with me? Clearly I’m not alone. When I asked my son (via text, of course, the main mode of communication these days) to watch it he said he would, adding “All of my roomates said their Moms told them to watch it haha.”

If you haven’t watched it yet, do.  Seriously, do. I honestly believe that it is a speech that will resonate forever. It was a moment, in so many ways, on so many levels.

You may have children who are still playing with toys, or perhaps you are young and in love (and in debt, like Michelle and Barack in their early years). Remember that you too might some day have to face what it feels like writing that check, knowing that you are spending money you don’t have. Education should be affordable.

With many friends and family abroad, we are constantly explaining how the cost of sending our children to college will inevitably put us in serious debt, a concept totally foreign to them, while so universal amongst those American families with children the same age.

They are shocked, these friends, for they come from countries (you know, like France, Canada, etc.) where the only thing that could possibly limit one’s access to university might be the student’s scores on qualifying exams. They come, you see, from countries where health care is a given, where….

…anyway, watch the video, and vote.


2 thoughts on “michelle made me cry not once but thrice

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Michelle Obama’s speech was powerful. We are so lucky to have her as our our First Lady. Yep, lots of tears for me too.

    I have another decade before I have to write a check for college, but your post hit me right in the gut.

  2. I’m single, childless, but her words still resonated. I’ve watched two weeks now of convention coverage a la PBS (I don’t have cable…ha! I hardly have a tv by today’s standards) and concluded that Michelle’s speech helped to outline why I couldn’t wrap my brain around Ann’s – one was from someone who has never forgotten her humble beginnings; one was from a corporate wife who may have struggled, but with a safety net under her. College should Never not be an option for a child who has the desire to attend…not in the land of the ‘free’. ~

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