La Petite was three weeks too young to vote in the last presidential election. She turned 18 in December of that year and registered to vote the following spring. She did her homework on the candidates and the local referendum, taking her civic responsibility very seriously. Each poll worker congratulated her on voting for the first time, and the man who handed her the "I Voted" sticker told her a brief story about a young woman he'd known who had cast her first vote at the same neighborhood polling place that we do, and a few years later ran for a local office and won.
When she went to college, she registered and voted there. She even talked her apolitical boyfriend into voting by convincing him that the people in office really did make a difference in his life. She passed on literature to him and to her roommate to make sure they made educated choices.
La Petite isn't likely to run for office, but ever since she was 13 and I took her to a Tipper Gore rally, she's been curious about the whole political picture. Now that she's a journalism major and photographer for the school paper, she's had opportunities to cover campaign rallies on and near her campus. We've had some good talks: sharing our knowledge and experiences, discussing our potential voting decisions, and agreeing that the Big Media doesn't cover everything.
Now that the Democratic candidate is (almost officially) in place, we've talked about the two fabulous Senators. I've admired Hillary Clinton for years. La Petite was excited about Obama from the day he announced his candidacy. Somehow, we've never argued about our choices. We've agreed more than we've disagreed. And on primary day, both of us had to take deep cleansing breaths before we completed our ballots.
When I won my prizes from the MOMocrats, I shared the contents (ahem) with La Petite. When she goes back to school in the fall, it's likely she'll photograph more campaign rallies in her position as staff photographer, maybe even meet Senator Obama himself. And I'll watch with motherly pride, knowing she's watching history as it's happening, using her camera to convince her peers that yes, voting makes a difference.