Harrison recognized Michelle Obama on Sesame Street. Pointed and made sure I was looking. Then sighed and went back to watching intently, because she shared the screen with Elmo and a talking tomato, and one can only ask so much of a one-year-old boy.
I see, Harry. I see the First Lady. She's talking about growing vegetables and looking fantastic. I think it's cool that you know who that is. It feels like it means something. It feels right that you should recognize her.
Lennon calls Barack "Uncle Bama" still. She saw him on TV about two years ago, and could sense that he was someone important. She, too, shared his presence with me. I remember still how she looked back and smiled big, and said, as though it were Santa Claus himself, "That's Uncle Bama!" I loved it so much, I asked her to name him every chance I could.
I started to wonder if it was not weirdly offensive to someone who conjures images of Uncle Tom or Uncle Remus with her mispronunciation of our President's first name. It's sad that I thought of that, isn't it? That I worried someone would hear "Uncle Bama" in the grocery store, and take it for a crude nickname from the whitest-looking girl in America. I assure you, suspicious one, it was born of awe and excitement. It came from knowing he would mean something. I stopped worrying about it, and just took comfort in the way she felt about him.
I love that Harrison wanted to show me Michelle. "Look, Ma, you know that lady. You cried that one time she was on TV. See? She's on my shows." And it made me proud of my children, because they seem to know great, important people when they see them.
Of course, it's also highly likely he just thought First Lady Michelle Obama was grandma. They kind of have the same hair.