LEHI — “Grandpa!”
My two boys squealed in delight as we drove past a “Gov. Herbert” billboard on the freeway.
To them, “Grandpa Gary” is just that: their grandpa. He swings them high in the air whenever they come running in the room. He puts his nose right on theirs and whispers, “Hey, buddy.”
To me — whether father-in-law, grandpa, or governor — Gary R. Herbert is a man of integrity and grit. I’ve learned quite a bit about politics being a part of the Herbert clan, and the importance of voting and being an active citizen in the community.
Two weeks ago, I stood in line to vote with my two toddlers in tow. It was the third time I’d attempted early voting, walking away each time because the line was more than an hour long.
But on this particularly cool and drizzly October day, the line was relatively “short” — 40 minutes max. So, I dug around in my purse for some sugar and sent my oldest son off to find some fun books to read in line.
Amazingly, both boys were calm and patient. We read books, played with the iPhone and ate a whole box of Tic Tacs. People kept looking at my little munchkins and smiling, saying things like, “I cannot believe how well-behaved they are.” I couldn’t either.
We finally made it past the rows and rows of rope and into the voting room. A woman dressed head to toe as Uncle Sam, complete with sparkling stars shooting out from her hat, warmly greeted us. And besides a small detour to the provisional ballot table to double check we were in the right precinct (we recently moved back to Lehi from Salt Lake) and some frantic apologies when my boys discovered the piano and began pounding away, the process was fairly seamless.
With “I Voted” stickers on our shirts, I triumphantly exited with my little ones, so proud and grateful for what I just did. I looked down at my two boys and thought about what life was going to be like when they were 18.
Growing up Canadian, I didn’t have the appreciation I do now for the opportunity to vote. I didn’t know the difference between Republican and Democrat. I didn’t know what in the world a “caucus meeting” was.
I have to admit, I have loved being part of such a politically involved family. We have had some incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunities such as meeting President George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice. I’ve learned so much from the Herbert family about the importance of working together, whether it’s with family or the community.
I am incredibly grateful that I don’t have to risk my life to cast my vote — I honor those who have.
And this Election Day, I was grateful to be with my family, cheering on those I believe will make a difference in the United States of America of which I can now say I am a proud and enthusiastic citizen.