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Obama’s Pause: “I’m Not Going to See This Again”

Josh pointed out what has now become my favourite part of the Inauguration, which is a moment when Obama paused while leaving the ceremony to turn around for one last look.  He quietly tells the people around him who are waiting for him to continue, “I’m not going to see this again.”  And then he stands, surveying the area, taking in the moment, marking it.

It wasn’t even my moment to capture, but I love him for doing that.  For being mindful of the magnitude of the day.  Of not being afraid to show that emotion.

It was the best piece of advice Josh and I received for our wedding, and one that I’ve passed along to others.  We ducked into the corner of the room in the middle of the party and just stood together, watching our friends and family.  If we hadn’t mindfully paused to take it all in, I’m afraid the whole day would have raced past us.  Even with that pause, we could barely hold onto the joy we felt, the excitement of having everyone together, the enormity of all that love.  Moments like that are just too damn heavy.

Think of this as a reminder to pause today.  To take 10 seconds to notice something that you may never see again.

Because, who knows, the ChickieNob said.  “Maybe his wife will become the President in the future or one of his kids, and then he will see it again.”  And that’s it; you never know.  So soak it in regardless.

22 comments

1 Reese { 01.22.13 at 1:22 am }

Thank you for reminding me to stop and be grateful for the day today.

2 Heather S. { 01.22.13 at 1:30 am }

I had such a lump in my throat watching that moment in the inauguration. It was so very human and personal amidst the grand spectacle.

3 clare { 01.22.13 at 3:25 am }

:) exactly!

4 Mina { 01.22.13 at 3:42 am }

I wanted to watch it, but chores got in the way. Thank you for writing about it.
This is a particularly wise piece of advice. I try to remember it both in good and bad times.

5 Tiara { 01.22.13 at 7:48 am }

Love this! Reminds me of the episode of The Office when Jim & Pam got married & they took mental pictures.

6 loribeth { 01.22.13 at 8:21 am }

What an amazing sight that must have been… who wouldn’t want to stop and savour the moment?? Good for him for not letting his handlers rush him along to the next event.

This reminds me of how, about 10 years ago, SIL managed to wangle a pair of her boss’s front row courtside tickets to a Toronto Raptors basketball game for dh’s birthday. He was beyond thrilled. (The face value of the tickets was $650. EACH.) (For that price, I expected the chairs to be more comfortable, lol.) I remember saying to him, “Take a good look around, because you’re never gonna see a game like this again,” lol. We lingered at courtside after the game, just looking around & taking it all in.

7 Katie { 01.22.13 at 9:05 am }

The entire inauguration was touching to me, but this moment in particular was special. It’s a great reminder to appreciate each and every moment.

8 a { 01.22.13 at 9:06 am }

That ChickieNob has the most delightful mind!

9 Chickenpig { 01.22.13 at 9:43 am }

So true! I remember that moment at our wedding, too. We were married at a tree farm by a brook, and had a horse and carriage bring us from the ceremony site to the reception pavilion. Halfway across a beautiful meadow, the driver stopped, and we just soaked it in and stole a kiss. I don’t remember most of that day, but I remember that.

I snuck away from my kids yesterday to run upstairs and watch the inauguration for a little bit. I never do that normally, just sneak away, but I couldn’t convince them to give it a shot. I got to see most of his speech, and that wonderful moment when he looked back. And the bonus was that because I went to my room, one by one the kids followed me so I could share the moment with them and talk about the President. Win-win!

I LOVE what Chickienob said. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Sasha or Malia became President one day? I can’t see Michelle wanting to, but I can see one of them doing it. Maybe Chickienob will be President, and she can invite Obama to join her? :)

10 loribeth { 01.22.13 at 9:46 am }

A thought: Of course, as a past President, he would likely be invited to future inaugurations. ;) Presidents Clinton & Carter were there yesterday, I am told (had to work, didn’t get to watch :p), & both Presidents Bush were invited. So it’s likely that he WILL see that sight again. But it wouldn’t have quite the same meaning then, would it?

11 Julia { 01.22.13 at 10:56 am }

Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed seeing that.

12 Lacie { 01.22.13 at 11:55 am }

Oh, I love this!
My baby, the baby that I worked for over a decade to bring into my life, will turn one in ten short days (I just counted the days as I typed this and now I am crying…again). I never, until now, understood the big “baby’s first birthday” bash. I had trouble digesting why anyone would spend the kind of time and money that a big party consumes for a little one who has no clue about what’s going on and will never remember it. Now I get it. It’s a celebration for the parents of that monumental first year. Our big party will be on February 2nd, surrounded by a large group of family and friends. I am making a mental note (and might have to put a reminder in my phone) to STOP, PAUSE, and soak it all in. This will be a celebration of of my dream come true. This celebration was hard earned and so very worth the struggle.

Not to mention that he will be my one and only baby. My BABY!!! Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

13 Pepper { 01.22.13 at 11:58 am }

@Lacie, I feel the same way. Every day. My one and only baby is 21 months.

But for some reason, some days (like today when I read 3 FB pregnancy announcements before 10am), it makes it harder. It’s hard to think that, even when I am enjoying these beautiful moments and appreciating them, they truly will never happen again. And then I feel guilty because I am so grateful to have my daughter and I love her so. And of course she is enough. But I still think of what could be… if I did get a moment like this again.

14 Keiko { 01.22.13 at 1:44 pm }

The “soak it all in” was definitely my favorite piece of advice I got before our wedding. It’s one I try to apply to as much of my life as possible. How bittersweet that moment must have been for such a history-making president. To savor it – and then to know that it will be gone in a heartbeat.

15 Shelby { 01.22.13 at 1:55 pm }

Yes, “I’m not going to see this again.” I think of this every day I am with my 3-year-old son. His milestones pass us by in the blink of an eye and because of IF, we are not promised a chance to relive them through another child. Even if we were, I still would never get a chance to see this exact day with this exact child again. So, I relish. I relish in the freckles on the bridge of his nose, the music of his giggle, the games he plays. They will be different one day, and on that day, today will be a memory. It’s bittersweet, but it makes the gift that much more precious.
But as you said, “And that’s it; you never know.” So, perhaps we will be gifted the opportunity to see another grow, and perhaps not. So, I’ll hold on to what I have for today. Beautiful reminder!

16 JustHeather { 01.22.13 at 2:41 pm }

That was pretty cool to watch. Thanks for sharing, I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise. I’ve been taking many minutes/moments to reflect and stand back and watch my little guy. And already I know that there are so many moments that I just won’t remember, but I’m working on remembering as much as I can. A daily journal is helping. :)

17 jak { 01.22.13 at 3:45 pm }

i love that the chickienob didnt hesitate a second to consider that all three of those people who could become president, giving obama the chance to see ‘this again’, are women. i hope we will see that in chickienob’s lifetime.

18 Nonsequiturchica { 01.22.13 at 6:36 pm }

That was my favorite part of Inaguration Day too! I think it’s great to once in a while step back and survey whatever is going on (even if it is something routine).

19 Lori Lavender Luz { 01.22.13 at 7:44 pm }

Important to remember on the most momentous of days in anyone’s life.

My sister gave me the same advice for my wedding. Make sure just to be present. It is all so fleeting and at least you’ll have the moments in which you paid attention.

20 Mali { 01.22.13 at 9:46 pm }

I never saw the speech, so I’m very grateful you included that clip. And watching it brought a few little tears to my eyes – reminding us all to soak it in, to be in the moment, for our big and little events. How lovely that he stood there as everyone walked past, oblivious – and he stood there for so long too. This was no cursory glance back. I could feel him trying to imprint everything he saw on his memory. Beautiful.

21 Jamie { 01.22.13 at 11:15 pm }

Love it!

22 Kristin { 01.23.13 at 12:14 am }

It was such a wonderful reminder to treasure the moment.

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