Generation One: Judith Thiago
Chapter Four: Judith’s Election
Winter had come, leaving the Thiago-Nali’s cooped up in the house. It wasn’t so bad, though. The four of them enjoyed afternoons in the living room as a family. Izzie had a new scratching post, which she used to survey the household and make sure everything was in order. Ian still did his work out tapes in front of the television, while Percy and Judith worked on new words. Judith would look back on these days with longing. Campaign season was around the corner, and this time Judith was running for state representative with the endorsement of Ms. Vanderburg. Her schedule was about to go crazy, which was great for her career, but she missed the family time.
Ian was on the off season, and so they didn’t have to worry about child care. Percy seemed to like his Daddy time well enough, even though it was clear he missed Mommy, too.
“Mama?” He asked Ian in his little voice.
“She’ll be home in a few hours, bud,” Ian assured him.
“She’s at work, but she’ll be done in a few hours.”
“How many?” Percy wasn’t satisfied.
“Six Sesame Streets,” Ian explained. “Now lets go do a puzzle.”
Judith was elected! Her new position warranted a change in wardrobe and a hair cut. Besides, what was appropriate for a twenty something intern was not the same as what a thirty year old wife, mother, and elected official could wear.
Ian had no problem with Judith’s new style. She would be beautiful to him no matter what, and of course he hadn’t married her for her hair. He was just happy that she had won her election and was that much closer to her dream.
Percy didn’t really notice the change in his mom’s appearance. He did notice that she was finally home more often, and he noticed the new toys she had bought him, partly out of guilt for not being around much the past few months. Percy loved learning toys. He was such a curious kid. Ian and Judith were so proud of him, and thought he must be one of the smartest kids in his nursery school class.
Lucky for Ian, Izzie had no problem with Percy. She still wasn’t a fan of Judith, but she seemed to have decided that Percy was hers, just like Ian. As long as Ian continued to give her treats and play with her, she was as content as could be.
Even still, Ian felt sort of bad that he wasn’t able to give Izzie the attention that he used too, and so whenever Percy had a nap or was at nursery school, he made sure to play with her and snuggle with her specially.
Percy was getting ready to start preschool, and Judith wanted to make sure he was well prepared.
“What does that letter say?” She asked, pointing to a page in Percy’s alphabet book.
“P!” Percy said, “Percy has P.”
“You’re right,” Judith encouraged him. “Good job. What about that one?”
They played this game often, hoping that Percy would get a head start.
Judith had made a lot of good contacts since she was elected, including her new friend Alisha, who was a state senator. Alisha asked if Judith would have her over for dinner, and of course Judith couldn’t refuse.
“The residents of your district love you,” Alisha said. “The word is they want you to run for Governor.”
“I had heard that,” Judith blushed. She wasn’t great at taking praise. “But I’ve only been in office for one term, I don’t think I’m ready for a race like that.”
“I want you to run, too.” Alisha said, ignoring Judith’s hesitancy. “In fact, most of the dems do. You’re the perfect candidate.”
“I’m not perfect,” Judith insisted.
“I know. You don’t have to be. But you’re young, you’re black, you’re a working mother, and you’ve got strong convictions about representing the people and the planet. You hit basically every important demographic. Now, I don’t want to force you to do anything. But promise me you’ll consider it.”
Judith promised, and Alisha left, but not before mentioning her idea to Ian.
“I don’t know, babe. I mean, it would be amazing, and I think I could make a real difference, but I’m already so busy. I don’t want to sacrifice my family for the position,” Judith explained.
“Yeah,” Ian was quiet for a while. “I wouldn’t want that either. But you can have both, Jude, I know you can. Percy is starting school, soon, and I’ve got my job, too. We’ll have to be really intentional about making time for the family, but we can do it. It’s worth it. Everything that’s worth something takes work.”
“So you want me to do it?”
“Do you want to?” Ian asked.
“Yeah, I really do,” Judith admitted.
“Then yes. I want you to. And I promise that I won’t let you back out,” Ian smiled. “My wife, the governor. That’s pretty cool.”
“Well, I still have to run, it’s not a given. In fact, I don’t think it’s even likely.”
“Oh, you’ll win. I don’t doubt that for a second.”
By the time the campaign kicked up, Percy was old enough to participate a little. Judith was careful not to force him to do anything, but he liked to hand out buttons and stickers, so she let him. He also was starting to show a love for animals, especially dogs. Of course he loved Izzie, but what he really wanted was a puppy. He tried to teach Izzie to sit like a dog, but she wasn’t having it.
But the one thing that Percy loved most of all was painting. He could spend hours in front of an easel, and frequently he did. His paintings were actually extremely advanced for a kid his age, according to his first grade art teacher. She advised Judith and Ian to get him into a more professional after school art class, which they did. He ate it up like you wouldn’t believe. His understanding of colors and abstracts was unbelievable. Ian and Judith didn’t really know what that meant, but they trusted it was true. And they could certainly tell his work was gorgeous.
Sometimes when he painted his parents forgot how young he was, that is until he would decide to play dress up and run around like a normal seven year old. He wasn’t quite in protege territory, but they were encountering similar parenting problems. They didn’t quite know how to treat him when it came to art. Should they force him to go to bed at eight even if he was in the middle of what looked to them to be a masterpiece?
Campaign season was coming to a close. Judith received her party’s nomination and now it was time for the general election. She was still fiercely campaigning, but soon it would be over. She and Ian talked it over, and promised Percy he could get a dog after the election. So for now, Percy was content with Izzie, knowing that in just a few weeks, he’d have the puppy he’d been dreaming of.
Judith was reading when she got the call. She’d been trying to distract herself, so not to get too anxious. There was reason to work herself up at that point.
She couldn’t even get through “Hello” before she heard “WE DID IT!” coming from the other line.
“I’ll be right in!” Judith gasped. “Ian! Percy! We did it!” She yelled. The guys came running, both of them whooping for joy already.
“Is it on TV yet?” Ian asked, breathlessly.
“I don’t know, turn it on,” Judith exclaimed, her eyes starting to fill with overwhelmed tears.
“You did it, Mommy,” Percy hugged her waist. “I knew you would.”