When I sat down to write a letter at Christmas about our family, our past year and our hopes for the new one, it was in anticipation of what this year might hold, what it might mean to the three of us, to our daughter, to our community and our country. Last night I felt truly connected to the man who speaks of these hopes, to the crowd and the vast audience who share these hopes in their hearts, and to the country as a whole who will cast ballots, in record numbers this fall, that will contain and embody these hopes. I heard refrains from that letter that had bounced around in my head on those long, quiet car rides, echo through that packed and teeming stadium and I felt as if someone were listening to me. The kid is out of town visiting grandparents, but if she had been home I would have picked her up out of bed, carried her downstairs and curled up with her on the couch to watch that speech, much as we extended bedtime to mark the history making gold medal swim just a few days before. Yesterday morning we made our inaugural walk to her new school – just for a test run and a visit to see her new classroom. On Tuesday it will be the real thing, and this will be the ten block stretch that will become our ritual and will mark this particular piece of her childhood and her school years. Big changes in store for our family and for her, and big changes for our country as well. Watching that backpack skip ahead of me on the sidewalk, I am reminded again why this decision is so important and for whom this vote, my vote, will be cast.