I begin this blog on a snowy January day in the nation's capital, just two weeks after the historic inauguration of our 44th President. My desire is that through this blog, I may share a story with many people -- maybe even as many as the throng I stood among on the Mall, stamping our feet in the cold as a new President's inspiring challenge washed over us. It is my hope that, in the end, the people who read this story will respond to what I believe is another inspiring challenge. I seek to raise support to send my dear friends Lola and Taiye to Nigeria to see their father – a father they have never met, about whom they had no information until two years ago, but a father they have been missing and hoping for all of their lives.
On Inauguration Day, Lola and her twin sister Taiye magically managed to be in the right place at the right time to receive a wave from Barack and Michelle Obama as they walked during the parade. This was a truly fitting experience, for Lola became a fan of Barack Obama long before he appeared on the national radar. After hearing him speak and reading his books, she was convinced—and proceeded to tell everyone— that he would be President of the United States (though even she was surprised at how quickly her vision came to fruition). Even some of her politically savvy friends scratched their heads and asked, "Obama who?” Lola was ahead of us all, rallying the troops around the vision of Hope and Change long before it was popular, long before it seemed expedient to do so.
So when she told me that she had decided to sell some signed Obama memoirs to finance her trip to Nigeria, I swallowed hard. She asked me for appraisal advice and I referred her to a collector friend. But I could not stop thinking about how beautiful and simultaneously sad such a transaction would be. I applaud her priorities, but I want her to be able to keep her memoirs so she can share them with her new-found father. Indeed, those signed volumes are valuable symbols of who she is, where she has been, and how she is impacting many people for good. If ever there was a means of catching up on a lifetime of experiences with her dad, it is Lola’s sharing of these memoirs. With her voice and her eyes she will fill him in on the details of her life story, but the special place these books and their message have in her heart give shape to her narrative, a framework for communicating so much of her journey. She deserves that. She has been through so much, hopes for so much, and gives so much. I want her father to meet her in person soon, with fire in her eyes, love in her heart, wisdom on her lips, and treasured volumes in her hands.