So Far in 40 Years

12/05/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"So far in 40 years!" my mother says this to me breathless.

When she got married, my grandfather said he'd shoot my dad with a shotgun (an inauspicious but common beginning for an interracial marriage).

Defying my grandfather's threat's part of the reason I got a chance at life.

But when Sen. Obama announced he was running, I thought, why is he doing this now?

This is going to be a miracle or a disaster.

Why him? -- I felt like my grandfather -- I was in a cab asking my husband this on the way to the movies, but first we'd go to Junior's restaurant, stuffed shrimp and a white wine for me, chicken salad sandwich and a coke for him -- our routine to make us feel better.

I've never enjoyed thinking of myself as second class and yet facts can put you in your place -- like learning my grandfather didn't want my black father to marry my mom, for example. Similarly, I never thought I could not be president but I also never thought anyone black could (not in my life, nor our future children's lives). To even reach for this - seriously - was, in a way, to make fun of our predicament as black people because it highlighted the unwritten rules about what we could do.

That's why we'd spend our weekend at the movies -- for fun sure, but also to forget these things.

And now this week (and over these past two years), like lifting a lid off a waxed box holding us all, Obama has taken the top off. And it's like he's said, that's what all the fuss was about? Why have you believed the lie? You're free.

My grandfather never made good on his threat. He was a lousy hater. All his actions toward me said, I've loved you all this time.

I don't know what turned him and bended reality but something did. And that's what Obama has done.