When my daughter was eight and finding life challenging, I resigned my University vice presidency, arranged a long sabbatical and followed my, then, wife to Germany to become Mr. Mom. Financially it turned out to be a disaster, but it was the best thing I could have done for my daughter. I would put her on the school bus, teach English in Frankfurt-am-Main, and arrive home in time to meet the school bus.
We became very close and today she calls me every day from UCONN. We spend time finishing each others sentences and discussing what we think are important topics.
A few weeks ago she shook hands with Barack Obama. I asked her if a line from The Great Gatsby about you becoming his whole world for an instant, fit, and she said an emphatic "no". "Gatsby was a phony," she said, "meeting President Obama was like meeting your best friend's dad." She went on to say she wished she'd lived next door to him so she could discuss things with him. She called him "very real" and someone she thought had real compassion for people.
Since the two of us are so alike and I believe her instincts about people are better than mine (and I covered presidential candidates for United Press International), I've got to believe she met a very decent man who she absolutely found to be warm and nonthreatening. (This was very unlike my conversations with Richard Nixon, I might add.)
On my blog I make comments about him that are not always flattering, even thought I voted for him three times (including a primary). If she felt that way, I'm sure I would have had the same impression. So let's hear it for a real person who faces a lot of tough choices.