You'd have to be a real Debbie Downer - or Rush Limbaugh - not to feel a sense of optimism amidst the events of last Tuesday.
I was among the millions of beaming-through-tears, hopeful Americans stricken with Obama Fever as Inauguration Day unfolded.
Glued to the TV, remote clutched in my hot little hand, I channel-surfed relentlessly for the most complete team coverage, the best camera angles and the juiciest, insider information my digital cable box could find.
I was encouraged and inspired by the smooth and orderly transfer of power in this incredible country of ours. I'm not talking about the countless briefings and confabs going on for weeks between the outgoing and incoming administrations, although I'm sure they were impressive, too. I'm referring to the furious and methodical packing and moving going on behind the scene.
Think about it.
While the 44th first family was out getting themselves inaugurated and taking a joyride in "The Beast" (the new heavily armored presidential limo), White House elves scrambled to move the Bushes and their possessions out, and the Obamas' stuff in ... in just SIX hours! Barack, Michelle, the kids and grandma didn't come home to rooms cluttered with stacked boxes, either. By the time they returned from the parade, their furniture and personal effects were in place, pictures were on the wall, clothes were hanging in the closet, jammies and slippers were set out on their new beds.
OK. I know being president and first lady is stressful and all - what with the total loss of personal privacy and independence, not to mention those annoying national crises - but that's one heckuva perk, don't you think? I've moved more than 10 times in my lifetime - last one was in 1989 - and I STILL have boxes left to unpack!
I was uplifted, too, by the fashions. Michelle's cheery lemongrass ensemble and the girls' vivid J. Crew coats gave me a much-needed mid-winter boost, as if to say, "Cheer up, everybody, it's going to get better ..."
(I even liked Aretha Franklin's hat with that honking, bedazzled bow. It was as if she seemed to say, "Get a load of my honking, bedazzled bow!")
And how promising it was to see all the dignitaries and statesmen from both sides of the aisle filing down the steps to take their seats at the swearing-in. They looked upbeat, excited and, most importantly, nobody fell down. (Seriously, I was on pins and needles. Those guys are no spring chickens, you know.)
But the most impressive sight of all was the sea of humanity - almost 2 million, at last estimate - gathered on the National Mall to witness the first African-American president taking the oath. It was a testament to change, a statement of unity. It was the embodiment of optimism.
As our 44th president strode through the doors of the Capitol onto the platform and looked out on the throng, he looked dashing and confident yet clearly humbled. I watched him stand next to his bright and beautiful wife, his hand on Lincoln's Bible, and I thought to myself, "This is it. It IS Camelot all over again." It seemed like the perfect moment.
Then, Chief Justice John Roberts fumbled the oath.
It wasn't a huge deal, of course. There were a few awkward "You go/No, you go" moments, and soon the oath was history and the ceremony concluded with a memorable prayer by 87-year-old civil rights icon, Rev. Joseph Lowery who, comically, could barely clear the podium with his bushy eyebrows.
As I watched, laughed and wondered how a smart guy such as Roberts could flub up such an important moment (surely it wasn't the billions of people watching around the planet), I remembered that no one is perfect and that Camelot exists only in legend.
Our new president carries a ponderous weight on his shoulders - an unprecedented load of problems with impossibly high hopes and expectations from the world piled on.
He isn't perfect. He will falter and, sometimes, fail. Mrs. Obama, the girls and grandma will have their missteps, too, and not just by fashionistas' standards.
The 44th presidency likely will not be as smooth and orderly as the six-hour transfer of presidential furniture, pictures, jammies and slippers. But the optimism I experienced last Tuesday remains with me today. And to all you Debbie Downers out there, I say, "Cheer up, and give change a chance."
Cathy Hamilton is a 53-year-old empty nester, wife, mother and author, who blogs every day at BoomerGirl.com.