Luke and Ella playing in front of the Capitol
Over the past week, our family had the opportunity to do something pretty amazing. We happen to have the good fortune of sharing the last name with a couple of incredible people (Mom and Pop Hunter) and this week they were kind enough to allow us to ride their coat tails. To the White House. To shake hands with a very important man. (Here's the disclaimer: Please refrain from snarky comments. If you think them, keep them there. In your head. So we can still like each other. Thank you in advance.) This week we met President Obama. It was surreal to say the least. It is still a bit of a blur to me but of those moments that are vivid, I can only be thankful that Luke and I didn't get escorted out by secret service due to some of his antics. Although I'm pretty sure his name is now on a list somewhere.
Led in by Pop, we were introduced to the President in the Oval Office. Crazy. It can't overstate what an honor it was for him to take the time to meet our family. He is a busy man to put it mildly. The President shook the adults' hands and spent a significant amount of time chatting with the kiddos and Noah (he's in an age bracket of his own). They were all very articulate and well mannered. Luke was bashful and Lincoln was extremely entertaining. I'd go into more detail but I could only dilute the experience. Rumor has it that Bon Jovi was next in line to meet the President that afternoon. I also notice that he was in Orlando playing a show last night. Coincidence? Probably, but I'm still going to check all of our closets before I go to bed tonight. If he is in one, I am going to ask him how he never ages. Then I am going to scream. Then I am going to tell him how I sometimes get him confused with Bryan Adams.
Highlights/things I remember from our trip:
1. Chuck Todd. He and I were inches from each other outside the White House. I wanted to tell him I was a fan but one, it would be hard to do without sounding like I was hitting on him and two, he was on the phone.
2. Luke tried to prank call the Secret Service from the West Wing lobby. Not a highlight but very memorable.
3. Catching Luke moments before he bumrushed the Cabinet Room during, "Something important" as the receptionist put it. White House Security is very attentive even with toddlers. I felt the room getting smaller as I tried to chase him down.
4. Standing outside the situation room during our tour. Ten days out from such an historic event, I felt humbled to be standing in that place. Luke was more taken by the elevator adjacent to it but in his defense, it did have very shiny buttons.
5. Family time. I love all of these people dearly and they are the reason it was such a fun trip. This should have been number one. This list is in reverse order.
Family shot in front of the West Wing
If you are still reading this, I do want to mention one more thing. As amazing as this whirlwind family trip was, there was never a moment when we weren't acutely aware that our entire family wasn't present. Ava's absence was palpable through every moment. There were subtle reminders of her throughout both days, from a horse wearing a purple (her signature color) bridle in the park to a huge bouquet of purple roses greeting us as we entered the west wing lobby. With her quick wit and larger than life personality, I'm sure she would have been charming and funny and all things Ava had she been with us. But as we were shaking hands with the President of the United States, she was resting in the arms of the King of Kings. She definitely wins.