If we live within five miles of one another, perhaps you heard a sound reminiscent of pigs squealing in delight coming from my house late Tuesday evening, as it was then that I formally accepted an invitation to the White House. I may have freaked the freak out just a little, but I think it was warranted. The whole day was a cluster, beginning with my graceful face-plant off the treadmill, and ending with I AM GOING TO BE MICHELLE OBAMA’S BEST FRIEND.
I believe the timeline went something like this:
9am: received invitation to attend First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign event at the White House
9:03am: declined said invitation because figuring out the logistics of child and dog care, a full-time job, a responsibility to a friend’s little boy, transportation to and from kids’ activities, working around my husband’s crazy busy schedule–the list goes on–made me cry. Literally, it made me sob there at my computer. And within three minutes of reading the invite, I declined. I DECLINED, you guys.
9:04am – 3pm: Intermittent sobbing, alternated with moments of clarity in which I told myself, “there’s no way it’ll work. Declining is reasonable.”
3:05pm: Made a joke on Facebook about how I was invited to the White House, but husband’s baseball season makes life’s unpredictable events impossible.
3:05 and 30 seconds: Calls and texts from neighbors and friends started pouring in. One pal offered to watch my kids, my dogs, and help me pick out an outfit (thank you, JC!). Another friend called and ripped me a new one. Again, warranted: “What the eff, man? IT’S THE WHITE HOUSE AND YOU’RE GOING!” The support from my village meant the world to me and so I cried some more.
3:30pm: Got my son off the bus, told him I may be going to the White House. He asked for a snack.
5:30pm: Called my Mom. She said I had to go, but I also had to take my dad so I didn’t have to make the drive by myself, then suggested I swipe something out of the White House bathroom as a souvenir. PLEASE NOTE: I WILL NOT BE SWIPING ANYTHING FROM ANYWHERE. I have learned my lesson.
5:45pm: Made another call to my girl Amanda who also got the White House invite and just happens to live right outside of DC. We giggled because this can’t be real life, then we made plans because, according to Amanda’s motto, you say YES then figure out the details. Childcare, driving, metro, overnight stays. We could do this.
6:30pm: Husband comes home, I tell him how I have declined the invitation, citing allllllll the things I just couldn’t NOT do for a day. He looked at me like I had spinach in my teeth, which I did, and said, “You have spinach in your teeth.” He followed up with, “Who gets invited to the White House? NO ONE. You’re going.”
6:45: I officially un-declined and changed my RSVP and BOOM:
That’s right around the time neighbors heard those weird noises.
I posted again to Facebook, letting everyone know I WAS going to DC and weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Comments like, “So glad you changed your mind! Now I don’t have to drive over there and beat you” again brought tears to my eyes. I have the best friends.
My mom was very happy to hear Heather, another Pittsburgh-based writer, also received the invite. Like me, Heather wasn’t going to attend because LIFE. But when she realized we could swing it together, she made arrangements for her daughter and work and voila! We marveled at how, just a few hours earlier, the whole thing seemed impossible, then the pieces started falling into place, like it was meant to be. I guess there is something to Amanda’s motto: sometimes ya just gotta say yes.
My friends said yes. My husband said yes. My boss said yes. Those we asked for help said yes. THE UNIVERSE SAID YES! I was the only one who said no.
I will remember how empowering it feels to embrace this opportunity, so in the future, I’ll say yes, too.