Parenting Page: Easter at the White House
This is a parenting page, about parenting Page. I am a child psychologist and a mother. So I specialize in children, yet I am human, thus I am full of knowledge and yet as full of emotions as any other parent. So I decided to write this Parenting Page since it might be informative and funny for others to take an insider look at a child specialist raising her child. I also wanted to create a way to show Page when she grows up, if she chooses to have children, a real-life view of the experience. I hope you enjoy these stories and musings.
Getting Crazy About the Holidays & Easter at the White House
Easter was the first holiday to follow Page learning that there was no Santa. Which, as you know, once the Santa-talk happens the whole house of cards comes tumbling down… no Easter Bunny, no Tooth Fairy, etc. Mostly she was OK about it, but she did wonder aloud how holidays could still be fun anymore. So I got it into my head that the next holiday Page experienced, i.e., Easter, had to be fantastic, spectacular, the BEST EVER, so as to show holidays are still fun minus the make-believe. But, how to make Easter that memorable? Then it hit me – we would go to the White House Easter Egg Roll. What could be better than that?
Well, let me tell you, as I soon learned, you have better odds of winning the megabucks lottery than you do of winning the lottery to get tickets to the White House annual Easter event! At first glance on the website it seems like you could win tickets. Well, you can’t. OK, perhaps I am a bit cynical and somebody somewhere has won before, but basically once I started doing my research I learned masses of tickets are given out to friends and family by government employees who are high enough up to get tickets, and a bunch are given to military families. We did not fit into these categories. Not to be deterred where the fate of my daughter’s enjoyment of holidays evermore is at stake, I devised a plan.
Though my husband was not high enough on the government totem pole to get tickets, I knew his boss’ boss was. So I pleaded my case to my husband – and I say ‘pleaded’ because I knew his first response would be ‘no.’ My husband is not one who asks for even small special favors at work, so he certainly wouldn’t want to ask for tickets to the White House Easter Egg Roll. Alas, his first, second, and final answers were all ‘no.’ He was not swayed by my explanations of Page being traumatized by not having ‘enough’ fun on her first non-fantasy-based holiday.
No matter. I went above him. In our family his older cousin worked in the same agency with him and was higher up. I didn’t ask my husband what he thought about me asking her, because he would tell me not to do it, and, he’s not the boss of me. Plus going to Margo in our family is much like in the Christmas show The Year Without a Santa Claus when Mrs. Claus goes above Heat Miser and Cold Miser’s heads to Mother Nature – she’s too high of an authority for him to argue with. So I went to Margo and pleaded my case, pretty well suspecting she would agree with me that it would be a blast for Page to go to the White House Easter event. She agreed, and called she and Peter’s boss and asked for tickets. This really annoyed Peter because his boss was asked for a favor for his daughter, but still, Mother Nature did it, so he couldn’t argue.
Off Page and I went to the White House! It was a beautiful day, perfect weather for it. We waited in line for a couple of hours, where we met several nice chatty people – none of whom had won tickets via the lottery. I also learned along the way you only get two hours there. There are waves of people that get let in every two hours. Or, that’s the plan, but it is poorly orchestrated. In reality we were let in 30 minutes late but still shuffled out at our designated time, so we had 90 minutes total, which goes by in the blink of an eye. It is quite a whirlwind! There are stations of things to do and see set up, each with its own long line, and you run quickly from station to station, trying to fit in as much as possible in your limited time there. It was actually a little stressful deciding what to do while there because there isn’t time to do it all, and I witnessed (and – admission – engaged in) various small family squabbles under the pressure. Thankfully Page seems to have no memory of these, though they worried me at the time, arguing during our ‘best-ever’ Easter. Alas, such is family life sometimes! No president-sightings but we did have lots of fun! An actress/dancer/singer from a TV show Page watches performed and Page really loved that! We watched some of another performance stage, then she also dyed eggs and listened to story time with a famous author of children’s books. You could get quite close to the White House so we took photos too. Then it was time to go. I was a little worried it had all been too quick and imperfect and not met my goal of being the best-Easter-ever, but when we arrived back in NC very late that night, a bleary-eyed Page insisted on writing it all down in her diary before she went to bed. It was such a spectacular day she said, she didn’t want to forget any of it.
(Crazy) Mama Bear mission accomplished.
Dr. Tina Lepage is the owner of Lepage Associates Solution-Based Psychological & Psychiatric Services, a group practice in S. Durham/RTP. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. www.lepageassociates.com. You can find her on Twitter at @LepageAssoc or at Facebook.com/LepageAssociates.