My Kids Hated the White House Egg Roll
Tens of thousands of parents and grandparents sign up for the lottery for tickets for the annual White House Easter egg roll. All of us are dying to dress our kids up and parade them around on the White House lawn, with photo ops aplenty. I mean who doesn't want a photo of their child merrily rolling an egg with the White House in the background? The memories, I was sure, would be priceless as well.
I got lucky. I'm a member of Blue Star Families, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and empowering military families. And, as part of a military family, we got tickets to the White House for the egg roll. We were headed to the egg roll, along with 30,000 other people, split into groups of 6,000 people for each of 5 time slots.
I was thrilled!
I carefully planned my boys' outfits. They had to be cute, but not matching (my husband's rule) and comfortable for play. Of course, I planned my own outfit with care as well. We arrived at the security entrance on the ellipse shortly before our scheduled 11am time. And then we waited in line, in the hot sun with no shade, with 2 small children for more than an hour. We weren't just in line, we were bunched up in a crowd of hot, sweaty, cranky people.
There were beverages and some snacks (a granola bar my kids refused to touch) available while we waited in line. But we couldn't get to them after a point, because we were stuck in a White-House going scrum.
While my kids clothes were appropriate for the weather - polo shirts and khakis - it was much warmer standing in the sun. And small children do not like to wait in line. I ended up handing over my iPhone, but even that didn't stop the whining. Still, while my make-up melted off of my face, I entertained the kidlets as best as I could.
By the time we got on to the White House lawn, my kids were done.
Luckily, the boys rallied a bit after we found some shade and I got my photos of them rocking the egg roll with the White House in the background. My 4 year old's inner competitor was unlocked and he smoked all of the older kids, including his big brother! The boys got to throw some footballs with the Redskins, hunt for eggs, and stand in line for 30 minutes for water. That was about all we could fit in during our 2 hour time slot.
The boys did get a bonus; they got to educate their mother. You see, Justin Bieber was performing and I had no idea who he was. My 5 year old gave me that "man, are you old" look while he told me the singer's name and the title of his hit song. At least it's a hit among the younger (much younger) set! We had a sighting of Mrs. Obama and Sasha and Malia engaging in some "Bieber fever."
Although the day didn't have the fairy tale feel to it that I was irrationally hoping for, we're still glad we went. The boys were cranky for part of the time but they really did have fun and can't wait to tell all of their friends what they did over Spring Break. I know they'll look back on the day when they're older and realize that, yeah, it was pretty cool that they got to go to the White House egg roll. And we even have the obligatory photo of the boys doing the egg roll in front of the White House to prove it!