Monday, June 23, 2008

The White House Mess

Today was a special day. My father invited us to dine at the White House dining room. The dining room is located in the West Wing of the White House and run by the Department of the Navy. The dining room is actually called the White House Mess. We not only dined in the White House Mess but we had a mess of our own in the Mess.

My parents, sister, brother, Jeremy, Brayden and myself headed in to the West Wing and down to the White House Mess for a lunch this afternoon. We walked in to the small room with a beautifully decorated table and just a few other tables; we were in the executive room. Check out the family blog for some pictures. I have been waiting over a year to join my parents for a lunch at the White House. Shortly after sitting down, Brayden vomited. And I mean vomited, projectile vomit, bigger than I have ever seen. Then he did it again and again. He was completely covered. It was dripping down the KidKart, the dining chairs, Jeremy suit…It was a mess. The staff tried to help us but we needed more than a few napkins. Echoing in the back of my mind was the doctors telling us that if Brayden vomits several times, we need to get him to the ER. Inside I hit my panic button. Brayden seemed to stop vomiting and we started to clean up the mess. Jeremy and I immediately thought we needed to get out of there and fast. I wanted to break down. I have been waiting to come here and this is what happens! Really?! My dad sent his secret service to get our diaper bag out of our car back at the EPA building. Brayden’s clothes were soaking with regurgitated formula. We managed to get most of his clothes off and set him in the KidKart. Wouldn’t you believe it, he was happy and smiling! You have to been kidding me; I was ready to burst into tears and he was smiling like the past few minutes did not happen. I felt like the room reeked of vomit and we caused a big scene (even though no one was in the dining room yet). We decided to stay and the rest of the lunch went smoothly. Although we left a large spot on the floor of the room. We made a mess in the Mess.

After the lunch we headed to the bathroom to clean Brayden up some more. We took a picture while in the bathroom of the West Wing to remember that moment. Who cleans up their baby vomit in the West Wing?! A quick clean up and then we headed upstairs to the Roosevelt room to wait for my brother’s photo op with the President, which I am pretty sure Jeremy, Brayden and myself smelled of baby vomit. My brother worked for the White House correspondence office (my brother, Matthew Johnson, was mentioned in a 60 minutes piece) and recently changed jobs. Upon departure the White House sets up a time to take a picture with the President as a thank you for your service. It is a departure photo for people that worked in the White House. My brother invited all of us and of course we got preferential treatment because of my father. We waited in the Roosevelt room, directly across from the Oval Office. Once the President was ready, we entered the Oval office. The President greeted us with a warm handshake and a smile, my mom got a hug. We took a few pictures (we are not allowed to take pictures so we have to wait for the official White House photos) and started to head out. The President knows a little bit about Brayden; my parents have talked with the President before and told him a little, basically that he has some special needs. President Bush asked “So what does he have?” He had no idea that was a very loaded question for us. Jeremy and I responded with, “He has several brain abnormalities, cerebral palsy and additional things.” The President smiled and said that we must give him a lot of love and everything involved requires a lot patience. He also added, loudly, speaking to my dad and the President’s staff that my dad was doing a great job and he really meant it. Oh the day in the life of Brayden Jenkins; another thing to add to the list of only things for Brayden. A mess in the White House Mess and meeting the President.

20 comments:

Tim & Andrea said...

Maybe Brayden was just communicating his thoughts on politics. =) I'm so jealous, it must have been an incredible time (minus the mess!)

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Missy said...

What a wild story! While reading your post I must have been saying "oh no!" "no way!" to myself out loud, because my dog is giving me a quizzical look. I thought I was saying it in my head!
Yep, that's a good photo for the ol' baby book. I'm glad you still have a nice time.
Funny to see your dad's bio when I clicked on the link - my dad is a safety mgr and the biggest part of his job is compliance with EPA and OSHA regs - small world!

Tara said...

So, I just read your story. And I'm in tears. Brayden is such a lucky little man. It sounds like you have a wonderful family and you, as parents, are awesome!! My best friend has a special needs brother & I worked at a preschool for children with special needs, so your stories about Brayden and your family hits home.

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