Stimey Braves the Cold and Sees the President

You’re never going to guess what I did yesterday! I was lucky enough to get to go to the National Christmas Tree Lighting at the White House.

I was obviously not excited at all.

See, it turns out that if you hear about the tremendous good fortune of a friend of yours who got tickets to the tree lighting and you immediately and incessantly start whining to her about how lucky you think she is and how cool the day is going to be, she will eventually take pity on you and offer you an extra ticket.

In completely unrelated news, Joeymom is awesome.

I met her outside a Metro station at 2 p.m. and we headed down to the White House with her mom and her two kids, Joey and Andy. I mention the time we met because the program started at 5. If you can do that math, that means three hours of waiting. In the cold. With two kids. And a whiny Stimey. Someone should get an award for that.

The completely awesomesauce thing is that somehow we ended up in these terrific seats right next to the tree and pretty close to the stage. (And by “pretty close,” I mean “behind one thousand people, but in front of eleven thousand people.”)

 Here is me and the tree, pre-lights.

The tree was not so pretty before it was lit up. I think that had to do with all the light strings. My guess is that it is more difficult to hide the strings on a 42-foot tree than on my family’s six-foot one.

After my wanding at security (seriously, every time I go through a metal detector, I have to go through Step Two: Please Stand Here With Your Arms Straight Out), we killed time by chatting, adjusting blankets, and, in the case of Joeymom, getting interviewed for the news.

 The reporter liked her hat.

I liked that there were sharpshooters on top of Santa’s workshop.

 Santa better watch the fuck out.

As it got darker and closer to showtime, it got colder and colder. Joey and Andy were complete rock stars. Honestly, I can’t quite imagine what my kids would have done had I told them to sit down for three hours and wait for someone to flip a light switch. I’m glad I didn’t have to find out. Kudos to the Joeymom family for their excellent behavior.

 And, yes, it really was that cold.

 Guess who didn’t have to wait in the cold? And guess who didn’t even have to walk from his house down to the tree?

Hint: That’s his motorcade up there.

I was really excited to see the president, but I wonder what goes through his head when he’s at these types of events. Like, he’s there to see Santa and B.B. King sing and to carry on a tradition, but I wonder if in his mind is he all, “Oh, shit. North Korea.” Honestly, it’s cool that he gets to sit in the front row with his family and all, but I bet it’s kind of a bummer to be the president.

For me though, it was awesome to see him speak and to share air with him. I am and have always been a big Obama fan, so I was very excited.

See? See him sharing air with me?

 And with thirteen thousand other people?

Common emceed the event, and there were a whole bunch of performers, including the United States Coast Guard Band, Miss America, B.B. King, mumblemumble, Sara Bareilles, mumblemumble, mumblemumble, and Maroon 5. (I didn’t know who all of them were.) Common interviewed some kids on camera and asked them what they wanted for Christmas, one of whom wanted something along the lines of world peace and one of whom wanted Legos.

I bet I know whose mom was more proud. I bet you can also guess which one of those things my kids would have wished for.

Michelle Obama read a Christmas story and somewhat adorably skipped a page and had to go back because her gloves made it hard for her to handle the book.

 Eventually she took her gloves off.

Somewhere in there, the Obama family turned on the lights for the tree.

I don’t understand the weird bump on the left though.

After it was all over, I walked on my little ice bricks of feet back to the Metro, where my toes eventually thawed out, somewhere near the Maryland state line.

Joeymom, thank you so much for taking me with you. I had such a wonderful day with you and your family.

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