My children were there. My husband was there. My nieces, nephews, brother, sister-in-law and brother-in-law were there. However, I was not actually in attendance at the 2011 White House Easter Egg Roll.
Please allow me to explain. My father has always been a little magical. He makes seemingly impossible things happen. For instance, he called me last Thursday to "let me know" that he had gotten tickets for all seven of his grandchildren to attend the event in question. He had also scored four tickets for adults to accompany them. At this point, I had assumed that I was one of those adults.
However, I then read online that Jacques Pepin, the French chef, cookbook author, and friend to Julia Child would be there. My husband has exactly two heroes in this world and Monsieur Pepin is one of them. For the sake of brevity, let's just assume that I am the other.
Anyway, I relinquished my ticket to Lance and put him on the Metro with our children and spent most of the next six hours awaiting the detailed descriptions of what I hoped would be a truly memorable day for all four of them.
Each returned with a story that indicated that they had attended four different events. Welcome to the Reston version of Roshomon.
Youngest child Poe thought the Metro was a lot of fun and that the frozen yogurt shop they visited afterwards had really big portions. Also, seeing Colbie Caillat in person had the same impact on her that some people have experienced from a visit to Lourdes. There were delicious candies known as , and she ate some but brought a few home for Mom. Most importanly, while they were waiting in line to get through the gate a giant chinchilla danced around for them but then he left by ambulance (More on that later).
Older sister Scout wants to sell the souvenir wooden egg she received on eBay (not happening). She saw Carla Hall from Top Chef and drank three bottles of Powerade Zero ("Mom, we totally have to get some. It's so good!") Seeing Willow Smith and her incredible whipping hair was an impossibility but she was gracious enough to accompany baby Poe to watch the infinitely inferior Caillat (who sings beautifully, plays guitar, and writes her own songs but does not put her hair in motion).
Some lame dude in a chinchilla suit was dancing around in the heat to a rap about Soccer Moms and gave himself heat stroke. It was very hot and she did not meet the President, the First Lady or their children, which means the experience has been deemed "a fail."
My son met a Harlem Globetrotter and a "tennis lady" (that would be the sporty goddess of my youth, the former Chris Evert). He found The White House itself to be smaller than he expected but just exactly as white. He tried on a beekeeping helmet but could not explain why. He wished the souvenir egg was made of chocolate. He hoped that the poor man who was wearing the costume that said "#1 Chinchilla" would be okay because it was very hot and he fainted and had to be taken away by ambulance.
Lance shook Jacques Pepin's hand and learned a quesadilla recipe from a Top Chef. He was impressed by the orderliness of the process and appreciated the ample supply of water on hand. However, it is too bad that the chinchilla, whose job it was to entertain people while they stood in line to enter the South Lawn, had to wear such a furry costume on such a hot day. It looked like he might have been overcome and had to be taken away by ambulance. Lance enjoyed hanging out with his children but regrets buying them huge frozen yogurts after the event because the portions were huge.
Apparently, the thread that connects these stories is the chinchilla. While all four of these accounts include this detail, it is remarkable how all national and international media outlets which covered the event overlooked the medical emergency resulting from the efforts of a man in a rodent costume to bring joy and distraction to families waiting to participate in one of the most famous public outreach projects hosted by the White House.
So, my family went to the 2011 White House Easter Egg Roll and did not roll eggs, meet the Leader of the Western World, or see any hair whipped. However, if you need witnesses to the chinchilla thing, I've got four people you need to meet.