May 10 2015
On Friday, May 9th, two of MOAA’s staff members and military spouses, C.C. Gallagher and Jennifer Goodale embarked on a journey to the White House to attend a Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Mother’s Day tea. Here is a recap of this heartwarming event:
C.C. Gallagher, Deputy Director Military Spouse & Currently Serving Programs:
I joined the military community as a spouse almost six years ago and joined the ‘mom club’ a year ago with our son, Henry. The invitation to the White House was a special one!
So many questions ran through my head when RSVP’ing to this event. I learned so much along the way:
Q: Should I bring my wiggly, squirmy, almost walking 1-year-old son?
A: YES! Although he was one of the youngest babies there, we took advantage of all the rooms that were available to the attendees.
Q: Does the White House have high chairs, changing tables and am I allowed to bring my Stroller into their home?
A: The event took place in the East Wing. There were no high chairs or changing tables available so we improvised.
The stroller was parked at the coat check as it was not allowed on the dining floor. Henry and I were hanging on to each other for several hours. Thank goodness for dear friends and other military spouses who offered to hold him to give my arms a break. It just goes to show how incredibly supportive our community is to one another.
Q: What do I do if he starts to cry during the event (the event did take place right in the middle of his nap time)?
A: Henry had a meltdown while we were meeting the First Lady, during her speech and during the concert. The White House staff was overly accommodating and directed me to a quiet side room where I could comfort him. In fact, the staff took the baby at one point and pushed me back into the room where Mrs. Obama was expressing her gratitude to our military community so I could listen to her speak.
Through the afternoon, we had the opportunity to embrace the First Lady, Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden, enjoy a solo performance from Ben Folds and meet some pretty amazing military spouses, service members and mothers from every branch of service.
This was a wonderful experience and I am so glad that I had my son by my side for the entire event.
Jennifer Goodale, Associate Director Member Products & Services:
In an event devoid of party lines, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden displayed their unending support of military spouses! My daughter, Reagan, and I had the opportunity to interact with military service members and military spouses as we sipped tea and enjoyed a light fare and wandered in and out of the beautiful rooms of the White House!
The staff whisked the children off to the State Dining room to make Mother’s Day gifts, potpourri, and decorate cupcakes with the White House chefs. The children had one-on-one time with Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden and got to meet Bo and Sunny!
After a speedy trip through a receiving line, we heard from both ladies who praised military families and pledged to continue their support to improve military spouse employment opportunities.
The event concluded with a special treat…a performance by Ben Folds!
We were grateful to represent military spouses at this event and hope the White House continues to honor service and sacrifice by those in uniform and the families who stand beside them.
Happy Mother’s Day!