Picture a meandering line right outside the Pentagon full of some of the top Army officers in the country, Scotty, most of his family, some friends, me and our two very young children. Planked by SWAT teams, we approach the rigorous security check point for the entrance to the MacArthur Leadership Award Ceremony, where Scotty is to receive an award. This is big time! General Casey will be presenting the award and Scotty has worked hard and climbed mountains to reach this point (literally!). He is among some of the top jr. officers in the Army, the only difference is that Scotty is blind. It has been long and hard, but the army is finally recognizing his efforts and this event captures Scotty’s spirit.
Meanwhile, I look like a pack mule, I have a double stroller loaded with two kids, a crazy 2-year-old in front and a sleeping 12 month-old in the seat behind. I have a large backpack with all the necessities to get my two toddlers through another awards ceremony without receiving dirty looks or comments. Oh and to top it off, Graham hardly slept the night before. We were about half way through the long line and Grady yells, “I have to go to the bathroom, bad, bad, bad, I have to go!” I look at the SWAT team standing ahead at the gates and flash my best smile, they’ve got to understand, right?! But they don’t. In return, they simply scowl back at me. I summon a friend to come with me and help me through, Grady and I are ushered through security and escorted to the restroom, no one was very nice, but at least my 2- year-old did not wet his pants right before one of his Dad’s biggest moments!
The day prior, we attended a fancy luncheon and were told as we were finding our table that the 3 Star General who would be giving the keynote address was seated at our table. I laughed to myself, I hope he likes kids! This was one of those very long luncheons with lots of quiet moments, and if you’re a mom you how nervous the words “quiet and long” can make you. So I pulled out lollypop after lollypop knowing I would have a couple of crazed toddlers at the end, but at that point it was about survival!
NYC Father Of the Year Event: the Other Side of the HU Story
As we pull up to the Hilton in NYC, I suddenly remember that we should probably have put on the child locks, but before I have a chance to complete my thought, Grady has the door open and is making a run for it, I move with a speed that can only be attributed to the pure adrenaline a mother can tap into, to grab him before he makes it to the street.
As I try to park our Suburban (yes, a Suburban in Manhattan!) in a spot that looks like it was made for a motorcycle, I yell for Scotty to stay close to the car. As quickly as I can I unload the stroller and motion to the bellhop to grab our luggage (I wonder what he thought of me looking back on it now, a crazy women for sure). I manage to get my crew loaded, kids locked in strollers, Scotty on my arm, and bonus! Not a single scrape on the car.
Scotty was to receive the Father of the Year Award the next day. My sister Nicole has flown in to help me, thank goodness. At the awards luncheon Scotty is sitting up at a head table, so it is just Nicole, Grady, Graham, Hoda Kotb, and some other “big wigs” and me. Another lollypop type luncheon, I wonder how I keep getting myself into these situations! I don’t want to sound uppity, but they really know how to do it in NYC. Instead of bringing out chicken Marsala with peas and mushrooms for my kids, they brought out chicken fingers and french fries. I wanted to kiss the waiter for buying me about an half hour to 45 min of peace. I really wanted to put my best foot forward for Hoda and thank the Lord, we managed great thanks to chicken nuggets and lollypops!