Sunday, June 26, 2011

JDRF's Children's Congress, Part 1: Before the Official Events

It's taken me a few days since getting back home from Washington DC to sort through all of my thoughts to try and put this post together. I think I've finally come to the realization that I can't possibly squeeze everything into one I'm splitting it up into a couple of posts. So to start off, here's a recap of our 1st 2 days in DC...the Saturday and Sunday before all of the official Children's Congress events began.

On our way to DC!!!
Last Saturday morning seemed to take forever to arrive and came too quickly all at once....we'd been waiting for this day to arrive for months! Charlotte was so excited to travel to Washington DC for JDRF's Children's Congress!!! She couldn't wait to fly on the plane...the last time she'd flown was just a few months before her diagnosis at the age of 2. I was a little anxious about security and travelling with all of our D-supplies, but everything went really smoothly. Our bag of supplies made it through security without question. Our only "hiccup" was that Charlotte beeped going through the metal detector (both going and coming back home) and ended up getting the official "pat down"...the TSA staff was great with her though and made it as quick and non-stressful as possible. It wasn't until after going through security on our way back home that I finally realized she was beeping because of the metal clip she was wearing on her pump, oops...lesson learned for the next time we travel! Our flight was on time and went smoothly...hardly any turbulence at all! Charlotte really enjoyed flying...and I was glad to have her Dexie on her and working well for our flight to DC. Her blood sugar stayed pretty steady, but did drop at one point and I was able to catch it before it got to be an issue! I'm sure she got tired of me asking "What's Dexie say?", but having never flown with D I just wasn't sure how her blood sugar might be affected.

Charlotte at the Washington Monument
After getting settled in our hotel room, Charlotte and I decided to wander out and explore the area. We walked a few blocks and saw the Washington Monument...and had a bit of an adventure trying to get a glimpse of the White House. It was around 5pm or so and the area behind the South facade of the White House was already being fenced off for the we got as close as we could and snapped a few pictures. As we started walking back toward 15th Street, we were forced to make our way through a big muddy area in the field. We managed to stay pretty steady and upright, but Charlotte was none too thrilled when she ended up with mud in her sandals and between her toes. So after that adventure we headed straight back to the hotel to wash our feet (and shoes) and then go grab some dinner.

Sunday morning we woke up early and started off on a new adventure. We explored the Newseum for the better part of the morning, then off to the National Gallery of Art and National Museum of American History.  Charlotte was really impressed by the American Flag...and I think she enjoyed the First Ladies exhibit too (one of my favorites)! But even with all of the amazing sights to see and things to do, Charlotte was most eager to get back to the hotel...she knew that one of her new friends, Avery, was supposed to check-in at the hotel on Sunday afternoon and she couldn't wait to finally meet her!
Incredible view from the 6th floor
balcony at the Newseum
By mid-afternoon, I decided we'd done enough sight-seeing and agreed to head back to the hotel. Once we got back and all freshened up, Charlotte insisted that we head down to the hotel lobby to hang out and wait for Avery and her family! I ended up recognizing them on their way in and we finally met in person! The girls were a little shy at first..but we decided to meet up for dinner that evening to give them a chance to get to know each other a little better.
Instant friendship!!!
Charlotte and I had a GREAT time at dinner with Avery and her family! It was so nice to spend time with another mom who "gets it" and a family the "same" as ours! Charlotte and Avery really seemed to hit it off at dinner...they were so cute whispering secrets to one another and just being silly girls! Diabetes was present (as always)...and was what brought our families together...the girls knew they were the "same", but it went unspoken and took a back seat for the night!

After getting back to the hotel, I asked Charlotte if she enjoyed our dinner with Avery and her family. She looked at me as if I was crazy and told me "Of course, mom!" and followed that up by telling me that it felt "awesome" to not be the only one checking her blood sugar before dinner! The delight in her voice and in her eyes when she shared those words warmed my heart! Words can't begin to express how much something as simple as that means to me! I'd been told that our trip to JDRF's Children's Congress would be an amazing experience...little did I know! This opportunity gave both Charlotte and I so much more than I could have ever imagined!

Stay tuned....Part 2 of our Children's Congress experience to come later this week!

***Disclaimer: Charlotte was selected as a delegate for the 2011 JDRF's Children's Congress. JDRF paid for our air travel as well as our hotel accommodations and some meals during the 3-days of the Children's Congress events. JDRF did not ask for me to blog about Children's Congress...I just chose to since it was such an incredible experience! 

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