That Time I Met The President Of The United States

There are moments in life that you know you will never forget.

As they are happening, you find yourself really aware that you are living something that will (most likely) never happen again.

The once in a lifetime opportunities.

On Wednesday, April 15th, 2015, I found myself experiencing one of those “please don’t wake up and have this all have been a dream” moments thanks to Blog Her and She Knows Media.

This is the story of that time I met The President of the United States.

The day itself started off like any other, in that I rose before the sun and got ready for work. I will admit to spending a bit more time than usual on my hair, as I hoped that with enough mousse and curling iron action I would be able to distract The President from my multiplying by the second gray roots. There was, however, no hope of hiding my Bert from Sesame Street eyebrows, so I took that as a reminder from the universe that I should stop ignoring eyebrow care from here on out.

After spending the morning at my office, where I took a brief break from working to be interviewed for the news…yep, it was every bit as crazy as you would imagine, I headed off to the Obama Town Hall.

ObamaTicket

My ticket

We all gathered in the library where the event was being held for about an hour and a half before President Obama arrived. It was the perfect amount of time to enjoy all of the music playing that instantly took me back to the campaign days of 2008. Think Signed, Sealed, Delivered and City of Blinding Lights, and you get the idea. I visited with other bloggers around me (Hi Jen, Towanda and Nichole!) and tried really hard not to cry.

See, I knew as I sat there in that space that there was no one, NO ONE, who would have loved this experience for me more than my mom. It is because of my mother that I am passionate about politics, as I accompanied her to vote for the first time when I was just 2 months old and never missed an election day with her until I went to college (and even then we would stay up late talking on the phone as we watched the election results come in). My mother absolutely loved political discussions, and she loved Barack Obama. I could pratically hear her as I sat there waiting telling me that when it was all over I better remember every minute because she would want to know every single detail, and she would absolutely mean EVERY.SINGLE.DETAIL.

And then I kind of had a peaceful calm come over me as the straining notes of another round of City of Blinding Lights began where I could almost just feel her there, reminding me that I had this. That imaginary tap on the shoulder to say “enjoy every second and use this opportunity to make your daughters proud of you”.

Soon after, there was an announcement that we needed to silence our cell phones and prepare for the program to begin.

And just like that, The President of the United States walked in, inches away from me.

ObamaCollage

 Well, hello, there Mr. President!

The President spoke to all of us, completely candidly, without notes or a teleprompter for a little over an hour. It was quite obvious sitting there listening to him that he, like those of us in the room, feels passionately about women being paid the same as men for equal work. He has a personal stake in this cause, as he himself has daughters. I was extremely impressed both with his knowledge base and his ability to connect with our audience.

And the issues being discussed, especially those related to equal pay for equal work? Those issues aren’t political. They have nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat. They are about being just and being fair.

At the end of the event, there was time for one more question, and y’all, that question went to me.

I got a chance to ask The President of the United States the question I had prepared:

As the mother of two daughters, how do you suggest I best empower them if they will be paid less than a male counterpart with the same skill set and the same background?

This is what The President said to me:

“You’ve got to remind your daughters that things are not perfectly fair, but people who work hard can make it fair…The way things get better is by that next generation taking ownership and being inspired…We want them to feel like the world is wide open to you, you can remake this thing, ultimately at some point you guys are going to be in charge. And so we want to not send a message to them that somehow they’re limited. We want to tell them what I tell Melia and Sasha, there’s nothing you can’t do.”

And with that, the event was over. The President headed over to me first (probably because he had just finished answering my question) and shook my hand. I thanked him for coming and for the honor of getting a chance to speak with him. He told me to keep working hard as a nurse and that The White House loves nurses.

I stayed after it was over for a little while doing a few interviews, chatting with bloggers and thanking Lisa Stone for being an amazing moderator.

My only regret of the day (besides the lack of eyebrow waxing) was not somehow managing to tell The President that for the first 5 years of her life Abby called him “Barack Omama”, as I think he would have enjoyed that little anecdote.

It is honestly hard still as I sit here writing this to put into words what this experience meant to me, as a mom, as a woman and as an American.

I will say simply that I am forever grateful and beyond humbled to have been given this truly once in a lifetime opportunity.

Clt Blogger Ashley Taylor discusses Equal Pay for Women w/ ObamaAshley, you are amazing! What a great story. Proud to be represented by a woman like you!

Posted by Vicki Vogt-Smith on Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Comments

That Time I Met The President Of The United States — 35 Comments

  1. Ohhh I can feel your excitement and disbelief come through as I read this. What an honor and a huge moment for you! I’m not sure I would have been able to ask him my question without my voice wavering and my cheeks burning up, haha. Fantastic question and I love that he went over to you first to shake hands. Wow! You’re going to remember this one; imagine telling your grandkids about it one day 🙂

  2. What an absolutely incredible experience! I can feel your excitement, it strangely brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

  3. I’m so glad you’re back.Thank you for this post, it was so moving in many ways. It made me miss my Mom for one. And I’m pretty sure our President did not think anything of your eyebrows but he certainly thought about your question.

  4. You really did get a once in a lifetime experience! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I am so glad that you got to ask him your questions and I liked the answer he gave!

  5. It was such a blast to see you talking with the actual president! He really seemed to put a lot of thought into answering your question, thinking of his own daughters. Yes, your mother would have been ecstatic to have seen it.

  6. I have been so happy for you so many times throughout your life, but never have I been more happy and proud of this moment for you. Your comments about your mom brought tears to my eyes, and I believe with all my heart that she was there, right next to you, grinning from ear to ear, with tears in her own eyes. I had my own “conversation” with her that day, both of us proud of the woman you have become, of the mother you have become, and more importantly, the citizen you have become. You carry the torch for her and her passion for politics and all things that are good and right in this country. Loved reading your comments about your day!

  7. Wow. Just wow. From talking about your own mom and how you felt her there, to sitting so close to the President and then actually talking with him, I’m just sitting here stunned. What an absolutely amazing experience that you will have for the rest of your life. Thank you for being our voice that day! I would 100% chose you to speak for me! Amazing.

  8. Well hello there. What an amazing, amazing experience. He was SO blessed to meet you. Your mom is beaming right now and I can’t help but think that she somehow had a hand in putting the two of you together.

  9. A-MAZING!!!! Ashley, I am so, so happy that you had this opportunity. And how special that you felt the presence of your mom encouraging and calming you as you soaked up every moment of the experience. You did an awesome job asking your question – one that really distills the issue down to its most basic form. I’m not at all surprised that President “Omama” addressed the equal pay for women issue with such knowledge and passion. It sounds like his daughters would be proud of him – just as I know your daughters (and you mom!) are proud of you.

  10. Such an exciting opportunity to see the grass roots of democracy play out in a town hall like this! You are too funny about the eyebrow waxing though and gray hair musing, sounds like one of the random thoughts that come to me at the oddest times 🙂

  11. Congratulations again on such an amazing experience! You asked a great question, and the President’s answer is certainly interesting. I can tell that this was special for you on many different levels. Your mother would be so happy for you.

  12. This is so very awesome. I know that President Omama is still questioning your eyebrows, though! Just kidding.
    I think you made an impact, plain and simple. And so did he.
    I never talk about politics on my blog and it’s probably bad form to do it here instead, but I voted for him.
    Twice.
    I’d do it again too.

  13. It sounds so trite to say this but I was so proud of you and to know you that day!!!! What an amazing experience!!!!!! And I can’t think of a better person to be there with the President. I love your question and I love his answer. Sending so much love to you!! Congratulations for a great job done!!

  14. A: You were absolutely articulate — it gave me such confidence and pride to moderate the conversation, knowing the quality of the blogs and social conversations you and the other SheKnows Media experts create every day. Brava!

    I can only imagine the pride you brought to your mother 🙂

    Best,
    Lisa

  15. That is amazing, such an incredible oppportunity! You are an inspiration to your mom and daughters! And I work in the communications dept. of a large home health care agency…so I love nurses too!

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