One Hoosier momma's voyage to Capitol Hill
Last week was the first time I was away from my now 7 1/2 month-old Baby RayRay for more than 24 hours. I was both excited and nervous as heck!
As you may have guessed, it was a pretty special occasion that would wind up taking me away from home for three whole days. It was one of those trips that I could absolutely not turn down ... the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. again and meet with members of U.S. Congress to discuss critical issues in agriculture that affect us right here on the farm (including estate taxes, ethanol blender pumps, the Environmental Protection Agency, Clean Water Act and the 2012 Farm Bill).
|U.S. Sen. Dan Coates (R-Ind.)|
|U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) speaking to our group in the Foreign Relations Committee room in the Capitol.|
|Inside the Capitol. One member of our group was given an behind the scenes tour and ran into Sen. John McCain!|
|Our Congressional meeting with U.S. Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.)|
Despite my enthusiasm for the opportunity, I was, admittingly, nervous to leave Baby RayRay with Daddy Big D. I knew he would do a great job, I knew she would be fine. But would she remember me when I returned ... would she continue to nurse ... would Big D remember to put her PJs on and feed her cereal and veggies in the evening. One of my biggest concerns was traveling to D.C. with my trusty Medela pump, pumping every 3-4 hours was no doubt going to be a challenge and in fact .... it was.
Ugh ... honestly I felt that a milk cow that had to lug around her own milking machine all day in addition to my purse, because I couldn't fit ANYTHING else in that darn Medela bag, which by the way is anything but stylish. And then the only place to go to pump was the dang ladies room, because Capitol Hill is not real conducive to nursing moms or really just ... moms. Because I had to carry my Medela around with me everywhere, I decided I deserved the extra room of the handicapped stall. Women had to be wondering what in the heck is that sound. Before I became a nursing momma, I am quite sure I wouldn't recognize the sound of a Medela pump. It was embarrasing, but she (as in Baby RayRay) is worth it and doggonit, we are going to make it to 12 months (100 percent nursing) and that is that!
A funny story ...
As we were passing through security to enter the U.S. Capitol, turns out no food or beverage is allowed in the building. I hadn't even paid attention to the fact that I had a Dt. Mt. Dew stuff in the side of my Mary Kay messenger bag. I was quickly reprimanded to toss the bottle in the trash immediately.
"Okay, okay, but ... um ...," I said.
"No, ma'am ... outside throw your bottle away outside," explained the officer.
"Okay, but umm ... that bag right there," I started to explain, as I watched my Medela bag pass through security on the mini conveyer belt.
Then the officer on the other side of the security platform said to me, "Ma'am, you don't have to say anything at all, it's ok ma'am, don't say anything at all."
He kept saying it over and over again. He was nervous and clearly a little uncomfortable. It was as if, he literally just saw some unmentionables pass through the security checkpoint. It was sorta funny. No, it WAS hilarious!
Back home to Indiana
When I returned from my trip to Capitol Hill, I couldn't give that little sweetie (no, not the security guard ... ) enough kisses and in return, she couldn't stop smiling. Everything worked out spendidly. Baby RayRay did great, Big D did great and she had no trouble getting back into our old routine when I returned. And on top of that, I had an absolutely wonderful time in Washington, D.C. meeting with our legislators. One of our legislators even called me a "tough cookie" when I started to question him on his animal welfare initiatives. You betcha Mr. Congressmen. Because what you do in D.C., the decisions you make for our country affect everything that we do on our farm in Indiana.