In my wildest dreams, I didn't expect that our CMN trip would be so amazing!
The trip started on an incredible note when we walked into the Dayton, OH airport and were greeted with, "Hi! Are you the Murphy family? We've been waiting for you!" The staff at Delta extended every courtesy to us, and made the four of us feel like celebrities. When it was time to board the plane, the gate agent made an announcement about how there was a V.I.P. on the plane, and then explained Amelia's champion status and said they were proud to be escorting us to meet the president.
When we disembarked in Washington, we were greeted by Delta and CMN staff, as well as a whole crew of Delta employees who were getting ready to fly the Cincinnati Reds back home, so they were in Cincinnati t-shirts. Everyone was cheering. The girls were loving it.
Once we reached our hotel (the beautiful and amazing Marriott International on Pennsylvania Avenue. . . mere blocks from the president!), there were even more Children's Miracle Network staff and Wal-Mart represenatives, greeting us by name, and giving us everything we'd need for the week.
This morning started early, and while the girls were still a bit tired, they perked right up when we reached our first location. We had a private party at the ESPN Zone, complete with breakfast, entertainment, lots of mingling, and all the games the kids could possibly play. Our special entertainment for the day was country star Mark Wills and Miss America. CMN and Wal-Mart is doing everything possible to pamper our brave kids this week, and all of the parents are appreciative.
After ESPN Zone, we took a bus tour of Washington. Our bus was the best of the bunch, of course. We got to ride with the president of CMN, the chairman of the board of directors of CMN, and Miss America. But, of course, this week the kids are the real stars. We've met kids who deal with every possible health issue, but the most remarkable thing about each of them is that they're also completely typical, adorable kids. Amelia is trading knock-knock jokes with her friend from Maine, and talking about dogs with her friend from Arkansas. She's trading tips about wheelchairs with the champion from Wisconsin, and on and on and on.
We rounded off our day at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, where we ran into friends from Cincinnati! And right now, the girls are vegging out in front of some tv before we hit the pool.
Two more days of amazing fun are ahead of us. I am struggling to not be constantly overcome with tears, as we are surrounded by so many people who have been working for months just to show us a good time. Of course I know my kids deserve this, but it is so wonderful when so many people know this, too. I cannot thank Children's Miracle Network, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, or any of the CMN sponsors enough right now. We are blessed.
And now, we're off to the pool.