Occasionally an invitation comes along that you can't turn down. You rearrange your schedule and make it work at any cost. Today I was invited to spend Take Your Son/Daughter to Work Day at the White House with Michelle Obama. As a result, my son now thinks that a typical work day for me involves long train rides, cool Secret Service agents, and trays of delicious oatmeal raisin cookies that always seem to magically be refilled.
We watched as Michelle Obama held court with about 200 kids whose parents work in the Executive Office of the President, answering their questions and later we had the opportunity to ask a few stumpers of our own. Michelle connected beautifully with the kids, modulating her answers so they were just right for the 5-year-old boy or the 14-year-old girl asking the question.
Here are few of my favorite questions and answers:
Do Sasha and Malia have sleepovers? Yes. Though they prefer going to their friends' houses just like any other kids.
An 8-year-old girl celebrating her birthday today asked what the First Lady likes to do on her birthday. She likes to sleep late and have a day where she can do exactly what she wants to do and eat whatever she wants. She then reached out to the adults in the room adding, "Doing nothing is a really big gift. Right parents?" Head nods all around.
Who is her favorite superhero? Superman. She likes how he's just a regular guy hiding all these superpowers. People always underestimate him because he looks so nerdy. And her superhero power of choice would be flying.
Occasionally Mrs. Obama looked to the press corp to help her with answers to questions. When did they get Bo? How big is the White House?
Later in a more intimate round table, Michelle answered questions from journalists and their children. My son asked a real puzzler: Where do you park your helicopter? (A future Bob Woodward -- right?) He got some laughs though he was deadly serious and the answer was actually pretty interesting. She assumes the helicopter, which is named Marine One, gets parked at Andrews Air Force Base with the planes, but it flies around the world in the belly of a plane if the President needs a helicopter elsewhere. No rent-a-copters for the Prez.
You can watch the full event with children from the Executive Office here :
What would you ask the First Lady if you had a chance to sit down with her?