In April of this year my daughter and I had the extreme pleasure of traveling to Washington, D.C. to speak on Capitol Hill about mental health issues. On the morning of the first day of training for this event, my daughter and I stopped in a little hole in the wall called Wicked Waffle. My daughter has food challenges. There are many foods that either don't taste right or feel right in her mouth. As a result she often becomes anxious about trying new foods. From the minute we stepped inside this bustling restaurant, we were greeted by smiling faces who served up bits on heaven on a waffle. I'm not sure how the conversation got started, but my friendly, outgoing child quickly struck up a conversation with the cashier, Miss Linda. Miss Linda wanted to know what we were going to speak about on Capitol Hill. Princess told her in her own sweet way the topic and explained that she has bipolar disorder. (You can read more about our day on The Hill here.)
As we were leaving Princess made sure to give all of her new friends a hug. She also made me promise that we would come back one last time before the end of our trip.
After a day of trainings and another day on The Hill, our work in D.C. was finished, but we stayed a few extra days to see the sites of the city and surrounding environs. That Saturday morning Princess could not wait to go get her waffle at Wicked Waffle. She was equally excited to see her new friends so she could tell them about all of the important work she had done. Unfortunately the restaurant wasn't open as early as we were up. I had to convince my daughter that we would eat breakfast somewhere else, but that after seeing the sites we would return to her new favorite diner for lunch.
After sightseeing, I kept my word. Princess and I dined at our home away from home once again. We had the same wonderful experience as we had had a few days previously. Miss Linda was again ringing up patrons with a smile and a few kind words for all. I think if we could have bottled up this fine establishment, my daughter would have been the happiest kid on the planet.
The crowning moment was when Miss Linda and Princess took picture together. I used my phone, but made sure to text it to Miss Linda.
As we left on our merry way, we promised to try to return next year. Once again Princess gave a round of hugs to all of the employees.
Imagine our surprise when Miss Linda called us a few weeks later. Then she called again on Mother's Day and has called a least once a month since then. Sometimes she has a fellow employee with her that we can chat with as well. She has made it her mission to check in and cheer my child on.
It had been a little while since we last heard from Miss Linda. I was thinking that I needed to call her to check in on her when she surprised us once again. She took time out of her busy day to call my daughter to tell her that she and her fellow waffle makers thought that Princess should talk to the Pope. My daughter made an impression on these sweet people. We were both humbled by the thought.
We are not able to see the Pope on his papal tour of the east coast, but who knows maybe some day my child will get a chance to speak to him and other important people about mental health.
Princess and Miss Linda