Vice President Joe Biden said it himself: “The good news is, the Vice President is coming! The bad news is, the Vice President is coming!” as he stood before US Embassy Moscow employees and family members eager to meet him and shake his hand.
It had been a typically atypical morning again: my husband was off to work earlier than usual, our pre-schooler was scolding me for not reading her book about tea parties for a third time in a row, and our toddler was sleeping in unusually late, daring to threaten our timely arrival at the Biden event. She had gone to sleep in a princess dress and so was dressed for the day already, until she urinated on the floor next to her potty just minutes before we were to leave for the event.
No food or drinks were allowed, so while there would be no chance of beklekering, as the Germans say, the girls’ outfits, there was every chance that we would be waiting for an hour and a half with children whining from hunger and thirst. The only thing not unusual about the day was my high level of anxiety about photographing the event, which I had been asked to photograph but declined, remembering my follies from Governor Schwarzenegger’s visit (see previous blog post). Even without the onus of being the event photographer, I was still the self-proclaimed family record keeper and had to live up to my claims as such.
Joe Biden was introduced by Dr. Jill Biden, his lovely wife, who thanked the spouses and families of the Foreign Service officers who dedicate their lives to this line of business. Amen to that, because every time somebody in, for example, Korea (North or South) decides to make some maneuver or provocative political comment, my husband comes home late for dinner, as he follows these issues. Our family dinners and bedtime stories are often directly affected (read: disrupted) by people in far away places who have no idea they are affecting us, but that is part of what diplomacy is about, I suppose.
On the other hand, the late nights and weekends spent by my husband and his boss and colleagues in order to facilitate the VP’s visit to Moscow were rewarded by the very sincere and articulate words of the Biden couple, Joe’s warmth toward all the children present, and his willingness to shake hands and take pictures with everyone. While gathering all the children to some carpeted steps where Joe sat down, he saw our toddler, dressed in a frilly pink tutu and plastic silver tiara and called to her, “Hey Princess, come on up here, too!”