Right after we ate our Friday breakfast and had signed in at Days Inn, we headed out for Focus on the Family. This is a location that we had been wanting to go for the past couple of years. We were really surprised to see less than 6 vehicles in their parking lot. We went to the door and discovered that it was locked. Right above the door handle, was a note that informed us that F.O.T.F. would be closed on Friday because a segment of The Learning Channel's and Discovery Health Channel's "20 and Counting" was being recorded there. Details also included that the famous Jim Bob and Michelle Duggarand most of their children would be performing the following day at Focus on the Family. Immediately after their performance, everyone was invited to join them at the building where the bookstore of F.O.T.F. is housed. Once there, the Duggars would be signing autographs for anyone and everyone in attendance.
After reading the note, we decided that we would come back to Focus on the Family the following day so that we could meet the internationally known and loved family. We arrived early in the afternoon between 2_00 and 3:00 and took our place at the back of the line of so many other people who wanted the opportunity to see this family. As time went be, many more people filed in behind our family. Little by little, inch by inch, we moved closer to the Duggars. At times, it seemed like the line was hardly moving at all. Fortunately, it was beautiful outside except for the fact that it was a little breezier than normal. If we had realized that we would end up standing for MORE than FOUR HOURS, we may not have stuck around afterall. LOL!!!
While all of us stood in line, people got to know others in front and in back of them very well. In some cases, we learned things about them that we really did not need to know. Ha! Ha! Kids spent part of their time playing children's games in the grass. A few children had to be told to please not climb the trees in front of the building. (It really surprises me sometimes at how many parents will allow their children to do things on or to other people's property...) At least two young mothers breastfed their babies while they were standing in line. Boy! I don't know how they did that!!! I breastfed Leighlyn. I don't think that I would have been able to do that from a standing position. Fortunately, both mothers had some kind of product that they were able to use that covered the baby and breast so that they could have their privacy. After one of the mothers had waited in line for about 2 hours, she gave up. She and her family decided to step out of line and go elsewhere. The second mother lasted for the entire time to get to meet the Duggars. I was soooo impressed with this lady and her baby boy! They were shopping at the outlet mall in Castle Rock when she received a text message from a friends that the Duggars were at Focus on the Family. She, the baby and a friend quickly made their way to F.O.T.F.! The mother and her friend took turns holding the adorable red-haired boy throughout the 4-hour-plus wait. Not once did the baby cry. Instead, he smiled and laughed through the entire time. The mother, who is the wife of an Army soldier, was outstanding! Though she was still very young, it was quite easy to see that her baby meant everything in the world to her. She talked a lot to her baby as if he was old enough to carry on a conversation with her. She also kissed him many times. So many young mothers are much more interested in other things than being such on-the-spot mothers.
Eventually, we were able to make into the bookstore's building. We still had a l-o-n-g way to go before we would reach the famous family but we were finally out of the wind! Inch by inch, we continued on our trek. Occassionally, people would decide that they had spent too much time just "standing around" so they would leave which allowed the rest of us behind them to move a little bit quicker. Employees of Focus on the Family delivered bottles of water to any and all of us who needed a drink. If a family member determined that he/she needed a bathroom break, the rest of the family retained their position in the line. No one wanted to take the chance that they would have to go to the "back of the line." LOL!
Finally, we were in the room where many of the Duggars were seated at a VERY long table. Though it was evident by the looks on their faces that each and every one of them was exhausted, they stayed right there, smiles on their faces and magic markers of various colors, in their hands. Early in our quest to meet the Duggars, employees came out to tell us that the Duggars were not going to stop signing autographs at the posted time. Instead, they vowed not to stop signing until the very last person in line had received his or her autographs.
By the time that we got to the Duggers table, some of the younger kids were gone. Needless to say, they were tired of sitting and writing. A few of the older children had left the table so that they could take care of their younger siblings. One child was left at home in Arkansas with a trusted babysitter because she was ill. Still we managed to meet 10 members of the famous family. And, let me tell you, I was TOTALLY impressed with each and every one of them!!! They were friendly, kind and just as nice as they appear on television! Over and over again, Jim Bob and Michelle apologized to Stan, the girls and me for us having to wait for so many hours so that we could meet them. We were honored to get to meet this exceptional family while they were on tour.
An hour or so before we got to meet the family, 1,400 people had made their way through the long line. After that, the correct count was lost. By the time that our book and photographs were signed, another 200-300 people remained in line behind us. Can you imagine the cramping in each of their writing hands???
During the family's performance earlier in the afternoon, an audience member asked Michelle if another baby was on his/her way. Michelle answered with a simple "no".
On Sunday, the family was going to go skiing.
The book: "The Duggars: 20 and Counting" has now been published. You can probably find it anywhere where books are sold or you can order it online. I think that you will enjoy it! It is loaded with information on the family that includes history of the childhoods of Jim Bob and Michelle onwards to now and the future. Many pictures are also included. Some of their favorite recipes have also found theirselves on the pages of this book.