So when I say the last person in the world I expected to see at this family-oriented conference was Patrick Rojas, I mean he was literally the last person I expected to see there.
In retrospect, I should have expected him to be there. Up to this point, almost always the opposite of what we expected to happen-happened. Patrick was at the conference with his parents, Eddie and Kathy, and his 12 other siblings. The Rojas family members were actually guests of Michael Bradrick's, who is on the Heritage Home Educators of Washington board of directors.
We called Jim and Dave (the elders) of our church and requested that they ask Patrick to leave the conference--that is was too hard for us to see him. As he didn't have any children he was homeschooling, it seemed reasonable that he leave so we could attend the conference in peace. Jim and Dave communicated to us that this was something out of their sphere as elders. They were willing to communicate our wishes, but they would not tell him that he had to leave.
Once again they deferred to Patrick.
We left devastated.
An hour + after the last phone conversation, we were driving home from Overlake where the conference was held when we received another call from Dave Barrueto, who said, "Patrick had been thinking and decided to leave the conference so we could attend it." The actual conference only had about two hours left by this point and we were one and a-half hours away. We originally called Dave at around 7am that morning. Now it was about 3pm. Our response to Dave: "It's too little, too late!"
I have a friend that gave me a card during this time....