Photo: The boys thought that the Capitol Building was the White House. We had to explain many times that it’s not. They also thought that the Washington Monument is where George Washington lives. We had to explain that one a couple times, too. “But so, he’s here, right? With Alexander Hamilton?” Major asked. Oh Lordy, that’s what I get. I spent a lot of time sorting it all out for him.
I never take for granted that Washington D.C. is a playground for my two boys. I know that it’s a unique and supreme privilege. Wading through the crowds of people at the Air & Space Museum yesterday, it was such a joy to see the wonder of people’s faces, listening to them speak in hushed tones at the treasures all around them, making plans for what they would see next. As for me, well… I was bored. I’ve been to the Air & Space Museum a million times and it’s absolutely no fun with my father-in-law yammering on and on and on… so I leaned against a balcony and yawned while the boys skipped off to see everything.
I’ve been a tourist this week. My in-laws have felt the need to do something every day that we’ve been here instead of letting us lounge about and be on vacation. We’ve made two excursions into the city so far, with yesterday being the day to head over to the Smithsonian. It would seem that the Air & Space Museum is about to undergo a major renovation and portions of it will close over time over the next few years. There was an urgency to have the boys see it before it changes and we don’t recognize it anymore. So, off we went.
It has been nice looking at the city through the eyes of my children. They see the big buildings and the monuments and they are simply bewildered. For Major, especially, who is starting to connect the dots between cartoons and books and things he has heard at school, Washington D.C. is some mythological place, more of a legend or magical kingdom in a story book. To be here and see it has been mind blowing for him.
And I’m reminded how lucky he is. Whenever we go home, we get to get visit. I can get these pictures whenever I want. We get to visit again and again and I get to layer the lessons of the good and the bad and the ugly as they age. I get to share the traditions of the locals, not just the random facts that the tour guides tell out of towners. These streets and those buildings mean something to us. We’re comfortable and at ease as we stroll about. The American Legion Bridge and GW Parkway ain’t nothin’ but a thang for us and the Beltway doesn’t intimidate us at all!
But leaning against the railway, watching Boy Scouts from all over the world (there were Scouts from Brazil and Sweden visiting, as well as a bunch from around the country) walk around in tight groups, men and women of all ages and from all places, young men wearing hats bearing the slogan of He Who Will Never Be Named Here standing next to an older man wearing a “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Bernie” shirt… I was reminded that a visit to D.C. is a very special thing for people. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing for many. I felt the pride that I’ve always felt ever since I was young: we share this place with all sorts of people. People could travel to a million places, but they choose to come here to see what we’ve got. It really matters to me. I’ve always been really proud of this place and the people who call it home. It’s a beautiful place, absolutely worthy of the awe that my children have for it. Not because of the individuals who sit in the seats of power (don’t get me started), but because it is a city built to showcase the best of what we are supposed to be.
I’m homesick like whoa, ya’ll. Wow. Don’t make me leave!
There is plenty that we are going to have to show the boys. There is time for that. I’m not ready to explain it all to them. Let them live in a less complicated world for a little bit longer. For now, airplanes are cool, rockets are better. The Lunar Lander blew their minds. They bent their necks as far back as they could to get a view of each of the satellites. I found a beautiful representation of the density of the universe from the Big Bang until now, and the boys thought it was weird. They’d rather laugh at the space toilets. Boys… Lordy.
Not all of it is the same ol’ stuff… we visited the National Harbor today, a development that had just broken ground when The Husband and I left for Massachusetts 10 years ago. It’s very… new and very… um… not what we’re used to. It’s very 1001 ways to spend all your money. It’s very… meh. We don’t get it.
But we did eat at a lovely little Mexican restaurant, Rosa Mexicano, which was absolutely delicious and serves a mojito that I’ll certainly look forward to enjoying again. There is a man with a roving guacamole car who makes your guacamole to order right in front of you and it’s outstanding. So, you know, I suppose that’s worth the trip across the “new” Wilson Bridge. The boys didn’t understand while The Husband and I tried to explain that there was an “old” Wilson Bridge when we lived here. “Well, what happened to it?” Major asked. Long story, kid.
It’s funny. The Husband and I have been chuckling about how old we are. And how old school we’ve become. Everything here has changed. Nothing feels quite the same. The old stuff is gone, the new stuff is weird… Home doesn’t wait for you while you’re gone. It moves on without you. There are new stories to be told. That’s ok, because it’s fun to remember and tell the boys what was. There is always laughter and happy sighs.
It’s mid-week already, Dear Reader! How are you holding up? I turned in my scene card yesterday and my new assignment for this week is to actually write it out! I’m excited and nervous! I was thinking I might write a draft and then share a paragraph or two… would that be of interest to you? It would certainly help me work on my perfectionism to share from time to time. We’ll see.
No matter what, I’ll see you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.