Three more Reverb10 prompts to go, holy cow I think I will actually do this daily blog/writing thing this month! Hooray for me.
Today's prompt asks about a defining moment or series of events that affected my life this year. I think I'm going to take a spin on this a bit (really, what else is new?) and talk instead about a defining moment/series of moments that defines my LIFE in 2010.
And that is, the proverbial Death March to the Jefferson Memorial, July 13, 2010.
First, I hope you dear readers understand that I don't use the term Death March lightly. I was living in the Philippines when I was first exposed to the term "death march" in high school. The Bataan (just to be clear, this is pronounced Bah-tah-AHN. Not Bah-TAN. That would make me want to murder bunnies if you pronounced it that way. Save the bunnies, please.) Death March was a horrid piece of World War II, taking place along the Bataan Peninsula on the north end of Manila Bay in the Philippines. Many, many people died. We studied it in detail in school, at one point I was very familiar with the particulars. I don't mean to belittle that horrid event in history.
So when I tell you that I dragged my children on a 3.5 mile hike in downtown Washington, D.C., in JULY. Well, you'll know I mean the comparison in purely the literal sense. There were times when we thought we would actually die. No, we were certain.
The day started innocently enough. We've visited Washington, D.C. a number of summers in a row, tagging along with a regular work event of the husband's. So we've seen many of the sights. We did WWII in '08, the major monuments at night in '09, Air/Space and the Capitol in '09, etc. So when asking around this year, I got the recommendation to see the Building Museum, as they had a special lego exhibit.
We made it an adventure. First, I made the kids figure out the Metro, having given them some information ahead of time. They had to study the map, figure out our destination, figure out how much money to put on the metro cards, and see where to switch trains (yes, I helped a smidge, but mostly I let them figure it out.) Living waaaaay the heck out in the suburbs means we don't get the chance to use public transportation much, so I take it as a specific responsibility of mine to teach them/give them opportunities to learn about how to navigate another city's transportation systems when we travel. We did this again in NYC in November, very successful.
The building museum was lovely.
One of my favorite pictures of the kids from 2010 (I used this as the cover for my annual Shutterfly Photo Book, which arrived today and came out great!) The lego part was so-so, but the kids had fun building in a huge playspace for lego building, so that was entertaining too.
We also managed to find an antique in the building museum, a real pay phone!
After the building museum, we stopped at a restaurant down the road for lunch. I reconnoitered with my phone and determined it was just under a mile to the White House, so I begged, I pleaded, I wheedled. The children agreed with me to go see the White House.
Along the way we had to stop to see a man about a horse.
Then we did proceed on and see the White House, which is a bit of a disappointment these days since you're shunted pretty far away, but we saw the vegetable garden that First Lady Obama put in, neato.
Somewhere along here, we began to melt. Quite literally. I was alarmed. We set out in the morning with temps in the low 80s and a light drizzle/mist rain falling. By now it was over eleven hundred degrees.
Of course if you're familiar with the geography of D.C., you'll know that being next to the White House puts you in a public transportation No Man's Land. Not even taxis can get close, so we walked. Trudged. Marched. On.
Right past the Washington Monument, which is cool when you try to hold it up or pinch its top.
By now I had the brilliant idea of taking them past the World War Two monument, which was Right There. And had a FOUNTAIN. This was very smart of me.
We all cooled our tootsies, and then I convinced them that we should also go to see the Jefferson Memorial, which was Right There.
And there's this strange rip in the space-time continuum along the walkway to the Jefferson Memorial, because no matter how far you walk you can't seem to get any closer.
So we walked.
And it turns out the FDR Memorial is along the way. More water! And the very interesting bread line to line up in. Remember my bit about bronze statuary?
But after FDR, we had to keep walking.
Can you tell how thrilled my little angels were by now?
It just didn't seem to get any closer.
Until, suddenly, we were there. Can you imagine the joy? Best part? It was mildly air conditioned on the lower level. We shopped for souvenirs until our legs couldn't take it anymore.
We made it!
And, really, it was worth it for this photo alone:
And now? We have this memory to talk about, joke about, compare other experiences to. "Oh, it's no Jefferson Memorial." And my kids are old enough to laugh along, appreciate the joke, and enjoy the process that got us there, even though we did spontaneously combust somewhere on the ellipses.