Friday, April 04, 2008

The Smithsonian.... Without Kids

It's kind of like a banana split without the banana. I spent last weekend in Washington D.C. by myself. I went for a triathlon coaching seminar, and just couldn't find an airfare low enough to bring the kids along. Wandering through the mall, the monuments, and spending an afternoon at the Smithsonian by myself was a little eerie. On one hand, it was kind of strange and wonderful to have a whole day where the only influence on my time was what I wanted to do (I even took a little break with a paperback in the middle of the afternoon - oh my!). On the other hand, it made me realize how much I love sharing things with my family. Being in the Smithsonian by myself, well it was cool, but I couldn't help thinking how Asa would love the animal exhibits, or Mackenzie would be fascinated by the section on asteroids. I only stayed a couple of hours and then wandered on.

One thing I did love was that I got up very early on Friday morning and went to see all the monuments at sunrise, by myself. That's something I wouldn't have been able to drag the kids along for anyways, and it was a very moving experience. The sun rises behind the Washington Monument and fills up the Lincoln Memorial with light. There was no one else around and I spent a good amount of time with Mr. Lincoln overcome by emotion. This monument is one of the most awe-inspiring places I've ever been on the planet. The sheer size and scope of it, Lincoln's words on the wall, and his statue that looks like it is ready to stand up and walk forth, it is a very powerful place. When it's crowded with people, it is still impressive. But when you can stand there in the hush of dawn and watch the sun fill it with golden light, and read Lincoln's words, which still echo forth in the issues of our day, well that is something else altogether.

So now that I'm back, I'm both grateful for the time spent on my own, and doubly appreciative of the small people that I get to share my world with on a daily basis.

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