Q:  Why on earth would a seemingly sane group of parents attempt to take six children to the national museums and monuments in Washington D.C. on perhaps one of the busiest and coldest days of winter break?

A:  Because walking on water, parting of the Red Sea, and creating Heaven and Earth have already been done.

I mean, c’mon!  Those miracles were so yesterday.  If we could pull this trip off and return in one piece with everyone still friends (children AND grownups), it would be an act of divine intervention.

Well, miracles do happen boys and girls.  Despite the crowds and the -150 degree wind chill on the National Mall, we created a few memories yesterday.  On a fairly last minute whim, two families piled into one mini-van to meet a third family in our Nation’s Capitol.

Not that our kiddos will remember many details.

They won’t remember that Mommy almost threw up in the flight simulator which took us on a virtual roller coaster ride through an asteroid laced solar system or that she took a power nap in the planetarium show.  They won’t recall the moment when we arrived at our first museum and each child wanted to go in a completely different direction.  They won’t be able to tell you much about the Americana exhibit because they have no idea or appreciation for who Fonzie, Archie Bunker or (gulp) Bugs Bunny is.  And they certainly won’t remember the $14.50 lunch that was purchased for them in the museum cafeteria from which they only ate four french fries.

But one aspect of the trip will hopefully survive in their little psyches.

The car ride.

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When I think of childhood trips, the actual destination is a blurriness of activity punctuated by moments of clarity that may or may not have happened.  BUT, I remember the long car rides vividly.

Back in the day, before the era when adults had apoplectic seizures every time a child unbuckled their seat belt for more than a millisecond, we used to roll around in the back of the station wagon on an orange shag carpet that was put there for our comfort.  I remember each and every ritual – holding our breath as we drove through tunnels, popping our ears over mountains, and giving the cars behind us the peace sign (and dissolving into a fit of mortified giggles if they returned the gesture).

Kim remembers looking for sand on the side of the road, a sign that the family was close to their Jersey Shore destination.

Rob reminded us about trying desperately to get truckers to blow their horns.

Dave, the intellectual, played the alphabet game with license plates and road signs.

We try to pass these traditions onto our kids with some success.  Although I fear that when our kids are older, they won’t remember the silly road games but rather that certain trip when somewhere after Exit 47, they leveled up in Mario Cart.


Still, we had great time with two families that we enjoy immensely. 

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And we now have a planned activity for New Years’ Eve:  Reruns of Happy Days and Loony Tunes!

Perfectumundo, doc.

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