A few years ago, a friend once remarked that you could be a parent the last week of school or you could work, but you could not be a working parent that week. The number of activities that seem to require your presence do not leave much time to do anything but be a parent. Here, we had:
Wednesday morning, Sixth Grade Moving Up Ceremony on the hill at school, an event that I as PTO president helped shape. It replaced the former tradition of a big ceremony over at the high school. Parents seemed to really like the newer, more relaxed version.
Wednesday night, Walker’s Jazz Band performed at Fellini’s #9.
The place was packed, with parents standing outside in the street taking in the show. Edie plays bass in both orchestra and jazz band along with her friend Charlotte, making a well matched pair. Jazz band expanded Edie’s musical vocabulary in ways that was wonderful to witness this year. Thursday morning we were at school bright and early for the sixth grade field trip to DC. I somehow was the only parent chaperone who was assigned a co-chaperone,which was good, because Shannon and I managed to lose a child within minutes of getting off the bus. She was quickly recovered, but it really did take the full efforts of both of us to keep up with five girls all day.
We were dropped off at the Lincoln Memorial with a map and told to meet the buses at 2:15 on the other end of the National Mall. What we did in between was up to us.
We checked out monuments along the way – Vietnam, WWII, Washington. We went into the National Museum of American History, taking in the First Lady exhibit, Miss Piggy and the Star Spangled Banner. The flag is exhibited in a dark room and in my attempts to try to keep up with the children, I reached out and patted a small head nearby, asking if it was one of my kids. Turns out it was not only not one of my assigned children, it was also not a child. Dark, crowded museum exhibits and children are not a combination for the weak. That was about the time I wished I had one of those ropes preschools use to keep up with kids in public. You know the kind?
After consulting a map of the Mall, it was agreed by all to walk the entire length, with the US Botanical Gardens being our ultimate destination. Along the way, the girls paused to play in the courtyard of the Hirshhorn, where this magnolia scented the entire sculpture garden
We took a potty break at the National Museum of the American Indian (where we all agreed we were big fans of the the exterior and and gardens) before finally arriving at our destination, having taking many a selfie break along the way. By the time we got to the gardens, they wanted to head back to the Air and Space Museum. I asked if we could please just have five minutes in the conservatory. They grudgingly agreed, but upon walking in, the chorus of “WOW” I heard definitely made it worth while. I think they would have stayed longer, but since they honored my request to walk in the door and check it out, we honored their request to go see ‘science’ at the Air and Space museum.Where they proceeded to ditch us, texting us later to say they’d meet us at the front door just before our pick up time. Shannon and I left the crowded chaos of several thousand school children for the cool, dark and quiet basement café and gift shop at National Gallery just across the mall for a few minutes before heading back to get on the bus to go home. Chaos was the order of the day with the buses circling the block looking for spots to load up, children wondering why the bus just couldn’t stop in the middle of the street, missing chaperones (not us!) and the breakdown of a bus. Along the way there were multiple pukers and tales of losing children, making Shannon & I feel much better about not being able to keep up with our gang. It seemed we were not the only ones who lost children, to not be able to keep up with all the children in the more crowded (and dimly lit) museums and definitely not the only ones to just let them do what they wanted to.
Hello, sweet glorious unstructured summer.