June 18 marked our 11th anniversary. Last year was the big #10, so I made sure we did family photos:
So, honestly, I wasn’t expecting anything this year beyond our annual cheesecake. But, back in the spring, an idea was floated about doing some training with BCM in the D.C. area. As the months progressed, it became apparent that this will not be the year for that particular training. I was slightly bummed; it’s the last year my uncle will be in D.C. as a Congressman, so the last year we can visit while they’re there. Then, some friends who had offered to babysit while we went so I could lead training offered to still watch the kids so we could go away. It just so happens that the weekend of training was going to fall on our anniversary, that’s the weekend our friends were free, and it was perfect timing for us as well. We made a last minute decision to just do it (we’ve never been away from the kids overnight simultaneously before!) and finished our arrangements during the week. Finally, Friday morning, we headed out!
We had a fabulous time touring D. C. in what was the equivalent of about a full day. Even though it was short, we fit a lot in! We hit the ground running on Friday.
The one place I, personally, wanted to be sure to see was the Holocaust Museum, but it was booked through until next week. My aunt, who’s amazing, walked us through security, flashed her I.D., and got us tickets for the next tour going up. I was almost in tears; it meant the world to me. I will probably still continue to process the museum over the next few days. Even though I’ve read countless autobiographies, biographies, historical accounts, and even novels on this time in history, there was something surreal about seeing it all come to life. You exit the elevator and it is dark and oppressive and all you hear is German chanting and singing, and Hitler shouting. It transports you. At one point, you think you are done viewing most of the actual events of the Holocaust, turn a corner, and see this:
This is a bin, probably two feet deep, of nothing but shoes, with a matching bin on the opposite side of the room. This is one of only four pictures I took within the museum.
Another moment was standing on a little bridge being surrounded on all 4 sides by 8×10 pictures of people – families, individuals, children, couples – all from one city. The entire city was wiped out. It no longer exists except in those photographs.
For Brian, the emotional moment was looking at drawings done by Jewish children living in a ghetto. They even said what happened to those children. I had to keep walking; I think he stopped and read every single one.
From there, we stood in the sunlight for a few minutes, got our bearings, and headed off to tour the monuments (a much lighter topic!). The evening was beautiful and we were able to see basically all the monuments! We are SO glad we took the time and walked it all!
We were pretty tired when it was over, but our view from the Lincoln Memorial was gorgeous:
Saturday morning, my aunt took us through the Capital.
All the history, the stories, the behind-the-scenes info was phenomenal. We stood on the steps where the President comes out to give his inaugural address:
Inside was one giant history lesson. It was fascinating learning all the symbolism and the reasons behind why things are how they are, how it’s laid out, how it’s decorated and why… So very awesome.
*Point in case: this is the Congresswomen’s personal powder room, not open to anyone but them during the work week. The couch we’re sitting on is where President John Quincy Adams died. He was the only President to be a Congressman after being President. He suffered a stroke while at his desk and was brought in here. He wanted to die where he spent his life serving the people. He had a heart attack on that couch and passed away. Okay, so sitting on it smiling was a little morbid, but the history is fascinating!*
After our tour, we headed to downtown D.C. where we had a fabulous lunch at a French cafe then went to see the White House up close. Which really isn’t all that close when it comes down to it. Then, we did a quick one-hour run through the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (spoiler: it’s nothing like “Night at the Museum”), caught the Metro, picked up the car, and booked it back home!
The few days away were so refreshing. Thanks to our friends who gifted us with the overnight, we weren’t worried about the kids and we knew they were taken care of above and beyond. We got home to sleeping children who, though tired today, were not exhausted, so we enjoyed our Father’s Day even though we kept it low-key.
Now, back to reality! Hopefully it won’t be another 11 years before we get to do this again…