Sometimes I get so busy living life I don’t have time to write about it. My journal reflects that — as does this blog.
The last few weeks have been prep-for-vacation/trip/recovery. Early in July my family met in St. Louis for our first annual family vacation. All my children and most of my grandchildren were there. My daughters planned it all. I only had to show up.
My youngest son, Phillip, and I picked up a rented Volkswagen Passat to make the trip. He said to me, “You look good in this car.” (I have written here about my ancient Dodge Caravan.)
Members of my family came from Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Brazil. Our ages ranged from Phil at 23 and … well … me. No young children. But that will change soon as one of the grand couples shared with the group that they are with child. We had college students, teachers, ministers, execs from 3 different non-profits, administrative assistants and a dining room manager. Thirteen in all. I don’t know what time zone Missouri is in but in the end does it matter? No. We each had our own internal clock to adjust.
It was a tad difficult to choose activities because no one really cared where we went to enjoy being together. Finally a grandson, one of the executive types, would say, “Okay, here’s a plan.”
We visited Grants Farm and the Busch Brewery, Trader Joe’s, Steak and Shake (sadly gone from Little Rock). We had tentative plans to see the Cardinals play since they were in town. Though I love baseball, I had opted out of the game when the temperature broke 100 degrees before I left Arkansas. A few hardy souls thought seriously about the game but in the end sanity won out.
So it was the City Museum for all of us. I’m not sure why this is called a museum. It is a mega play-place. There were lots and lots and lots of families with small children. The temperature was probably 90 degrees. I was clearly the oldest person there.
This is how I experienced City Museum:
I saw a few gargoyles and chunks of cement off old buildings. I didn’t see many placards explaining what I was seeing or why I should be interested.
I saw many, many children. I didn’t see a “lost child” or “first aid” station.
I saw a huge slide and mammoth jungle gym two stories high. I didn’t see staff helping children and parents use equipment and be safe.
I saw alcohol being served in one of the concession stands. I didn’t see anyone checking ID.
I saw a lost child. I didn’t see a frantic-looking parent.
The toddler (less than 2-y/o) wandered into my vision and headed to the enormous staircase. I took the child’s hand to lead her away from the stairs, and asked a woman standing nearby, “Is this your baby?” “No.”
I really wanted to pick up the little girl but I was afraid it might upset her. I stood there holding her hand for several minutes … long enough to have taken her and disappeared into the crowd and out the door. A young woman came around the corner with a casual, “Oh, there you are,” and the child ran to her. I have thought many times I really should have given that careless mom a good stiff lecture.
After the 20-somethings in our group (and at least one of the 50-year-olds) had come down the long slide, we took our leave of City Museum. (Have you ever tried to slide down stainless steel in sweaty clothes?)
We ended our day on The Hill, a charming “little Italy” neighborhood, with dinner at Rigazzi’s. Wonderful pasta dishes, amazing pizza and ‘fish bowls’ full of frigid drinks, then back to the hotel for the obligatory photo-shoot.
As we started home the next morning Phil summed it up for us again.
“That was fun. I love our family.”