Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ready, Steady, Go! And don't be afraid to sing.

A stroller's-eye view of the Washington Monument

I'm late. I'm always late; and this blog post is no exception. My exuse this time? I was on an airplane.

I thought I'd write about traveling with kids, and that doing it after the fact would give me insight into what I wish we'd brought with us for the plane trip. But then it turned out to be one of the easiest, most fun trips on a plane that I've taken with kids. We had plenty of snacks, stickers and coloring books. On a cross-country trip including a stopover and plane change, we didn't even get around to the finger puppets I brought, or the chapter books for my reader. I've heard that a portable DVD player is a must on the airplane when you're traveling with children, but I saw it as quality time spent with my kids and we were all nicely entertained. It was actually a blessing that we couldn't all sit together - for half the trip one adult sat with the kids while the other got some R&R, and then we switched.

Today, however, the lesson came. And not in the way I expected it to. We are here to visit my family first and foremost. But in this town your'e cheating yourself if you don't get out and see some things, too. Today we thought we'd see one of the many museums on our list. But we didn't get there with enough time to really see it so we decided to change our plans and just go for a walk to see some of the city's sights. My sister dropped us off, so we were on foot for a couple hours. Right in the middle of our walk, wouldn't you know it, a downpour. We're from the northwest; we don't carry umbrellas. And besides, it was warm rain, not our native frigid kind. We all got soaked, and the kids were slightly miserable about it, but we were ready with good attitudes - there was nowhere to go but forward on our walk, so we might as well make the best of it! - and a couple of old hit songs (picture me singing as loud as I dared in this busy place "I don't care if the sun don't shine, I get my lovin' in the evening time, when I'm with my baby! ... ")

The Lincoln Memorial was the only shelter around. She was annoyed by the grown-ups' good moods in spite of the rain.

Sometimes being prepared is about having the right stuff - for entertainment on a plane ride or surviving an emergency. And sometimes it's about a flexible plan and a good attitude. And seriously, knowing the words to a few good oldies - and being willing to sing them out loud! - can be a lifesaver when you least expect it.

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