Sometimes, Seth takes a trip that is so tempting we have to tag along. I tried really hard to convince everyone that a trip to DC at this time in our lives could turn into a disaster. I even waited to pack until the night before, hoping someone would listen. It's been years since I've lived there and all I can remember is whining. I whined about being hot, being thirsty, being bored, and being so terribly tired. As a kid, I whined. As a mom, I imagined all the cool stuff I missed when I was busy whining. Then, I realized I might have five little whiners tagging along behind me.
Or maybe I'd lose one or two in the bustle of a big city. Or it would rain all week and we would be stuck inside the hotel.
Thus my worries about taking the trip.
I didn't tell the kids but I swaped out the shirts they packed for five shirts in matching colors. At least that might help keeping track of everyone. Although, the only other time I dressed everyone in the same color is the only day I've ever lost a child.
I thought about getting a couple of sporty animal backpacks with the long tails that double as leashes. But, I decided we would probably be attracting enough attention without me having five furry appendages, plus I didn't think Everett would go for that.
So the week began, driving most of the day. Seth clipped the van mirror as he sped past a parked city bus. Then he ran a very, very red light. I was having serious reservations by this point. Finally, we bid the van good riddance and wished the valet luck as he drove away.
Day one--Blue day. No one noticed that everyone had blue on, except Seth who exclaimed later that day, "Why didn't I get the blue memo?!" We arrived at The Mall before anything was open and proceeded to visit the memorials and monuments. As you can see, it was just the six of us and the park staff. Pretty cool way to take in the sights. By the time we made it to Lincoln, buses had descended and we were just faces in a growing crowd. And we had been walking for nearly 2 hours.
Day two was the day I realized we were attracting more attention than I had imagined. By mid-afternoon, we had been approached by a few Ethiopians and I started to notice the Asian tour groups. It could have been that they were taking pictures of things BEHIND us, but it certainly seemed like they were snapping photos of our little group. It didn't really dawn on me until I noticed that the chatter behind me had stopped and I only had two children. When I turned around, I saw two women, one posing with Sally and Everett while the other took photos. Eli was boucing around off to the side, beet-red, waving at me with uncertainty. Evidently, we must look very "American" in our matching shirts and varying skin tones.
Day three--we did the zoo in funky blue/green and left DC. We had done most of the museums, memorials, monuments, and probably walked 15 miles a day. We were ready to leave.
Our trip wasn't officially over, as we stopped for a night with Seth's aunt and uncle. We had the priveledge of getting a very personal tour of Monticello. Unfortunately, all we had was one outfit left. Keeping a count of 1-5 was no longer a pressing matter, but everyone was forced to wear matching reddish/pink. Except Seth, he didn't get the memo.