I love my children all the time… sometimes I don’t like them very much, but I always love them. There are times though, that my heart just BURSTS with love for them. Today was one of those times – and it didn’t come easy, let me tell you!
My husband’s grandmother passed away recently and his plan was to fly back to Idaho this weekend for the funeral. The kids and I have stayed home, and although it’s hard to be separated during the holidays, I am thankful that he is able to be with his family during this difficult time. He flew out of DC today which was kind of a change for us. I don’t like dealing with DC traffic so I automatically fly in and out of Baltimore. This time though, we decided to go through DC and just take the Metro to the airport. That was the plan.
First, we left half an hour late so right out of the gate we were stressing out. After a quick fill up and a bag of powdered donuts (hubby said he thought they would be “cleaner” than chocolate”… powdered donuts + young children does NOT = clean!!!) we headed out. Traffic was of course horrible because we had to deal with morning commuters. When we got to the Metro station, I bought hubby his one way ticket, then got three all day passes for me and the kids. My husband went right through the turnstile, but when it was my turn, my ticket wouldn’t work. Try as I might, it just wasn’t working. The (not so kind) employee informed me that the all day passes don’t work until 9:30 (aren’t they supposed to be ALL DAY?) Well, no matter… time was slipping away and I was starting to freak out. I went over to buy some one way tickets to the airport with my credit card… CARD DENIED. Tried again… CARD DENIED. WHAT THE??? For no reason at all the machine decides not to take my card. I run over to the turnstile with tears in my eyes and try to hug my husband over the gate thinking the kids and I would just have to say goodbye there. Out of nowhere a complete stranger, a CHRISTMAS ANGEL handed me a $20 bill. “Your card’s not working? Will this help ma’am?” I was shocked. “Merry Christmas” he simply said and quietly went through the turnstile and down to the train. I ran over to buy three one way tickets when low and behold, grumpy metro employee informs me “That won’t work ya know 😦 That machine only gives a maximum of $5 in change.”
I started crying a bit again. My husband was going to miss his flight if he didn’t get on that dang Metro like NOW. Again, another Christmas angel came to my rescue. “Here ma’am… I’ve got two tens. Will that work? Don’t cry! It will be okay”.
Long story short, thanks to these two complete strangers, the kids and I were able to get our tickets and ride with my husband to the airport. We took a moment to thank the Lord for sending us such wonderful friends during a time of need. What a precious Christmas gift, a reminder that God cares about even the somewhat insignificant things in our lives.
After (barely) making it to the airport on time, we dropped my husband off at security and promptly went to drown our sorrows in some Cinnabuns and an hour of watching planes take off (hey, I’ve got two boys… they like that kind of stuff!).
The day only got better from there. The kids wanted to go to the Natural History Museum, so away we went! Dinosaurs, dirt and bugs were on the agenda. I even impressed my kids by holding a Giant Madagascar Cockroach IN MY BARE HAND!!!!
This was possibly one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever done in my life, but the looks on the kids faces was totally worth it! We spent a few hours exploring the museum when I realized that I didn’t bring any extra diapers for Bubba. DISASTER!
After schlepping around trying to find a drugstore or grocery store- anything! We ended up in a seedy little store that smelled very strongly of pee at which point Short Stack announces that she in fact needs to use the bathroom. Of course the pee store had no bathroom, but the checker who took my money for the ridiculously over-priced diapers mentioned that I should go to the restaurant next door and ask them. “Tell them I sent you”. We hustled over to the “restaurant” which was actually just a single room deli sort of thing with no food in site and two women speaking only Spanish standing there arguing. I begged for Short Stack to be able to use the bathroom and they stared blankly at me. “PLEASE! BATHROOM! She’s going to pee!!” They quickly pointed to a door at the back of the room with a piece of paper taped to it. The paper had a stick figure of a woman drawn on it. Really.
Thankfull Short Stack is quick when it comes to bathroom breaks so we ran out of there and on to our next museum… the National Botanical Gardens. It was MAGICAL! Christmas decorations everywhere, trains, scale models of area attractions constructed of seed pods, bark and moss and an entire fairytale room with waterfalls, hidden nooks and more trains. We wandered around for a couple of hours, lingering in the Orchid room and reading about the connection between poinsettia and Christmas. The kids would hop happily from one plant to the next shrieking with delight over all the odd specimens. They loved it! Seeing their faces, listening to their little voices, watching them laugh when they ran smack into a giant leaf hanging into the path.
Next stop of the day, McDonald’s of course, where I kid you not, a real live SANTA came in for lunch. Real beard, real round spectacles, and a Santa hat. He sat a few tables down from us and the kids spent the entire time trying to decide if he was the real thing or not. So funny!!
We left McDonald’s and stopped by the Air and Space Museum where I got the kids some Space Ice Cream (they didn’t believe me that astronauts like ice cream too) and we marveled at fact that such HUGE machines can actually fly!
Finally, we jumped on the Metro and headed home ahead of the winter storm that’s making its voice heard over here. When we got close to the house, I drove around the neighborhood so the kids could see some of the Christmas lights. It was beautiful and perfect and just the BEST day with my kids.
They are all sleeping soundly now and I’m sitting here smiling as I remember one of the best days ever, hoping they will always remember it too.