Daughter13 left before the crack of dawn this morning for a class trip to Washington, D.C. While I did nothing today other than go to work and get a hair cut, she travelled over 350 miles, toured Mount Vernon, checked into her hotel, and is, at this very moment, beginning an 'illumination tour' of some of the most prominent landmarks in our nation.
For the next four days, her and 239 other eighth graders will get on and off buses about a hundred times while visiting monuments, memorials, museums, restaurants and gift shops.
Two years ago I had the opportunity to go along on this trip as a chaperone with Son16. And having been on this class trip, I know my daughter is going to have a wonderful experience. Oh yes, she'll be exhausted by the time each day ends. But she'll also learn more in four days than she could possibly learn in the classroom. She'll see, experience, and touch part of our history.
I'm no super-patriot, but one can hardly stand at some of the memorials without feeling the history they represent. And it is impossible to tour Arlington Cemetary and walk along the Vietnam Memorial without feeling the impact of how many lives have been lost in violent conflict. And the collections of the Smithsonian are varied and massive enough to impress anyone - even a thirteen year old.
The house is unnaturally quiet. We don't have family close by - no weekends with grandparents - so she has never even been away for more than one night at a time. So there is an oddness to her absence. We miss her. And if she weren't busy laughing and talking and looking and exploring and learning, she might miss us too. But right now the important thing is the laughing and talking and looking and exploring and learning.
Enjoy your trip!