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Jersey Shore, United States
In case any of my friends or family members actually read this Blog, please consider all Names, Characters, Places and Incidents to be the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are entirely COINCIDENTAL...Muaaah!! Now, really, about me: I bring the crazy wherever I go, so I've been told...I make fun of myself more than anyone else ever could. I hate: the awkward silence in elevators, watches with no numbers, picky eaters, Cancer and legalism. I love: coffee, stalking Hugh Jackman, my Spanx, COMMENTS, sarcasm and writing: Middle Grade, NA, YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Living History

These next two weeks mark the end of the school year for my girls and  are jam packed with activities, field trips and all kinds of interesting  goings on. All of which have been driving me crazy keeping me very busy! I'm so sorry if you haven't received a comment from me- I will try to catch up with everyone as soon as I can. I thought it might be fun if I  attempted to  post about some of the things I've been up to...

We were packed into those faded green seats like sardines. I was wedged between my daughter and one of her friends, arms pressed tightly up against my sides, my boobs all squished together in a wildly uncomfortable way. The hot and sticky breath of so many human beings in such a tight close space already fogging up all the windows.  With my butt already bouncing and jostling around in the lumpy, worn seat I closed my eyes and willed  myself to remain calm as the smells and sounds of  a yellow school bus full of over-excited third graders embarking on a field trip overwhelmed my senses.

This class trip to Washington's Crossing, the State House and the Old Barracks Living History Museum was one I had successfully avoided in the past, with my two older daughters. Since I am prone to motion sickness and not capable of  an extensive amount of walking, The Husband has always been the one "elected" to chaperon this trip.  But this year, when my little Francesca literally begged me on her hands and knees to  accompany her, I folded under the pressure. We weren't even out of the parking lot  when I realized what a grievous error in judgment I had made. How was I going to survive the bus ride and this long grueling trip?

Just when I thought, this can't get any worse it started pouring. Not a sweet little sprinkle either but huge, teaming buckets of rain. The rain was falling in all directions, a deluge with tremendous force, the remnants of a tropical storm. The weather presented an enormous complication. This trek was sure to become a muddy disaster. And the one and only thing keeping me sane up until this point was the fresh air blowing in from the open windows. The windows that now had to remain firmly in the closed position or else risk soaking the people seated behind us. When those windows clicked tightly shut, closing off my only source of sanity and clean, fresh oxygen, I felt as if all the air in my lungs was suddenly pinched off as well. It took major will on my part to not immediately jump up and  start beating on the windows, screaming, "Let me out! " The only thing that held me back was that I knew how badly it would damage my daughter's third grade street cred;  rumors about how jacked up her mother is, could follow her for life. Or at least until high school. With my will to not freak out steeled, we rolled on.

Many places in New Jersey, contrary to what most people believe, are absolutely beautiful. Washington's Crossing is one of those places. After touring the museum and watching a video called "Ten Days" it would have been absolutely gorgeous to picnic in Washington Crossing Park, as planned, had the sun been shining. Instead, we marched our cold, wet and miserable selves, (a bit like Washington's troops) right back to the bus to eat our lunch.

Eating on the bus was a crowded and unpleasant affair, yet somehow that did not prevent my daughter and I from housing two turkey wraps, apple slices and peanut butter, a bag of  chips anda whole crap ton   a couple of red Twizzlers, each :)

Before I could fully digest my food, we were off  again. Our destination: The State House. I was surprised that security allowed our wet, pitiful group entry, no questions asked. The sound of wet sneakers squeaking across the marble floor was painfully loud and I cringed as the sound bounced back at us and all the way up to the gilded ceilings.  I tried to ignore the looks of sympathy and pity thrown our way from everyone we encountered on our tour. Not that I blamed them when I looked back and saw the slimy wet trail we left in our wakes, like a bunch of snails. After a much needed bathroom break, I was pleased to see  how interested my daughter was in learning more about our government and how it works. Unfortunately, she was in the minority.  Most of the other kids had hit their "pay attention" limit and were becoming something very dangerous: bored. A group of 40 bored third graders is not exactly something you want lingering around the governor's office, and I was happy when we were promptly ushered to the door, in order that "other classes" could take  our place. The children eagerly stepped out into the pouring rain, ready to stomp through puddles and more than ready to push on to our final destination. The Old Barracks Museum.

We were met with the same pitying glances and stares at the Old Barracks, but here we were received like old friends and brought in out of the rain quickly. Living history is a wonderful way to get kids interested in the past, if you ask me. I could see the kids perk up and their little bodies snap to attention when they were "enlisted" in the Army. They listened intently and were absorbing many historical facts, without realizing that's what they were actually doing. The actors expertly played their roles and found great ways to include the children. The only time I couldn't contain myself, (or my laughter) was when the nurses of the famous Dr. Otto, Washington's favored physician, began to share how soldiers were inoculated for small pox. After educating the kids on the four different types of pox, with stunning replicas passed around for all to see, the nurses told the kids that it was required that the soldiers be purged before receiving their immunizations. How does a soldier purge? Why, they had their choice of either throwing up everything in their stomachs or having smoke blown up their ass by a very torturous looking instrument (also shown around as an added visual aid bonus). This had me cracking up, shaking my head in utter disbelief. Why the heck would they choose to share that little tidbit of  American history with the kids was just beyond me- but the majority of the children in my daughter's class thought that was "wicked cool".

As a parent, every once in a while a point in time may come, when you are able to catch a glimpse  of your child through the eyes of someone else. This happened while our time at the living history was in it's final throes and questions were being thrown at the kids. Right away, I saw my daughter's hand shoot up. For a  brief moment, my breath caught and I was nervous as I waited to hear how the heck she was going to give an answer to an extremely hard question. Francesca opened her mouth and surprised the hell out of me by giving such an eloquent, well-thought out, intelligent answer. Tears formed in my eyes and a ginormous, proud momma smile spread across my face  I just couldn't contain it. I felt a warm hand lay gently against my arm. I looked over and saw the hand belonged to Francesca's teacher. Her eyes  filled with unshed tears, she was wearing the exact same goofy smile as I was! Witnessing Frankie's teacher, look at my daughter with such pride and joy, made the whole wet muddy mess of a day worth it. I treasured that look in my heart and clung to it like a life vest in the middle of the ocean,  as we bounced and bumped our way home.  :)

22 comments:

  1. Oh, that's wonderful Jaybird! Moments like that certainly make up for the moments of mothering that can be a bit messy. ;)

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    1. Thanks Rachel! It was a great moment for me. I was so proud!

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  2. I find it shocking how ravenous I get every time I chaperone one of my kids' field trips. What's up with that? Does just being around 25 little people all day burn up more calories? If so, I think it should be a new diet book. ;) Sounds like you guys made the most of your day!

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    1. Oh my gosh! I am glad it's not just me. I could NOT stop eating. Even though I was nauseated by the bus ride, it didn't hold me back from eating everything that wasn't nailed down! Good thing I packed enough for an army!!

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  3. I've always wanted to visit DC

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    1. Hey Adam! We weren't in DC- we were in Washington's Crossing, New Jersey. We went to visit the battle of Trenton and the living history museum. Although my oldest, just visited DC on Memorial Day Weekend. She had a blast-

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  4. Field trips with little children can be tough to chaperone. Glad the kids go to learn and have a day out despite the rain.

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    1. Sheena! Oh, they can be brutal! Especially when you are assigned the "bad" kids no one else wants to deal with. That, is truly hard for me. I can whoop my kid's butt if they misbehave, but not somebody else's if they act up. LOL

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  5. Awww, I love that story, especially the end. It's amazing how they surprise you like that. You know they are smart, but when you witness it first hand, it's hard to contain yourself.

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    1. Who knew a kid with a chocolate milk mustache and a purple Bat-girl t-shirt could open her mouth and be so eloquent? I was so proud of her, I could not contain myself.

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  6. At least the wet day ended with a proud moment for you! Certainly sounds chaotic though x

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    1. It was rough, but worth it in the end. That pretty much sums up parenting in a nutshell! Ha.

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  7. That sounds like an amazing trip, especially your daughter's shining moment. It sounds like it makes it all worth it, even being crammed tight in a school bus for hours on end, which I would not wish upon anyone. :)

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    1. I wanted to jump out the window of the bus really, really bad. But when Frankie opened her mouth and brilliance came out, silencing the entire room, I couldn't help but be so freaking proud of her, it made all the hell, so worth it!!

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  8. I'm not surprised Francesca gave a beautiful eloquent answer, when her momma can write about a simple third grade field trip in such a descriptive, evocative way. I was right there with you from the moment you got on the bumpy school bus. Thanks for sharing, you really are such an amazing storyteller.

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    1. Aw, thanks Clare! You just made my day. I am so busy I can't really spend much time on my posts, but I was hoping someone would be able to appreciate my effort, even in some small way!

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  9. What a lovely experience to hold in your heart. You're raising your daughter right, Jen! You should be proud of her.

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    1. Thanks so much! I try my best, but I lack a lot. I give all the credit for anything good that comes out of my kids straight back to God. Cause it sure is heck isn't anything I did!

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  10. Our children will never understand the power they have over us - until, perhaps, they become parents themselves. Those moments of pride are to be savored.

    Jaybird, I hope you'll join us again for the Coffeehouse this month! Here's the link: http://armchairsquid.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-cephalopod-coffeehouse-june-blog.html

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    1. Hey Squid!! Yes, I love being a part of the Coffeehouse meetings. I already have my new fav book from this month all ready to post about!!

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  11. I was totally prepared to respond to this post with a "YIKES," but that end has made this too aww-inducing for that. What an awesome thing to witness, especially after such a hectic day!

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    1. Thanks Heather! It was such a great mommy moment for me. I was so proud of her. I couldn't believe it. And neither could anyone else. Who would think such brilliant words would spring forth from a chocolate milk-moustached mouth! LOL

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