My wife, children, and I spent the last couple of days in the Philadelphia area. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and my immediate family remains in the suburbs. During the visit, we spent time with many family members, went swimming, and toured a museum. It was a great trip.
Anyone who has children (particularly young children) can tell you their enjoyment meter is nearly directly related to their children’s. It could be the best laid plan and everything could be going just as you planned, but if little Johnny threw up, or poor Jenny had a fever, or cranky Mikey had multiple meltdowns, or kvetchy Annie was bored and let you know about it every step of the way, or if Johnny, Jenny, Mikey, and Annie fought all the way home, it ain’t going to be a good time. On this trip, the boys could not get enough of the water, went to sleep without a fight (woke up too early – see Sleepyhead for more on that), enjoyed time with their family, and were enthralled with the exhibits at the museum. So, check the box for children having a good time. The enjoyment meter is going up.
We stayed in my mother’s condominium. She has a pool, and the price is right. If we even considered staying in a hotel (we didn’t), I think my mother would be offended. Yes, at times the condo can feel crowded. You see my mother and I don’t always see eye to eye. She thinks things should be done one way, and I think another way is just fine, thank you. Parents and children arguing – that never happens. I know I know I know these arguments are pointless, and I should let it be. It is my mother after all, and I have to respect her. Still, she can drive me nuts (she feels the same even if she would rather not admit it). Well I do love her, so when we visit (or she comes to us) I strive to be on my best behavior. On this trip, we managed to get along just fine. Check again – push the enjoyment meter up.
Going to the Franklin Institute was for the children’s enjoyment. It really was. They could enjoy the various exhibits including the one on air planes, electricity, trains, etc. However, the one that I wanted to take them too was the heart. Any child who grew up in Philly and took a class trip to the museum knows exactly what I mean. The heart was the exhibit you remembered and the one you mentioned when your parents asked, “What was your favorite part about the trip?” You snake along a narrow stair case which winds it away around the different parts of the human heart. As I made my way through the heart during my first trip to the museum, I read every sign (and the graffiti) though I understood very little and tried to push back the feeling of claustrophobia. When I got out of the heart, I raced to get back in line and go again (no holding hands or the buddy system for me). Ahh, memories. My children won’t remember this walk through the heart, but I will. Check. Crank the enjoyment meter up another level.
Yup, this was a good trip. All it took was family and a big heart. The enjoyment meter reached the peak.