...in which I realize I left my poor, sad, blistered feet somewhere on the Metro...
I did it again. I let the zoo kick my ass. (OMG look at the pictures on that link - how tiny Claire was last year when we were here! She's growing up so fast. We have entire conversations now. Of course, her contribution is usually either "yeah" or "noooOOOooooOOOOooo..." but still). We did the zoo, this time, with Rob, Anny, and Abby, which was great fun! Being smart local types, they suggested that we walk all the way to the bottom of the hill, have lunch, and then slowly work our way back up. This made a lot more sense than my method, which was to wander down slowly, without realizing how far I was going down the hill, and then to have a hungry kid at the very bottom, find the restaurant closed, and have to double time back up the hill with a crying toddler and a sleeping 4 month old in the sling. Good times.
No one had to ask me, this time, if I was having a heart attack, so it must have been a great success. After spending the afternoon there, we walked back to the Metro with the Monroes, and then went on to the restaurant (Medaterra, not Mikos or whatever I was thinking it was!!) to have dinner with my cousin Brian. As we were waiting for Brian and his friend, Katelynn (or Caitlyn or Kaitlyn or something, I didn't ask... She seemed like a Caitlyn, though) to arrive, Mary Grace went on and on about how much she was going to miss Abby. They were so sweet together, I have some super cute pictures to post when we get home (that's where the cable is, of course!!).
We had a really nice dinner with Brian and Caitlyn. The restaurant was Greek/Mediterranean, which is one of my favorite cuisines. I had a glass of sangria that was awesome, we ordered hummus, and then MG and C and I split the spinach and cheese ravioli. After we'd eaten, the waiter brought out two desserts we hadn't ordered. Caitlyn (the more I write that, the more it looks like it's spelled wrong) used to work there, when she first moved to DC, and not only had the owner given us dessert, she'd comped our entire meal!! Of course, then, we teased Caitlyn by asking, "So, where else have you worked?" It was so gracious, so if you're ever in DC you simply must eat at Medaterra, which is just south of the Zoo Metro station, because they're lovely people and the food is incredible. However, if you're going to the zoo you want to actually go one stop past the zoo and then get off and walk to the entrance, because it's downhill. Then you continue downhill after the zoo, go eat at Medaterra, and then get on the Metro from there. Stick with me, I have it all planned out for you.
We were exhausted when we got back to the hotel, so the kids went to sleep right away. Both of them seem a little stuffy, probably from licking everything at the Smithsonian the other day. We had breakfast together, then BJ and MG went to the Air and Space museum (are you sensing a theme with him??) while Claire and I stayed behind at the hotel. She's napping and I got everything except the computer packed up to go. If I can wrestle the stroller and the suitcase down the elevator by myself, we'll be in business. I requested a late check out, so Claire and I might just head directly to the airport from here, or we may get a beer in the lobby and wait for BJ and MG to come back. It all depends on how late she sleeps. Our flight leaves at 4:40 this afternoon, and we should be back home for supper.
I have to say, now that I've been here twice and I know it isn't just a fluke, that the people of Washington DC are some of the nicest people in the country (in spite of the presence of so many politicians!!). Everywhere I go, people have offered help with directions, or given me a hand with the yacht of a double stroller I have, or just been lovely and welcoming in general. I think that some of the best, brightest, kindest people in the country live here, and I'm not just saying that because my cousin is among them!! It's the truth, and if you haven't had a chance to visit, I really think you should. I even told BJ last night that I could live here. There's a Boeing office and a Lockheed Martin office here in Crystal City, where our hotel is, so there may be a job here for him someday. I would love to live in a city with public transportation!! Of course, the cost of living would take some getting used to. Rob and Anny nearly fell over when I told them how much we paid for our 4 bedroom house in Indiana... Easily a third of what they'd pay for a 4 bedroom house here. But just think how much we'd save on museum admission!! They're all free!
The only dark spot over yesterday, for me, was that as Brian was talking about all his travels and beginning his career (he's moving to California in a couple weeks), while sitting beside this beautiful girl who has an equally exciting life, I really got the sense that BJ was regretting some of the choices he's made. We were only 21 when we started dating, and while we didn't get married for another 4 years, I still sometimes wonder if maybe there isn't a part of him that wonders what he could have done, and where he could have gone, if he hadn't gotten stuck with me all those years ago. It doesn't help that we're still deep in the really hard part of being parents - with two very little kids who need a lot from us, and from me, and who often don't leave me with much left to give to him. He has so many responsibilities, and I could feel him yearning for the life that might have been if he had made different choices when we were Brian's age, when the whole world was his for the taking. Maybe it's just my own insecurity talking, I don't know. I know he wouldn't trade the kids for anything, and I know that he's proud of the business and everything he has done so far in his career (and having one's own successful aerospace company is certainly not nothing!). I think it's something that all of us do, to a certain extent, as we get older. A part of us always mourns the paths that we didn't choose. It's just hard, sometimes, feeling like maybe I've held him back.
Eek. Sounds like it's time for me to up my Zoloft or make an appointment with Dr. Dave.
I have over 300 blog articles to catch up on, so I'm going to finish that before Claire wakes up. The best news of the day - it will be in the mid 70s, not at all humid, with a 0% chance of rain for MG's party in the park tomorrow!! We couldn't have ordered better weather, so we'll see you all at 2 pm! I ordered an enormous cake, so be sure to join us.