I am delighted to report that all of last week's angst about my bummer reading choices was wiped clean by the first-ever visit by my sister and her family to the lovely state of (in the words of my three year old niece) "Mister-choozits."
My sister and I take a rather unorthodox approach to travel. Neither one of us is particularly into museums, statues, or historically important sites. We're more about the who than the what when it comes to filling up our visits. Accordingly, we bypassed the opportunity to herd her delightful children into the numerous educational opportunities available here in Beantown: we didn't go to the Science Museum, the Aquarium, or the Freedom Trail. Instead, in the time-honored tradition of our family, we went for a ride.
Now, neither Yes We Do Eat Fig Newtons For Breakfast Boy (hereinafter, "The Boy") nor Glamour Girl (hereinafter, "The Girl") had been on any mode of public transportation before. Indeed, other than the big yellow bus that comes to transport The Boy to first grade on weekday mornings, they had only the assurance of a few children's books that such a thing as buses and trains existed. So our "big adventure" this weekend was a trip on a bus and train, which we leveraged mightily to extract good behavior from the children for a full twenty-four hours beforehand.
And yesterday afternoon - just as it started to rain - we headed out for the bus stop, scurrying as fast as tiny feet could take us so we wouldn't miss the 12:04. The four of us huddled under two umbrellas as the sky let loose, drenching our feet and soaking the hems of our jeans. Dear Sister and I stared at each other over The Boy and The Girl's little heads, wondering, "Where the &^%%# is the bus???" Soon it was 12:18, and three buses had passed on the other side, with The Boy shouting, "Is that our bus?" in anticipation and glee, and The Girl asking, "Well why can't it be our bus" in baffled frustration. (Glamor Girl still has faith that if you want it badly enough, everything in the world will turn around, pick you up, and go your way. I admire that in a person.) Finally, at 12:26, a miracle of lurching majesty appeared on the horizon, and our bus pulled into sight. "Hooray!" The Girl yelled. "Mumma," The Boy exclaimed, barely able to contain himself, "I'm going to get on that CITY bus!"
We climbed aboard, glowing children in hand, and were greeted by the blank stares of people who have no intention of giving up their seats even for two soaking wet women trying to broaden the horizons of the Future Leaders of America.
We took the bus to Harvard Square ("Are we really underground?" The Boy asked, incredulous. "You mean, the train will really come under all the buildings???") We picked up the Red Line, which sped along through the tunnels until emerging to cross the Salt & Pepper Bridge over the Charles River. Uncharacteristically intimidated by her surroundings, The Girl pulled me close to whisper, "Are we allowed to talk on the train?" while the boy speculated how fast we might be whizzing along. After passing over the bridge, we got off at the Charles/MGH stop, assuring the kids that now they could tell their friends that they had, in fact, taken the underground train all the way to Boston. On the way home, we stopped at Kendall Square to ride the escalator and use the potty at the Marriott (thanks to the nice lady who directed us to the extra bathroom on the third floor), then hopped back on the Red Line, and the 73 Bus (which the driver switched, right there in front of us, to the 71 Bus - but don't even get me started about that) to go home and tell Dad and Uncle Steve about our fabulous adventure.
The kids skipped home from the bus stop, utterly enthralled by their new worldliness and all of the wonderful tales The Boy would tell his class today in sharing time. And my sister and I looked at each other, exhausted and victorious, happy to have passed along our family belief that when you're with people you love, it's all about enjoying the ride.