Whether you have holiday lights twinkling around your house or not, the signs of the holiday season are everywhere. The thing is, it’s the signs you can’t see that really count.
We spent a quick 36 hours in Washington, D.C. for a family scout weekend. The three of us and three other families enjoyed family time in the nation’s capital. The shockingly blue, cloudless sky was the backdrop for all of the national monuments and museums we could squeeze in during the long Saturday and Sunday morning excursions. I was truly in awe of the Library of Congresswhich was Doug’s choice for a visit. The architecture alone was
something to behold. The holiday decorations were stunning.
We stumbled upon a neighborhood cafe just one block away from the Library of Congress and enjoyed a little eavesdropping during lunch; listening to the conversations of the people who live and work in the district. I really enjoy hearing stories other people tell about their lives; Mainly because it’s not MY life.
We toured the capitol, which beyond the amazing structure (the dome weighs 900 tons), it was a little disappointing that we could not see the actual chambers where our lawmakers meet. This post 9/11 world is a reality that you just can’t get around.
I managed to squeeze in something I always wanted to do: walk along the National Mall before anyone else is up and about. Doug and I laced up our sneakers and bundled up against the 7 a.m. Sunday morning cold and spent a half hour on the Mall. The Capitol & Washington Monument were an amazing shade of pink as the winter sunrise struck the white buildings. A cold mist hovered along the walkways. The Smithsonian Museum at the center of the mall look like the old man anchoring all of the buildings that in just a few hours would be bustling with visitors. Besides a lone runner or two and a few people walking to work or toiling to take down event tents from the day before, the National Mall was at peace. All the history and information within all those buildings was at rest awaiting more
people to soak up the value of everything that is compiled in those many buildings.
After our evening meal as a group, we walked a mile to the see the national Christmas Tree. At the breathtaking site with the White House as a backdrop, adorned with festive wreaths were many other families, enjoying the crisp evening air and the holiday lights. I couldn’t help but wonder how many more times the three of us might be together to enjoy such a treasure. The real treasure though, is our time together. The sounds of children watching the toy trains chugging along the tracks around the huge evergreen and grandparents reveling in the time spent with the grandchildren both young and old fills you with hope that there are better times ahead.
With the holidays just about here, there are about a million things I have to do between work and home to welcome the family for Christmas. In between, we’re taking a Hanukkah dinner to friends of ours who just can’t get out and are having a lot of family challenges this year. Despite everything they are going through, they are such remarkable, loving people who take everything one step and one day at a time.
So, in all of your hustle and bustle, remember what really counts – the love of your family and friends and what you can give to others – your time – laughter – and a nice, warm meal. Go light the lights.