We found ourselves in Colonial Williamsburg last weekend on a very quick trip up to a friend’s first baby’s baptism in Virginia.
My grandma – who divides her time between my parents’ house in South Carolina and my mom’s sister’s house in Dale City – still owns the house that my mom grew up in, in a beautiful old neighborhood just outside of the colonial square, by Queens Lake. We crashed there Saturday night and got to visit with my cousin and my aunt who lives around the corner.
It was an exhausting trip, honestly. We were up at 5 am to leave for Williamsburg on Saturday, and we pulled back into our driveway, crumb-covered, baggy-eyed, wrinkly and stiff at 11:30 Sunday night. Without kids, that is plausible. With a toddler and a baby, it was a little nuts. (I guess that would explain why it is Friday that I am writing about last weekend).
But they were champs.
As we packed the car Friday evening, Will hopped up and down and around us asking 5 million and one questions about the “Ahbenture” we were about to take him on. He was excited by the dent in the routine, and it was fun to surprise him with a few new books and cheap toys for the road, the way my mom used to do with us. He got so contagiously excited over a little Crayola pack and matchbox cars.
And then, there was Williamsburg.
In all the years of my childhood making visits to Grandma’s house every other year or so, I realized in the car that I don’t think I had ever been there in the summer. Fall, winter, and spring, yes; but I really don’t think I can recall a summer trip.
Since we have been coming to Williamsburg my whole life, we never do the [expensive] tours, but it was nice to walk around the shady streets and point things out to Will. Naturally, his favorite was the horses pooping in the road. Naturally.
Something you may not know about me… It is a little point of vanity for my mom’s family that my grandma’s maiden family name is inscribed above one of the pews of Bruton Parish.
Okay, a big point of vanity. 😉 I can’t remember if it was put there for her grandfather or great grandfather. But as a girl, it gave me a little shiver of appreciation for the fact that my grandma is a DAR. And I guess I could be too, if I wanted to pay the yearly dues.
But really? I was there walking down the road with my babies, seeing all the intense history buff tourists, geared up for walking this town like its the AT – in fanny packs, Camelbacks, and sensible shoes… and I realized, despite my heritage, this place doesn’t really do it for me anymore. This town is a museum. The culture of the city is the past, not the present. After having seen much more of Charleston than Williamsburg in the past 4 years, I realized that is a huge difference between the two. Charleston has a living breathing culture of the present as well as a tenacious appreciation and preservation of the past. It is invigorating to experience the tension of that contrast when you visit!
Williamsburg feels hollow in comparison.
My favorite part about Williamsburg honestly is the Parkway. Someday when I can afford my dream Gary Fisher road bike I’m coming back to ride the whole thing.
It was cool to run out there again though, and I loved seeing my cousins. They were so kind and welcoming. It felt weird and amazing when I gave my older cousin Amber a huge hug and introduced my sons to her for the first time. She has known me all my life, and she had never met Will and Henry. It was wild to realize, I have had a life outside of these guys… these unique, lively little persons who fill my whole world… there was a time not too long ago that they weren’t even a blip on the horizon. The feeling was almost as wild as the coming-of-age moment when you make a version of that discovery about your own parents.
And the baptism in Richmond was beautiful. Though my poor cramped kids were so sick of sitting still, there was nothing for it but to let them crawl and climb all over the back of the church during the ceremony after Mass on Sunday.
Thats us in the background, trying to stay out of trouble. 😉
While I chased them around back there, Will and Henry started playing their very first game of Hide and Seek. You should’ve heard Henry’s big ole belly laugh!
Taking little “Adbentures” as Will calls it with your family, no matter how exhausting, is fulfilling in a way that nothing else quite is.