14th Street Entrance of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.Credit: US Holocaust Memorial MuseumOnce Kendryek and I got to the front door, we were greeted with a sign that said all exhibits were sold out for the day. All except, "Remember the Children: Daniel's Story," about an eleven year old boy's life before, during, and after the Holocaust. It's very well done, offering sounds, period-appropriate decor and clothes, and journal entries to heighten as many senses as possible for the viewer. Slowly walking through the first part of the exhibit, we heard children's laughter from the exhibit, parents' whispers explaining details to their children around us, exhibit knobs and buttons being pushed by viewers, gentle movement of those in front and behind us ...and then as we walked through a room resembling a cattle car, the mood became more solemn. We could hear a pin drop. The air felt stale. The exhibit was now in black and white instead of color, as it was previously. The gravity of the Holocaust, from a child's perspective, was felt.
I felt sad.
And we did! We saw an Imax movie at the Smithsonian, rode the paddle boats at the tidal basin, went to the beach and rented bikes and flew kites ... with a new lightness I hadn't experienced in a while.
On our way home from the beach, I reviewed all of the things Kendryek and I had done, and I asked him what was his favorite experience at the beach. You know what he said? "Flying a kite with you." He could feel my lightness and the symbolic activity of freedom!
And so every single morning since that Spring day, I ask myself, "How can today be like a vacation?" I make sure I have fun every day as if I'm on vacation. Many days, that looks like an epsom salt bath. Often, it looks like my silly dancing in the kitchen to my favorite music and drinking coconut milk from a margarita glass. I'll often hop in my convertible and drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, blasting my favorite tunes. Sometimes I'll play with the cats or play a board game with Kendryek. Whatever way I can consciously put some fun into my day, I do it!