I can’t remember if I told you how much I love Scott’s family. Did I do that? I meant to. Scott has jolly parents, two brothers and a sister. Scott is the oldest child.
In the family I grew up in, we are all huggy, and I love you and let’s talk this thing out. Scott’s family is not like that. Scott’s family is all let’s show up for each other, like all the same things, and have a great laugh. Both kinds of families make me happy.
We just had our 16th annual Smith Family Summer Vacation. Wow. What a wild party. And by wild I mean most of the guests were 7 and under.
We went to Galena, IL. Galena is a beautiful place. Rolling farmland and a quaint and historic downtown area. Scott and I went to Galena for a romantic getaway when Eddie was a baby, 16 years ago. That was the first time we left Eddie over night.
Scott’s parents watched Eddie. I remember that leaving our baby over night was very, very hard for me. I was nervous and scared.
As we were driving away from Scott’s parent’s house, Scott reminded me that he was pretty sure his parents knew how to take care of a baby. They’d done so successfully four times. I wasn’t easily convinced. I mean, let’s be honest. Scott has issues.
Scott’s parents still have the double-sided, single spaced, hour by hour instructions I typed up for them before we left their house on that first trip to Galena. For some reason, that precious piece of memorabilia is still alive today. Maybe to keep me humble.
At this very moment that piece of paper is lying between the pages of my in-law’s 10 pound Catholic Bible. The Bible sits on a special chair in my in-law’s formal dining room. I’m not exactly sure how my instructions ended up there, or how they survived all these years, but they have.
Maybe Scott’s parents shut the door behind my young mom self and thought to themselves, “We got this, little lady. We respect your wishes. To show you just how much, we’re going to place this lengthy list of instructions in the Bible. Just don’t expect us to follow all of them. Or, read them.”
Who knows for sure?
When Scott and I went to Galena as young parents, we took a tour of the home of Ulysses S. Grant. Grant used to live in Galena with his family. Just a little history lesson for you. I’m surprised you didn’t know that. I’m a bit of a history buff. So, that’s not really fair to you.
You and I are friends, so I can tell you the truth. I’m not actually very smart. Maybe you have suspected that about me. You are right. You would totally slay me in a game of trivial pursuit.
I might not be that smart, but I sort of do like going to museums. I am mildly interested in history and what not. I just think I would appreciate a condensed version of most museums better than the full version.
When I visit museums, I don’t hold on to what I have learned much beyond the time it takes me to walk to the car. So that kind of stinks. I want my kids to be better.
Scott and I had pleasant memories of our Grant Home Tour. We wanted to do it again with the kids. Our family was the first of the Smith clan to arrive in Galena, we decided to take the kids to see Grant’s home..
I wish I could tell you that our kids were like, “Wow. Thanks Mom and Dad. You’re so cool the way you always give us opportunities for cultural enrichment!” I wish I could say that.
Our kids actually asked us if we were kidding. They totally didn’t believe us when we told them we were going on a historical tour.
Our kids are used to us playing basketball, ping pong and bad mitten with them. Museums, theater and opera have been off our radar. And, I think we all know we can blame Scott for that. Mostly, because he doesn’t read my blog, and can’t defend himself.
Our kids’ upbringing has been kind of lopsided; more physical and less cerebral. But, don’t you think I should at least get a few points for using the word cerebral?
I assured the kids that learning something new would be fun. I said, I remembered enjoying the tour when their Dad and I visited the first time. I didn’t tell the kids that I actually couldn’t remember one single thing I was told on the first tour. (Really, what IS the point? We should just play bad mitten.)
Scott made me stuff this in my purse before we went into the home for our tour. You know, just in case.
If there’s one thing the State of Illinois Historical Society encourages, it’s throwing a football through their 160-year-old, priceless, perfectly preserved museum. They’d be silly not to, really.
I asked my family to show some class. Stand by this picture of Ulysses and Julia Grant, and act like you appreciate their hospitality!
You can see the disgust written all over Ulysses and Julia’s faces. It’s this generation, Mr. and Mrs. Grant. You just can’t do anything with them.
On this visit, I promised myself I’d remember some stuff:
1. Ulysses and Julia held hands, and were affectionate in public. This was uncommon for that time period.
2. Julia’s feet were size four.
3. Women in that time had to wear black for two years after their husband died. The black clothes would often dye the women’s skin black. Meanwhile, men only had to wear a black band around their arm. The main reason for that is because men back then were stupid. It’s true. Look it up.
That’s all I got.
I know there was something else in there about presidents and wars and blah, blah, blah. I just remember the interesting stuff.