If we were having coffee, I’d apologize for being rather tired – it’s been a busy time in the life of my family, and also a time of transition. So maybe you won’t mind that I’m a bit distracted and saggy, and that I’m not even sure there’s coffee to be had – I will go check during the next commercial break in this The Big Bang Theory rerun. If you’re watching me when I get up, you might see that I’m a little stiff.
My kids and I spent several hours this afternoon and evening touring the Saratoga Battlefield – another chapter in our Hamilton research, not to mention a wonderful way to enjoy the first Saturday of autumn, with a hint of coolness in the air, glorious clouds, and colors just starting to touch the leaves. We spent a little time in the visitor’s center, where we’ve been before: We looked at some Revolutionary War-era artifacts and commentary, watched the 20 minute movie on the Battles of Saratoga, which has the distinction of being the Turning Point of the American Revolution. Based on the American success in these two battles, the French committed to helping, which, four years later, led to ultimate victory at Yorktown.
By the way, my Accomplice had set up the coffeepot, so I pressed brew, and, in a few minutes, we will have fresh coffee.
Now, back to today’s happy-busy:
Lise and I poked around the gift shop after we all walked a little way down the Wilkinson Trail. It was cool to see how many of the books they’re selling there we already own. =)
And then we all got into the car, and I loaded the audio tour mobile app on my phone, and away we went for a nine-mile, ten stop excursion into history. At most locations, we listened to the narrative in the parking area, then hiked out on a variety of paths and trails to locations significant to the battles.
We explored Neilson Farm, where a family of ten lived in a house not really substantially larger than our living room – even if you include the loft!
We toured American and British redoubts, points of interest, and quite a lot of cannon. We also explored the terrain of our own hometown – Bemis Heights, where the American army was encamped, is where my grandparents lived, and my father grew up. As a little girl, I would often play with the cannon and musket balls he kept in a drawer beneath his work bench. It never occurred to anyone then that they were lead, and maybe children shouldn’t be touching them, and it never occurred to me that everyone didn’t have a battlefield almost literally in their backyard.
Our family plan is to relocate to Oregon, so the kids will be a whole continent away from what is all three of our hometown. So, as much as the history, the physical exertion, and the time outdoors, we were connecting with a heritage we all share. More than that, I worked for the Youth Conservation Corps in the Battlefield the summer I was 16-17; not that much older than my just-15 son. When we got to the (in)famous Boot Monument that gives nameless tribute to Benedict Arnold, we discussed whether the black paint on the wrought-iron fence surrounding it is still the coat I helped to put on it, back then. I thought not (it’s been three decades, now), but Jeremiah pointed out that the paint does indeed appear to have some solid age on it. So, maybe…
But even all that wasn’t the real treat of those hours. All other things aside, it was a chance to connect, and build memories with my kids that will hopefully last them throughout their lives. They’re 12 and 15 – the years of active parenting are winding down, and these big kids who sprang up from my babies are an ongoing revelation. I love these long, leisurely times of connection and conversation with them, where I get to watch them interacting with each other and see where they are in their growth.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, right now, this minute, they’re on their way to becoming the adults they will soon be. They’re busy with that. Sometimes, the ways they’re busy with it don’t include me – which makes sense. They won’t have the same need for me when they’re older. They don’t have the same need for me now they did when they were younger.
Right now is all we have, ever, any of us.
I’m glad I spent those hours busily learning who my kids are, right now.
Well, here we are at the end of the post, but the fresh coffee’s ready. Shall we just sit and sip, while you tell me a little about what’s going on with you?
This post is a joint venture for #weekendcoffeeshare and Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Clicking on the buttons below will take you straight on to each of the blog hops, where you can find more posts, and the details of the challenges.