There are some days that you look forward to with great anticipation—the kind of days that you plan well in advance. My nephew Alex turned eleven this past October and Evan and I decided that he was old enough to be treated to an experience as his birthday gift. You see, we both believe that experiences can be the best gifts. We hadn’t had as much time to spend with Alex since we became parents and this was the perfect opportunity to remedy that and so we offered him a day with us in the city doing something fun.
As it turns out, carving out a day without our own children took a little bit of planning and in the end, my parents helped with Eliza and Sophia so we could spend time with Alex. The particulars of our day included a walk through Old City and a brief stop at Elfreth’s Alley, old-fashioned sodas at the Franklin Fountain, fried chicken and donuts at Federal Donuts followed by a thorough exploration of the Franklin Institute and their Body Worlds: Animals Inside and Out exhibit finishing with dinner in Old City.
I could regale you further with details about each of those places and while they were fun in their own right, the real delight was seeing Alex experience everything and in the conversations we had. I heard about his Science Olympiad and how his class is learning about Native Americans by experiencing various aspects of their life such as building teepees, hand dyeing clothes and making bison stew and Indian fry bread.
There is a saying “I would like to travel world with you twice. Once, to see the world. Twice, to see the world the way you see the world.” That is exactly what I wanted to do, to see and share in Alex’s experience, to be a part of his life for a day and to hear his perspectives on things and understand what matters to him. Our day together brought me pure and utter joy.