This morning, Jake had an orthodontist appointment. My plan was to drop him off at school afterward and then go home and crawl back in bed. No amount of lipstick is going to help me today. The achey, fatigued feeling I had yesterday had turned into a cough and fever. As we left the parking lot, the radio announcers were talking about the Space Shuttle Discovery which was headed toward DC to its new home at the Smithsonian. I had been looking forward to it, since my office is right on the Potomac River in Georgetown. I knew we’d have a front row seat to the show, but I’d decided to just watch it on TV. Jake asked if it would be visible from their school and I said no. “Awwwww, that’s too bad”, he said. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw him sitting there in his Nationals jersey and wearing the ballcap that he got on opening day. Taking him out of school for that was never even a question. And here we are, just a few miles from where we could view this historic last flight of the shuttle that spent almost exactly one year in space over a span of nearly three decades (according to Wikipedia, the spacecraft spent 365 days, 22 hours, 39 minutes and 29 seconds in space).
So I kept driving. This was something Jake shouldn’t miss. This the kind of thing that makes living here special. It’s the kind of thing he will remember forever, unlike whatever he was going to miss in the 2 additional hours that he’d be out of school.
As I got closer to Georgetown (I decided to park in my regular lot and walk over to the Key Bridge), I started to get really excited. This was a little surprising to me since I’ve never really been all that enamored by air and space programs. In fact, I usually try to avoid the Air and Space Museum when we have visitors that want to go there. This, by the way is pretty much blasphemy since the air and space program has put food on our families tables for years. My father retired from the airlines, Lloyd’s step-dad spent his whole career at Boeing and his dad did contract work for NASA after retiring from the military.
It was an amazing sight. The shuttle strapped to the top of a 747. It was unreal. As we stood there watching and taking pictures as the plane escorted Discovery on a victory lap over DC, I heard Jake start to hum “God Bless America”. (I could not make this stuff up if I tried). Then he turned to me and said “Thanks for bringing me to see this, Mom. It makes me proud to be American”.
So he got to school in time to attend 4 of his 7 classes and he witnesses a little piece of history. If the truancy officers contact me, I’ll just send them these pictures. They don’t in any way do justice to the event, but I hope you enjoy them–especially those of you who weren’t in a place to decide whether or not to go and witness it in person.