During Spring Break, rather than having a single destination, we had decided to stay home, and do a little bit here and there. Down time combined with Fun time. We were all up for it. I did not tell the boys the next day's agenda, and they would find out the day's plans on the morning of. Surprise makes any occasion a special one. Every morning, we'd wake up, and the boys would ask with true enthusiasm, "Where are we going today?" All plans were happily accepted, especially by Baby E., who loved doing anything that was new. With every announced plan at the breakfast table, he'd shout, complete with fist pump, "Yes!"
We'd all clean up the table, get ready with what we needed, and we'd be off.
"Mom, where's our trip today?" asked Maximus. I couldn't wait to tell them, "We are going to see The Dead Sea Scrolls!" I went on to explain how I had to order the tickets for the exhibit 2 weeks ago, and the exhibit was on loan from 4 separate museums, along with private collectors. This exhibit had taken years of international negotiations, and had cost a great deal of money in terms of insurance and being on loan. They were fascinated. Baby E seemed to just ponder the information, with a quizzical look in his eye.
"This exhibit contains articles that are over 2,000 years old!" I had all their eyes and ears. "These articles were stored in tall clay jars. A shepherd found them when he was throwing rocks down a cave. He said that every time he threw a rock into a cave's opening, he'd hear the shattering of a clay pot. " They stared at me, waiting for my next word. "All in all, they found 11 caves full of these tall clay receptacles. When they opened the jars, do you know what they found? They found some contained the Dead. Sea. Scrolls." Still no peep from Baby E., I did find it odd that he did not cheer today's announced event. Oh, well, perhaps he had become jaded by all the fantastic fun mama had planned all week.
We were packed and ready to go, our chatter continued on in the car. "Mom, how did they hold the scrolls together?" one son asked. "Mom, how do they know they found all the scrolls?" "Those are all great questions, and we can ask there. The exhibit holds all the Dead Sea Scrolls. Just think, over 2,000 years old! And we get to see them." I glanced in the rear view mirror, trying to zero in on Baby E's face. He was just taking in the conversation, but not with any excitement in particular.
We finally arrived at the museum, were able to park close enough, and rushed in to pick up our special "Dead Sea Scrolls" exhibit tickets at the WillCall Box. "Ah! here are the tickets! Let's go!" Everyone ran ahead, but you know who was just dragging his feet. "What is wrong, honey?" I studied his eyes for a hint. "Nothing. But, are you sure every one wants to see this?" he wondered. "Oh, yeah, this is huge," I explained, "Big stuff. Like the kind of thing you'll tell your kids about."
He walked on, not saying much, holding my hand. We waited in our assigned queue for the 10:30 exhibit showing. "There's a lot of people here, aren't there?" I said, in attempts to get a conversation going with him. "Yeah. I just can't believe everyone wants to see this." he sounded so skeptical. "Of course," I said, "who wouldn't be interested? Just think, 2000 years old!"
Baby E was quietly chewing on his upper lip, as he does, when he just can't put the pieces together. "Mom, is that all we're going to see?" he wanted to know."Is that all?, I echoed, "Oh, gosh, we'll be here an hour, reading about the discovery, and how they pieced everything together. You'll like it, honest. I'll tell you about everything we'll look at. We'll even get the audiophone guided tour, too, alright?" He still didn't seem too reassured.
The velvet ropes were unclasped, and we were allowed to enter. There was the mystic music, and the sand dune background. There were the placards, and the pictures, and the stories, and finally, at the end, the clay jars! And the Dead Sea Scrolls!
Baby E. stood in the middle of the exhibit, "Well, where are they?," he sounded more than just a little perturbed. "They're all right here," I answered, "now, shhhh, please." "No, where are the dead sea squirrels that they found 2,000 years ago? You said we were going to see them today."
Parents: 'tis wise to explain terms one takes for granted as an adult, such as "Dead Sea" not really being something physically dead. And, hello? but why would a little guy know what a "scroll" is anyway. Makes total sense to me.
Exhibit A-----The DEAD "sea squirrel" as in, the amphibious creature that lives both on land AND sea, and that has been DEAD for 2,000 years.