Last Spring Break, instead of going away on vacation, we decided to stay home and hit up all the museums and other things we never seem to have time for during the year. My husband and I didn't tell our three boys the next day's agenda, and the kids would find out the day's plans on that morning. Made for some frustration, but also provided that awesome element of surprise. Surprise makes any occasion special. Every morning they'd wake up and ask with true enthusiasm, Where are we going today? Baby E would be the most excited, things are still new to him. With every disclosed plan over breakfast, he'd pump his fist in the air and shout, Yes! We'd clean up the table, pack snacks, and go.
One day during the week our plans were to see The Dead Sea Scrolls. This trip required planning, advance ticket purchase, arriving at a specified time: a real coordinated effort and I was so excited to tell them. We are going to see The Dead Sea Scrolls! I announced while waving our tickets over their corn flakes.
I had to order the tickets for the exhibit two weeks ago and the exhibit is on loan from FOUR separate museums, along with private collectors. This exhibit has taken years of international negotiations, and cost a great deal of money in terms of insurance and being on loan. Cool, huh? I caught my breath but my eyes were still on fire. My mood was contagious, and they were fascinated. Baby E seemed to ponder the information, but 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 eleven 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 unusual that the fist pump was absent to the day's featured event. Had he become jaded by all the fantastic fun awesome mama had planned?
While in the car on our way, the chatter continued.
Mom, how did they hold the scrolls together?
Mom, how do they know they found all the scrolls?
We can ask those questions when we get there, I told the older two boys.
I glanced in the rear view mirror, trying to catch Baby E's face. He was just taking in the conversation, but looked ill at ease.
You feeling okay, Baby E?
Yes, mom. But how do you know we'll like this?
Because it's over 2,000 years old! Cool, huh?
I guess so.
We finally arrived at the museum and rushed in to pick up our special Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit tickets at the will call Box.
Ah! The tickets! Let's go!
Everyone ran ahead, but you know who dragged behind.
What is wrong, honey? I studied Baby E's eyes for a hint.
Nothing. But, are you sure every one wants to see this?
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 tightly. 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!
He quietly chewed his upper lip as we waited. Mom, is that all we're going to see? he wanted to know.
Is that all? I echoed incredulously. We'll be here an hour, reading about the discovery, and how they pieced everything together. You'll love it -- I'll tell you about everything we'll look at. We'll even get the audiophone guided tour, alright? He still didn't seem reassured.
The velvet ropes were unclasped, and it was finally our turn to enter the exhibit. The mystic music was playing in the background, there were painted sand dunes on the walls, there were the placards, the grainy photos of the initial discovery, the stories, and finally, at the end, the clay jars! With the Dead Sea Scrolls!
Baby E stood in the middle of the exhibit, hands up in the air. Well, where are they?! His exasperated voice broke the silence in the exhibit.
They're all right here, I shushed him, see them?
No. Where are they? The dead sea squirrels you said we were going to see today. The ones they found 2,000 years ago?
I give you 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.
I won't even tell you how much he didn't enjoy the laughter he brought to that entire hall that morning.