temple on the hill {still + life}

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Something pretty awesome is happening for my kid these days. Last week, we got this in the mail:

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Well would you look at that. I don't even know where to begin! Here's the skinny. The Virginia General Assembly has a page program designed for kids age 13 and 14 (it's one of the few residential programs left in the country) and Cal will be one of the middle schoolers participating in next year's session. It's a pretty storied program with mentions of pages going back 100 years. The Virginia Senate has about 34 pages each year and the House of Delegates has about 40. The lieutenant governor has his own page, and well...

Here we are. Cal will be the page for the lieutenant governor for the 2014 General Assembly.

It's been a total whirlwind around here and the crazy won't really let up anytime soon. Cal has exams all next week, and after school lets out, he won't be back in classes until after his spring break. We take him to Richmond, VA (our state capitol) on January 5 for an orientation, and after two days of training, the program officially starts on January 8. Our new governor and lieutenant governor are inaugurated on January 11. Cal will be in Richmond for that.

The General Assembly is in session until March 8, and for the duration Cal will live in Richmond during the week and come home for the weekends. The pages work from 8AM-5PM and do school work in the evenings. He'll go to school on Saturday to make up quizzes and tests he's missed.

There are rules and uniforms and expectations. Paperwork to fill out and gray pants to order. Senate pages take on any number of tasks while they're part of the legislative session, from giving tours to sending messages to delivering the mail and lunch.

It's daunting and thrilling all at the same time.

  Cal and Ralph Northam during his senate re-election campaign in 2011. Senator Northam is now our Lt. Governor-Elect.

Cal and Ralph Northam during his senate re-election campaign in 2011. Senator Northam is now our Lt. Governor-Elect.

Come January, Cal will be working in Virginia's General Assembly which is the country's oldest English-speaking representative body. It's met in the present day capitol since 1788, a building designed by Thomas Jefferson. It was Jefferson who called the capitol the "temple on the hill." He'll be walking the same halls where former Presidents James Madison and James Monroe walked, and in the building which served as the capitol of the confederacy during the Civil War. A lot of our country's history is tied up in this space, and history is made each year. Honestly, I still can't believe it.

If you want to read a little more about the history of the program and what he'll be doing you can check out this article, written by the director of the program and this Washington Post article, which has pictures!

For Callum this is all wonderfully exciting. He loves history and politics and he's thrilled to be part of this special experience. The most special part is that he'll be working directly for Lt. Governor-Elect Northam. It was his campaign that first ignited the spark of Cal's interest in Virginia politics and this feels so fitting now.

From the people who first suggested that Cal might like this program to those who wrote moving and supportive reference letters, and those who made sure this thing happened for my family, well, I am moved to the bottom of my heart. We all are. Overwhelmed and moved. And grateful. Beyond words.

2014 is gonna start out with a crazy ride!