birthday weekend lookback, january 20

Last year we spent my birthday waiting around for Callum to do his thing at the state capitol, so we decide that it was only fair that for Neel's birthday we do the same. MLK weekend is traditionally a reunion weekend for the past Senate and House pages, and Cal has been looking forward to his chance to see his friends and troll his old haunts ever since he last wandered them a year ago.

We spent the night at his old hotel, and as soon as we checked in, he check out... from us. For awhile, I wanted him to let me know everytime he went somewhere new, but after a multitude of text that said, "Going to the 5th floor. Going to the lobby. Back up to the 5th floor." I said, just let me know when you go to dinner. Seriously. Still, he was home by 11, exhausted but content.

More of the same the next day. Cal wandered away while Neel and I wandered around, looking much like all the other parents who spent the day milling about while their kids had their fling. After being presented on the floor, Cal went for lunch with his friends while Neel and I chatted with a few other families and enjoyed the sun shining on the Capitol. We saw a helicopter fly over head and wondered, was that the governor? But it flew over the mansion before heading toward the nearby hospital. (We found out later that the governor did go to the hospital and spent the night there, as he's recovering from SEVEN broken ribs. Woah.)

Cal had reminded us that MLK Day is also Gun Lobby Day at the Virginia General Assembly. Seems incongruous to me, but what do I know? Pro-gun lobbiers wear "Guns Save Lives" stickers but they also are permitted to carry their guns, and we were surrounded by all manner of weaponry. In the afternoon, the Gun-Control advocates were assembling, complete with a banner made of red hearts and a bagpiper (!), but as Neel and I sat on the steps of the Capitol to watch and listen (and wait for Cal), the Capitol Police came up and shooed us away. Pointing to a backpack left by a fountain, the officer said, "We have a suspicious package. I'm sorry. We have to get you all out of here." As we waited and watched, they moved the crowed further and further away, until, clearly, it was time to go home.

We never heard what happened, but the rally, on the far, far side of the Capitol, went on as we took off. A little excitement for us and a good day for Cal. And Neel? He had an okay birthday too. We got him a rake.