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.

cal answers questions {still + life}

Good mail day...

Good mail day...

Cal answers your questions about the Page Program.

From Christine at The Plumed Nest: They make you wear coats if it's below 50 degrees? Is this a part of the page rules or just a rule by the chaperones? What are the pins that you wore on the lapel of your jacket? Did you get any sort of memento's from your time there?

Yes. We had to wear our coats when it was 50ยบ or below. This was a Senate Page Program rule (it was different in the house). Everyday in the page room, the temperature and the soup of the day was written on a white board and the board would say "coats: yes" or "coats: no." Senate pages were allowed three pins on the front lapel. One of the pins was issued to us and the other two had to be approved. My pins were a Ralph Northam, Lt. Governor pin and a City of Norfolk pin. We weren't allowed to wear anything partisan although some people did on the backs of their lapels! All the pages received a blanket from the governor's inauguration, and on the last day we got a new pin that was the seal of Virginia. And just recently we got pins that say "Virginia Senate Page." We all loved collecting pins.

From Jenni: What do you hope to do (next?) with your experience? Is there a second year/follow-up opportunity that only those partaking in this year can take advantage of in a future year? Do you hope to put together a presentation? Encourage a friend to participate? Get more involved in politics in the future?

There is no second year option for the Page Program, although I'd like there to be! I am going to give a presentation on the program to my school soon at what we call a chapel talk. I do want to get more involved in politics in the future. I'd also like to get involved in the same program, except this time in the US Senate.

From Noreen at Beauty in Everyday Life: Did you learn a lot? What was the hardest part? The best part was making friends with all the other pages?

Yes, I did learn a lot! Especially about government, but also how to manage my money and life. The hardest part was saying goodbye to everybody at the end though I still remain in touch with people. One of the greatest parts was making friends, but I also really liked working with the Lt. Governor and his staff and working for them.

From Meghan at My Wishful Thinking: That must have taken some getting used to!? I might be echoing other comments but I have a couple of questions (as usual). What time did your day finish? It sounds like a lot of hard work and running around (but also lots of fun). What are you hoping to do next? Can you enroll for a second year? Has it made you want to get involved in politics?

Our day finished at 5PM when we walked back to the hotel to get our stuff and go to dinner. After dinner, we had study hall from 7-9PM. I do want to get involved in politics because I really enjoyed it and hope I can do something like it again!