We can hold ourselves together as family and as individuals. One person's meltdown is not the whole family's meltdown. Don't read "one person" as necessarily the littlest person in the family. We all have our expectations and when expectations are not met, the mood can head south. Now, we all rebound more quickly. And, I think our expectations are more realistic and less based in idealism.
Jared, for example, hope to visit beautiful natural areas. I do, too. It's not always easy in this geographic area. Deer, invasives, a long history of people beating up on the land. All this means degraded landscapes which can be tiring rather than rejuvenating. Maybe we'll see something new, one pretty thing, one hopeful thing. Maybe we toss a few rocks into the Unami Creek and have a decent walk.
Me, my expectations. A peaceable trip with some excitement. Some laughs. Yet, no trip is without some minor vexation. I realize that. It's a big deal if I make into one. So, don't. I try.
Some of activities we can find in our culture are shopping-based, oh well. We went to Material Culture, a big warehouse of eastern imports and distressed furniture. I didn't find the tall, narrow cabinet to solve all our household's hat-and-mitten-avalanche-from-cubby issues, but we spent a nice hour looking at colorful stuff.
Plus, we saw a primitive art sculpture that made us laugh. Let's see if I can describe. A seated, headless male figure made of plaster of Paris soaked gauze painted faint neon colors. Long, large, somewhat curly penis painted gold. The figure had no back, no back on legs, just the front. We hardly noticed anyway. Beren pointed. We all laughed.
Afterwards, we drove to see our old apartment in west Philly. We didn't recognize it. In fact, I said, "It's not the one with the brown paint", but it was. The corner house still had pretty gardens, or seemed to on this winter day. A older man had tended them. Now, a wheelchair lift was mounted to the porch.
From there, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant. Tired decor. Sagging ceiling. Worn carpet. Friendly people. The hostess seemed to know one word, "baby", which she called Beren several times. He didn't notice. We gobbled a platter of aromatic, saucy foods, sat back and patted our bellies.
*Today, a hostess at a local diner also called Beren, "baby". Not "baby" as in a term of affection, but "baby" as in a little one. I love that.