Road Trip = Adventure
I was a single, military parent with three (very hyper) little boys, aged nine, seven and four.
It was too easy getting them involved in my genealogy research, because for them it was another adventure!
Our first road trip was to a local cemetery to photograph some stones for a special commission in Ontario.
We wandered about most of the afternoon. My sons played some “I Spy” and “Hide ‘n’ Seek” among the trees along the cemetery paths, while I shot the pictures I needed.
With one stone left to find, I heard giggling behind me and wondered what my youngest one found so amusing.
I turned about and was shot with water!
“I got Daddy! I got Daddy!” he called out proudly, running to his brothers clutching his yellow water gun; but I must have had one of those unpopular, parenting looks because my oldest two came out of hiding.
After I checked my camera and changed my shirt, I asked them if they were hungry.
Stupid question to ask little boys – they are always hungry!
We went to a family restaurant that served slow-roasted chicken and large helpings of gravy and mash.
While we waited for our dinner, activity pages and crayons were given to entertain my sons. My oldest two began colouring, but my youngest was more interested in drawing on the blank reverse side of the page.
Aware I was watching him, my son looked up with a smile, handed me a red crayon and slid his paper between us.
I asked if I could trace his hand. He looked at me oddly. I tried again.
“Hold down your paper,” I told him. “It is going to blow away!”
He slammed his little hand down with his fingers apart; it was perfect. After tracing his hand, I wrote his name in it.
“That’s your hand,” I said.
“Me?” he squeaked disbelief. I nodded.
He held the page up to his brothers.
“Me!” he announced to them.
All of us smiled and laughed, as I got an idea.
Dirty Little Hands
Laying the paper in the middle of the table, I traced the hands of my older sons, and wrote their names in their respective tracings, just as the waitress showed up with our dinner.
It was late when we got home. After putting my sons to bed, I stashed the paper away for safe keeping — and it was so safe, I didn’t find it again for five years!
I showed it to my new wife and told her my idea. She smiled and said that it was perfect. So, I went out then and there, got it framed, and then hung it on the wall outside the upstairs bathroom door.
When the boys came home from school and went to wash up for dinner, they saw it. They read the small brass plate, laughed and remembered.
My wife enjoyed our dinner conversation that evening. She laughed until she cried as my sons and I took turns describing that road trip: the spy games, the silly songs, the laughing … and yes, those water guns.
That road trip happened sixteen years ago and those “Dirty Little Hands” are still hanging outside the bathroom door.
Genealogy is the catalyst that brings family together. It happens anywhere at any time. It bonds the past to the present and preserves it for the future – whether it is the enjoyable subject of a family dinner conversation or a written submission shared sixteen years later.
About Sir Leprechaunrabbit
Sir Leprechaunrabbit began his genealogical journey very young. Active in his local and online communities, he is involved in several societies. He writes two blogs (Your Roots Are Showing Dearie and Rock of Ages: Grave Concerns.) and is a published writer online and in print. On social media he plays in many venues, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+. He can also be found in #genchat “virtual bartending.” #Genchat is the original power hour on alternate Fridays! It’s friendly! It’s fun and it’s the fastest hour-long chat you will ever witness. Everyone is welcome! See the 2016 schedule here.