When we were kids, my brothers and I were periodically subjected to my father’s long Sunday drives after church. If my father was still alive, I think he would recall these drives as the foundation of our interests in architectural style. My memory to date is that I hated them: the three of us kids in the back seat poking at one another; my dad putting on classical music and telling us to be quiet; he pointing out interesting homes for us to look at and appreciate; sitting after having already sat through Catholic mass–it was really a lot to ask from three rowdy kids.
Today, history repeated itself one generation later, but with an improved concoction if you ask me. We skipped church this morning and slept in (or at least I slept in; the boys did a few science projects, played chess and played with legos). I finally joined them for a leisurely breakfast and we stayed inside until the early afternoon.
Only when the sun was beckoning did we get on our bicycles and head out. The three of us cycled through Wassenaar-a town within twenty minutes cycling distance of The Hague. The estates, mansions, and embassy homes have such grandeur that I accidentally called Wassenaar Montecito a few times. (Montecito is a wealthy estate-laden area just outside of Santa Barbara, California with grand villas and mansions of the rich and famous, all tucked into the rolling hills of California bordering the Pacific.)
Whereas Montecito offers beautiful curvy roads, it is far from bicycle-friendly. Wassenaar on the other hand is full of bicycle paths that parallel the streets and highways and weave in and out of natural spaces and parks.
Bicycling through the neighborhoods is far preferable to sitting in the back seat of a car. Our son replied with enthusiasm as my husband pointed out grand churches, estates from the 1890s now home to ambassadors of Middle Eastern countries and grand mansions with the requisite Mercedes and Jaguars parked out front.
As I sit behind the computer and recall our chilly afternoon cycling tour, there is not an ancy bone in my body. My son seems equally content to work behind his desk on another science project without the need to be entertained. In fact, I haven’t heard that tell tale “I’m bored” that often follows too much sedentary activity or screen time since our two hour cycling adventure. I might even go so far as to say there is a certain kind of peaceful harmony in our home as we all work on our own projects.
“Mom. Can I play on the iPad?” My son asks. Where did he come from and what happened to the science project?
“Only if you practice your vocabulary list first,” I respond.
Okay. So I might have given that whole outdoor experience a little too much credit after all. At least I was true in sharing the idealistic views of a parent.