hPhoto caption: K at Constitution Hall inside the chambers where the Declaration of Independence was signed.
One of the great things about living on the east coast is how close you are to so many amazing places. Jesse and I are trying to take advantage of this more, so this fall, we planned a semi-spontaneous long weekend trip to Philadelphia. This is the second part of my post. You can read the first part from last week here.
We spent a large part of our second day at Independence Mall where we were able to see the Liberty Bell and tour Independence Hall where the Constitution was signed. Experiencing these things was a bit of a sacred experience for me. We have so many freedoms that we take for granted, and so many people sacrificed so much for our liberties. It’s hard to put those feelings into words. Our experience at the Liberty Bell was also quite unique. Because we are blind, the park rangers let us actually go up and touch the bell. Otherwise, people just view it from behind a rope. This was quite special for us to actually handel a significant piece of history. Our kids got to touch it as well, and while they are too young to really appreciate the significance of this, I’m grateful for the story they’ll have to remember. Usually we don’t like to take special treatment like this, but I was willing to make the exception in this case.
Later that night, we once again implemented our structured discovery skills and found our way to the new LDS temple in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, it closed for cleaning two days earlier. I had hoped to go to a temple session while we were there, but walking around the grounds and visiting it was still nice. Again, I’m grateful to share special places like this with my children.
Photo Captions Pic 1: LDS Philadelphia Temple
Photo Captions Pic 2: Hartle Family outside East doors of LDS Philadelphia temple
We got a little turned around going back to our hotel as we took a different way since the way we walked wasn’t very pedestrian friendly, and our four-year-old finally had a major meltdown from the long walks and almost gave up to fall asleep on the sidewalk. (WE kind of over did the long days and long walks even though we broke it up a lot.) But, with a piggy back from Daddy, he managed to get his second wind. Bonus points again to Jesse as it’s hard to hold onto a child on your back and use your cane at the same time. WE clocked a lot of steps that day.
We decided to take the Big Bus tour around the city on our last day. This was a double-decker open roof bus. There are several stops and you can jump on and off at various locations. WE sat up on the top and thankfully, no tree branches hit us as the guide warned us may happen. WE decided to get off at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (a.k.a. the building used in the Rocky training montage where he runs up the stairs.) And yes, we did the Rocky Run. I took some video of Jesse and the kids running it. I did as well, and I’ll just say, going up was a lot easier than coming down. Thank you cane!
Photo Caption: J, K, and J.J. at the top of the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (oops, my thumb sort of got in the way of the pic and this is the only still we took there as the rest was video of us going up all those stairs!)
We finally made it home late Saturday night. The Mega bus was late, and we had trouble getting an uber XL home given some misleading uber practices which I’ll save for another post. (I’m boycotting them for a while for this practice.) Oh the joys of transportation! On our way home that night, feeling tired and a little overwhelmed by some of the challenges of the weekend, I asked Jesse if we were crazy to try to tackle things like this. This wasn’t our first time. He laughed and said we probably were but that it was worth it. We both agreed that if we knew how challenging it would be, we probably wouldn’t do it. I sat reflecting on the weekend and other things in our lives and felt really proud of us for sticking it out and continuing to try things like this despite how challenging they may be. Maybe it’s better not knowing sometimes. But, if you don’t try, you miss out on so many great experiences and happy memories. I guess the message I want to convey with posts like this is that you don’t have to let challenges hold you back. We did not take a sighted guide along with us to help us find our way around and look after our children; and while I have some limited vision, it doesn’t help me read street signs, see oncoming cars, read a map, or see anything that is more than three feet away from me. With the right skills, a little bit of confidence, and a willing attitude, anyone can do hard things. So get out there and do them.