Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordy Wednesday: MONUMENTS

On a recent swing through Washington, DC, I took my sons to two Smithsonian museums: Air & Space and American History. We stopped in at the Kennedy Center, my former place of employ, and walked the Mall, stopping at the Washington, Jefferson, Vietnam, and World War II memorials. The city of Washington, DC, in its entirety is a giant monument to America and its people.

Despite the splendor, my nine-year-old left the Air & Space in tears. He had been hoping for some insight, some revelation that never came to him. He wondered what he had missed or, perhaps, what he had failed to do that denied him the elation he sought. I remember having similar feelings after a much-anticipated experience left me cold. In trying to comfort him, I began to think that one thing that differentiates the grown-up-me from the child-me is that I expect less from "great" experiences and am comfortable finding joy in smaller moments, such as being around the dinner table with my husband and all of our kids. Yet sometimes, still, I am caught off guard and feel that strange sense of absence after some accomplishment or event.  Perhaps I'm not entirely grown up? defines monument (the noun) in eleven different ways, my favorite being #3: "any enduring evidence or notable example of something." has hundreds of monument books, best-selling topics being Washington, DC, monuments, war memorials, and New York City architectural landmarks, all testament to the human struggle for immortality and our interest in what we have done and made in the past. For me, every bookstore is filled with my favorite kind of monuments: Collections of words that represent the struggle to understand, preserve and share the human experience. In the end, I told my son that monuments can be found in many places, that it just matters how you define them and, maybe, what you are looking for in the first place.


Meredith said...

This is such a good point. I feel like I've given up a lot of expectations as I've grown older, but I've also started appreciating the simple things that can bring happiness so much more. And books are most certainly monuments, often wonderful ones.

Angela Ackerman said...

That's too bad that your son felt he missed something, but at the same time it sybolizes his passion and interest in the first place, I think. That's always a good thing. :)

Thanks for your kind words on my blog. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Dawn Simon said...

Cool post, Stasia. I love what you said to your son, and I think you're absolutely right about books.

I hope you have a great weekend! :)