Friday, July 29, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened at the USMC Museum

Last weekend, my oldest son and I had a great mother/son trip down to Virginia to attend events surrounding the 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run).  We saw over 8,000 re-enactors on a field as they fought for 2-hours.  I think this is the first time I've really even come remotely close to getting just a small taste of what that war must have been like.  It's truly incomprehensible, but that re-enactment made it more real.

On Sunday, we went to Manassas Battlefield Park.  There, of course, were more re-enactors with tents set up, etc.  Also there, was a display for the National United States Marine Corps Museum.  Seeing that it was close by and FREE, I knew this was an opportunity not to be passed up.  So, that afternoon found us at the museum of the greatest branch in the military!  (Ok, so that's MY opinion.)

We ate at the Mess Hall (complete with camo-lunch trays!), went through most of the amazing displays, and were impressed by the sacrifices so many have made throughout the years.  So many battles, so many lives lost, so much freedom gained!  Most poignant for me, was seeing the Marines who were touring the museum with their families.  There's something about that short hair, straight walk, and look of determination on each of their faces that commands respect and honor.

All of that said, I must say one of my favorite things at the museum was what occurred in the gift shop before we left.  There were many people browsing in the large store, including a young boy of 4 or 5 with his mother.  He was adorable and well behaved.  Well, up until the end.  While looking at some books, I suddenly hear this child having a temper tantrum.  He was yelling that he wanted a toy helmet.  However, while most temper tantrums result in my blood boiling, this one actually made me smile.  This child was not screaming in the stereotypical mad, high-pitched way.  He was actually pleading, begging, very loudly and...very politely.  "PLEASE!!!!  Mommy, I want the helmet.  PLEASE!!!  If I don't have it I won't have a helmet to play with.  PLEASE!!!!!!!!"  I'm telling you, if the kid was not being carried out (mighty quickly) by his mother, I truly think he would have fallen to his knees in front of her, clasped his hands, and continued his pleading in that position of humility.

As I said, the mom was taking the child out of the store - as well she should.  Polite or not, sad or mad, a temper tantrum is a temper tantrum.  A minute later, she returned - still carrying her distraught son and in a bit of a loud voice says to her husband, "I need the keys...now."  There was no messing with this mom.  But, this is where I had to refrain from laughing out loud.  The boy now screams (in that sad way), "PLEASE!  Don't lock me in!!!!!!!!!"    HA HA HA!!!  That poor mother had to be mortified and immediately said, "I'm not going to lock you in!"  I think she was trying to convince all of the customers more than her son.  :)

Truly, the reason I think this is humorous is because any child who throws a temper tantrum over a toy is obviously not abused.  I laughed in compassion of the mother - knowing how she must have felt.  I laughed because one day soon she will look back on that incident and laugh.  I laughed - my blood didn't boil - because, for once, a mom was doing the right thing.

I think she was married to a Marine.

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