My love of history and desire to share it with my kids sometimes can cause problems I never expected or planned to encounter.
I am always looking for something of historical significance to share with the kids. Sometimes that means taking a detour to one of those out-of-the-way historical sites or a trip to a location with some historical significance. The trick is always to make the destinations seem more exciting than what they may be in reality.
Last year I had the opportunity to take the whole family on a trip that had historical significance and was truly exciting. A friend invited us to come out to see the re-enactment of the Battle of Lake Erie. I thought this was an excellent idea considering it was the bicentennial of this event and it was enticing to my kids because it was a ride on a very large boat.
I was able to do a great build up. Several weeks before the trip, I was asked numerous times when we were going on the boat. I was able to share what the battle was about and why it was important. The kids were interested, they were learning history and we were all going to get a once in a lifetime event to share.
The morning of the re-enactment finally came and we traveled out to the Catawba Island Club to board the boat. It was cool and overcast, with some rain. In spite of the weather there was still excitement in the kids eyes.
I was excited too. I was grateful that my friend had invited us on this trip. His boat is amazing in its size and grandeur. Plus the opportunity to see a famous naval battle re-enacted was inspiring my historical curiosity.
We traveled out of the harbor and effortlessly moved onto Lake Erie. At first the boat rocked slightly, and it took no time at all for the waves to bring their full effect on the boat and its passengers.
I don’t know who in my family felt it first. My stomach started to ache almost immediately and the telltale signs of getting sick were apparent. But while I was focused on my own queasiness and consulting with my wife on how she was feeling I didn’t notice how my daughter was faring. It didn’t take long, though, for me to know because her breakfast was soon on the deck of the boat.
Although quickly washed away into the lake with a bucket, her interest in the trip was over at that moment. She wanted to go back to land. Unfortunately the re-enactment hadn’t even started.
Three hours later we had heard the cannons but saw little of the battle. The number of boats on the lake and the waves made it difficult to see much of anything. My daughter had spent most of the time lying down. My wife and I had avoided getting sick but still were longing for land. Our son seemed to weather the trip fine except for a slightly upset stomach.
My kids have distinct memories of that trip. If asked about the trip they will say little about seeing the battle but a lot about everyone getting sick.
As a family we share a lot of things. Sometimes those shared things bring us happiness and sometimes they aren’t quite as enjoyable. In the end, these events bind us together and help us create our own history. The Battle of Lake Erie and our weak stomachs are now linked forever.