We had the most amazing day. I took my kids to a political rally in Washington, D.C., right next to the Capitol building. The rally was about raw (unpasteurized) milk, the fact that it should be legal and getting the FDA out of nutritional decision making for families who know and believe in the benefits of grass-fed cows who give fresh milk from farmers they know and trust.
But for us it was about so much more. Firefly has been very interested in current events lately and we’ve been watching the news and engaging in meaningful discussions. He truly amazes me for a seven year old, with the questions he asks and the thoughtful way that he talks about issues. In the process, he’s seen multiple violent protests on the news: Lybia and Greece for example.
I wanted him to see that people can protest peacefully in order to draw attention to a cause they believe in, and ultimately, hopefully, see real changes happen. I want him to be a law abiding citizen, yes, but I also want him to know that some laws are based on outdated or inaccurate information and some are unfair or simply wrong (think slavery). There are other reasons, too, but I don’t want him to grow up simply accepting things as they are. I want him to continue his thoughtful approach and if he sees something unjust, I want him to know that he can be a part of changing it.
I wasn’t sure how this would play out today, me bringing three little kids to a political rally in the city, so I went with only the expectation that we would arrive there. Whatever else happened was fine. If all we did was walk by the crowd of protestors, that was fine. If we got to stay for the rally, great. If we got to do other stuff while we were down in the city, bonus. But if we simply saw a crowd gathered around a cow (more on that in a minute) and then went back home, that would be okay.
Well, we got to do all of that and more. We arrived to find a very varied group of people: women with long hair and ankle-length skirts, men in business suits, a group of yogis dressed all in white, families of all kinds, many suburban moms just like me and tons of kids. I got to hear a bit of some of the speakers, like Sally Fallon Morell, who wrote Nourishing Traditions, and then the cow arrived. Yes, a cow was going to be milked, right there on Capitol Hill and people were going to drink the raw milk to make a point.
There was also a table set up and free, raw milk from grass-fed cows was being served. We got some and it was really refreshing in the hot morning sun. While we drank it, I made a mental note to remember to bring sunscreen to any future political rallies, as most are probably outside (oops).
Now, my kids have had raw milk before, many times, and they still live to tell about it. Currently, we are on a waiting list to buy into a herd share at a local farm. We know the farmer personally and buy many other dairy and meat products from her already. Ironically, I found her on a homeschooling message board a couple of years ago.
Anyway, after the speakers finished, the cow arrived. The kids all started to run towards the cow. The woman leading the cow stopped for a long time and let the kids pet the cow while many photographers snapped photos, with the Capitol building in the background. The cow happily munched on grass until she was led to a roped off area and milked.
Firefly stood there snapping photos while I kept the younger two out of the sun and happy with snacks.
When they had all had enough and said they wanted to go, we did. We started to wander. We explored a park with a fountain, then found our way to the National Mall, spread out our picnic blanket and ate our lunch. The kids fed pigeons and then picked a random museum and we went in. It turned out to be the National Gallery of Art.
Having just discovered the Olivia books, they were thrilled to go to an art museum and gaze at paintings, just like Olivia. We saw paintings by Degas, Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh and many more. Firefly decided Monet was his favorite. We bought a book about Monet from their wonderful Children’s Store, then got some gelato (another Olivia coincidence) at the cafe, before heading back to the car, just in time before a storm rolled in.
In the car, Firefly asked, “Can we still do reading when we get home, Mom?” Be still my heart. This is the child who fought, literally kicking and screaming in September whenever he saw me pull out our reading curriculum. The child who finally, reluctantly began to plod through two pages a day of Progressive Phonics, until finally he got through a whole level of books and has now just begun to find his confidence in beginning reader-type of books. “Can we still do reading?!”, I thought to myself. Calmly, I answered, “Sure.”
And now I am listening to baths being had upstairs, courtesy of The Husband, and I am thinking what a perfect day. What an amazingly wonderful and perfect day. This is learning.
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