Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Great Beyond

Today, I finally got to see a space shuttle in person.

I was giddy.  We took our little caravan of strollers and children and people and walked into the museum.  As soon as I walked in, I immediately looked over to the shuttle.  I walked right past the SR-71 which normally stops me in my tracks.  I didn't even glance at the Oblique Wing test craft.  I just pushed my niece in her stroller towards the back hangar, whether she really wanted to be separated from her mother or not.

In awe, I crouched down next to her stroller.

Me: Look, Baby.  This is the space shuttle!
Baby: It's a ship!
Me: Yep, it is a ship.  It's a big ship that they take into space.
Baby: What is the space?
Me: You know, at night, when you look up and you can see the stars?  That's space.
Baby: Like the astronauts?
Me: ?!! Um, yes, exactly.  When did you learn about astronauts?

So, then, I'm staring at my niece in shock.  For a two-year old, that is some amazing word connection.  However, that awe directed her way was short-lived.  She next glanced over and saw the stairs and spent the rest of her time in the museum more interested in the stairs and finding an elevator than in anything else.

Typical niece.

However, I wasn't too shocked by it and my sisters let me wander around the shuttle to my heart's content, admiring the TPS and the heat marks on the tiles, the RCS jet system and the sheer magnitude of the vehicle that served as the premier space vehicle for the first 30 years of my life.

As you might be able to guess, it was a red-letter day.

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