Skip to content

Sarah Simpson column: Unexpected detour the highlight of a trip to the museum

You never know what will end up being the best part of the day
Sarah Simpson.

As has become tradition, (It was the second year in a row. That makes it a tradition right?) my husband and kids made the trek to Victoria last week to visit the Royal BC Museum while I was stuck at work. There was a dinosaur exhibit that the kids were keen to see, but really, the three of them really just like learning stuff.

My husband makes knowing random facts seem cool and where better than a museum to learn things like Sue, the T-Rex, currently on display there, is one of the biggest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever found, and likely had a jaw infection?

Now you know.

Anyway, the three of them headed down to the museum in the morning shortly after I’d left for the office.

From what I understand, during the drive the kids had figured out on their own how to say “hello little pigeon” in French and were quite chuffed about it. So chuffed in fact that my eldest rolled down the back window to yell “bonjour petit pigeon!” into the wind as they were driving along.

Yes it’s weird. But these are the things children do.

In any event, upon arriving and parking at a parkade near the museum, my husband wasn’t able to roll the power window back up. To be fair, it’s happened before.

That’s when I got the first text from my husband.

“Do you remember how we’ve rolled up the window on the back passenger door?”

I told him we turned the car on and off and flicked the switch a bunch and eventually it worked.

“We’re having no luck. A guy tried to help too,” was the reply.

I told him the internet said to slam the door and see if that helped. No joke. “I slammed the door. Now the door won’t open from the inside or the outside.”

My heart sank. I knew he was getting stressed. He was ever-so-slowly descending into no-good-very-bad-day territory.

So, with the window still stuck down and my husband only clinging to his cool for the sake of the kids, I suggested two options: shove everything important into the trunk and leave the car as-is and go enjoy the museum, or go to an auto shop and see if they can yank it back up.

Even though there wasn’t anything of any value in the car, (unless booster seats are selling on the black market these days) my son was uncomfortable with the first option.

So, off to find a shop they went. My husband thought the day had been ruined. Instead of driving to the museum, they were driving away from it.

The first two were on lunch. Great.

Eventually they found a shop that would get it pulled back up but it would take an hour. The mechanic suggested my family wander over to the Public Market in the old Hudson Building and grab lunch while they waited.

So they did.

Then came another text: a photo of my kids standing on a rather standard bicycle rack, grinning like fools.

Then another: a second photo of my kids standing on a different rather standard bike rack, grinning like fools.

“Now they want photos at every rack” he texted, exasperated.

Once at the market my son found a beer keg with his name on it. I received a photo of him sitting on it, smiling brightly.

Then I got a photo of him cheekily photo-bombing his sister while she gleefully enjoyed mac and cheese made with a novel twist: giant noodles.

Then came a video of them chasing, and nearly catching, pigeons. (Oh the irony).

Before they knew it, the car was fixed and there was another choice to be made: pick up the car and drive home, or get back to the museum.

I told my clearly exhausted husband to go to the museum.

“We don’t want them to think we give up on things we want to do when life gets hard,” I texted. He agreed.

They were walking to the museum’s entrance when they realized my husband’s wallet was still in the car.

Several years ago that would have been the final straw. This time, they just went and got it and returned to the museum. In doing so, they were able to ride in a glass elevator. Twice.

Being fans of Roald Dahl, that was a big deal.

Popcorn was bought, exhibits were viewed, random facts were learned. A great time was had by all.

Later, I asked about their day. My husband sighed, looking at me as if to say, “You know exactly how it went.”

The kids though, their eyes lit up.

“Mom!” they said. “If the car hadn’t broken we never would have gone to the market and had the giant noodles, or seen the keg with my name on it or chased the birds or ridden the glass elevator! We thought the museum would be the highlight of our trip but the best part was really the adventure before!”

There are two points to be made: 1. things have a funny way of working out sometimes; 2. and children view life from a far less critical perspective than us. I maintain, it’s not what you do with your kids that matters, it’s how you go about doing it.

Sarah Simpson

About the Author: Sarah Simpson

I started my time with Black Press Media as an intern, before joining the Citizen in the summer of 2004.
Read more