Halfway through our time in London, we split up for a day. Sam took the girls to Harry Potter’s world, my parents had already left for the morning, and the boys wanted to stay home to
play video games rest. I had my choice of sites to visit without them: the Florence Nightingale museum, the Royal College of Surgeons museum, the National Gallery, or the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.
Because it was a gorgeous, sunny day, I opted for Kew.
I have such warm memories of Kew Gardens from our trips there when I was a child. My mother and our London friend were both avid gardeners, so visiting Kew meant not only wandering acres of beautiful park and gardens, but learning about all the plants and trees. My own children, when invited to come with me, said, “Nah. It’s just a Botanic Garden, right?” Um, no.
I was better off without them.
The Palm House
I spent the morning wandering paths and reading on a bench under the biggest catalpa tree I’ve ever seen. A sawed off branch near the base of the trunk had 65 rings. (I counted.) I examined a Cyprus of Lebanon. The grass was sprinkled with mums with prams, picnic blankets, and little children.
When I got hungry, I went to the café at the Orangerie and had a lunch I never would have approved for my children, or ordered had they been there.
A few years ago, I couldn’t have imagined a vacation when my kids would be big enough to do their own thing while I did mine. Time’s a flying, and this is where we are. I am grateful for the day.