I learned a few things this weekend:

  1. Having kids means you’ll never have to (or get to) push another elevator button again.
  2. Kids of a certain age are remarkably easy to travel with given they don’t really care what you do, how you get there, where they end up sleeping or what they eat as long as you feed them eventually and as long as they’re with you.

Addie and I boarded a double decker bus from Indy to Chicago on Friday afternoon, I was a little worried she’d get bored, think the bus was lame or beg the driver to stop for mini muffins at a gas station somewhere around Gary. Addie thought the bus was absolutely fascinating (“I CAN SEE IN ALL THE CARS!“) and she loved sitting next to me rather than staring at the back of my head for the entire three hour drive.

Once we got to Chicago it took about twenty minutes for it to sink in that I was alone with Addie for the whole weekend. Just the two of us, just like it used to be. I had grand ambitions of getting things done and accomplished once the day was over and she was in bed but when your kid doesn’t require naps and can put up with a little more adventure? You take full advantage and go on every adventure possible until you both fall down exhausted at the end of the day.

We walked for miles up and down the streets of Chicago, sometimes holding hands, sometimes skipping, sometimes stopping to look straight up, but always together. She only required a blanket, a pair of pajamas, clean underpants, two changes of clothes and a toothbrush. She could be ready for anything in under three minutes and bounced out of bed each morning with all the excitement of a kid on Christmas. While we both missed the baby and Cody, we enjoyed ourselves more than I could have ever imagined.

I have always made an effort to spend one on one time with her but this was completely different. This was rediscovering the little girl I have spent the last seven years raising. This was being able to watch her explore and try new things without my attention being divided and without having to be involved at every moment. This was letting her try new and scary things, this was watching my little girl slowly grow into a fully capable young lady who is not bothered by much and who is up for just about anything.

SO. PROUD.
This was the mother/daughter therapy we needed, only this therapy came with room service and museums.

I have tried for three days to put into words what this little vacation has done for my heart and I can not find them, I just get weepy with gratitude that I was able to spend the weekend with her. I know she had fun, there’s no way she couldn’t have (and believe me, I will talk about those details later.) I guess when you are in the trenches with little kids and babies it can be hard to see past the diapers, the tantrums, the monotony of day to day life and the stress and worry of  “Am I doing enough? Am I doing a good job?” This weekend got us away from the ordinary and gave me a glimpse into extraordinary of who she is becoming and how our relationship has, can, and will evolve over the next lifetime.

You spend all this time raising babies, wondering when is it going to end and if it is really worth it, then suddenly in the muggy morning air, sitting across the table from them in downtown Chicago, you realize you raised an actual person with a personality, preferences, opinions, a sense of humor, kindness, compassion and a love of cupcakes that only rivals her love of puppies.

I looked at her on our last adventure and whispered “I am so lucky you’re my kid.“  I could not have meant it more.

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I’m so grateful to partner with Hallmark in 2012 on their “Life is a Special Occasion” campaign again and I thank them tremendously for their patience with me, supporting me in all that I do and for sponsoring this post.

Comments

  1. Sara Croft says:

    A lot of symbolism in that last photo. Breathtaking and one that, if I had kids and took a similar photo, would look back on for many years. Gorgeous photography, dear! And a gorgeous family to go with your talent.

    Casey Reply:

    @Sara Croft, I keep going back and staring at it, I know every little bit of body language about that kid and this photo has it all.

  2. My big girl (5yo) and I are going on a train ride across 3 states in August to visit a friend who is having a baby. I am beside myself with excitement. I love getting one-on-one time with my big kids (even though it doesn’t happen as often as it should).

    Love this post. Your smiles are infectious. Made me grin several times this weekend when I saw your IG posts.

    Casey Reply:

    @Bridget, Thank you, my wish is that everyone could do this with their kids at some point, 5 will be a magical age to start the tradition, have so much fun.

  3. Cut it out with the daughter stuff. My ovaries are achy. Seriously, I am so glad you got to do this! One on one time with our kids is amazing!

    Casey Reply:

    @Karen Sugarpants, You know how to make them, not to mention you have some pretty sweet big brothers waiting to hang out with their baby sister…

  4. I just love this post. I’m watching my 2-year-old niece right now. She’s fun, but it’s hard to imagine her being anything but a toddler that will explode in tears without any notice. I was just starting to feel like maybe kids weren’t as much of a desire as I once thought they were. Not so much after reading your beautiful thoughts.

    Casey Reply:

    @Senora H-B, There’s certain movies that have always made me think letting your kids live to be adults is totally worth it, and I finally got a glimpse of that and it is lovely.

  5. Oh, my. I’m all teary.

    & I want my own daughter now.

    Casey Reply:

    @Beth Anne, You should look into getting one, they’re pretty sweet.

  6. I am hoping that I will have the opportunity to take my daughter, who will be six in March, to the American Girl store for her birthday. We have started the Rebecca books together, our special time. A store recently opened up an hour from us, but I’ve had a dream, since she was wee, of taking her to San Francisco for a mother-daughter weekend. Your post made me realize that trip is exactly what I need to do – for us!

    Casey Reply:

    @Audrey, Oh yes! New York and San Francisco are also on my Addie list. I tried to get Addie into the American Girl store but it’s just not her thing, we did do her first (and only) big shopping trip on her 5th birthday to Build a Bear and it was lovely.

  7. That was such a lovely post! I hope you can remember days like this when she grows up to be a sassy teen. Actually what I really hope for you is that you bank enough of these days so that your teen years with her will not be as sassy. That is my true wish for you- Amen.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kelly, Oh yes. I even told Addie that at one point she probably wasn’t going to like me much, she said “I WOULD NEVER NOT LIKE YOU!” When I asked to get that on film as evidence she looked at me like I was crazy.

  8. I’m totally jealous of your weekend with just Addie. I would kill for some 1-on-1 time with Piper. Not sure if I’ve ever had it.

    I need to start dating my daughter.

    Casey Reply:

    @designhermomma, I nominate you to be next. You must do it. MUST.

  9. I don’t even want kiddos, and you made me weepy.

  10. Oh, SOB. This makes me wish my mom had a blog so I could have known how awesome SHE was watching me grow up.

    Addie is (and will be) a very, very lucky girl to grow up to this fabulous scrapbook of her life.

  11. Love these photos. Can’t wait to take A on a crazy fun adventure like this. :)

  12. Oh this is just so awesome. (now plotting a trip with my 9 and 7 and leaving my 2 at home….)

  13. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh.

    My heart is saying so much, my brain and fingers just can’t get it out….

    <3

  14. I have had one day where I sent Charlie to daycare and had just Eddie. It was the first time since the baby was born.

    That night at bed Eddie informed me that he loved his brother and his daddy, but that I was his favorite girl.

    I never realized how important it is…even at 3…to have your mommy all to yourself for an extended period of time.

  15. This was an awesome post and I read the other post that corresponded with it as well. I just linked this article to my husband and said we need to do this sometime. I’ll take the girl child and he can take the boy child and we’ll just have fun with our children.

  16. This did my heart good tonight.

    xox

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  1. [...] will always be forever grateful to Hotel Allegro for inviting us up for the weekend at a time when both Addie and I desperately needed to get away with each other. Thank you guys for taking such good care of us and for inspiring me to take annual trips just like [...]