I learned a few things this weekend:
- Having kids means you’ll never have to (or get to) push another elevator button again.
- 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.
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.
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.