Last Friday, I loaded up a borrowed Camry and woke our oldest daughter up very early and we headed out for Chicago. A birthday gift for her tenth, a chance for her and I to get away and talk about the things a mother needs to share with her growing-older, growing-up daughter, away from the interruptions and inconveniences of littler ones. We drove for what seemed an endless 9+ hours, hitting repeated construction and a few rain storms. We arrived exhausted but excited for the adventure of a city new to both of us.
We had a great time and good conversations. She was not quite interested yet in some of the things we discussed, but the door at least has been opened and I can only remain available for her to walk through it in the future when she is ready to talk. I got to know her better – this girl who only had us to herself for sixteen months before the intruders (younger sisters) started entering the scene. I confirmed my belief that she is a lot like her dad and a lot like me. She asks questions that he would ask, things that would never enter my mind. She stumped me many times and I responded a lot with, “Grace, I just don’t know.” The first thing she did upon arriving in our hotel room was unpack her suit case into the drawers and lay everything out perfectly. I laughed as I saw a glimpse of my pre-child self.
I grew tired of being the navigator and missed Matt greatly for this reason, among others. But I left feeling stronger and satisfied, having learned my way around (a very small portion of) a huge city by myself. I learned how to hail and take a taxi, how to understand (in a very small way) the bus maps and schedules, how to take the free trolley to Navy Pier, and how to find lots and lots of things on foot.
It was a great weekend for both of us. These are memories she and I will both cherish forever. Here are a few pictures from the weekend. I’ll share more tomorrow.
Have a great Thursday! We’ll see you tomorrow!