Summer Vacay the Eight Year-Old Way

30 Jun

Last week, my daughter and I took our first lengthy road trip together.  We drove from the Twin Cities to St. Charles, Illinois, to watch my nieces dance in a competition.  It was exciting to plan and look forward to seeing family and vacationing in a new place.  I had an itinerary, a list of things to bring in the car, what to pack, and then….the 8 year-old got involved.

I thought I would be nice and pack suitcases for each of us.  Big mistake.  She rolled her eyes and said, “Mom, seriously? Why would you pack this?”, and proceeded to empty her entire suitcase and start over.

Next was shopping for food and beverages to have in the car so we didn’t have to hit every fast food restaurant between here and Illinois.  I was aiming for granola bars and sparkling water,  and she’s grabbing chips and pop.  Granted, I needed the caffeine to stay alert, but giant bottles of Coke aren’t quite what I had in mind.

I figured we would need some music to listen to, since we’d lose our local stations fairly quickly.  Of course, my song list is full of “old and boring songs”, so we compromised and came up with “The Chicago Playlist”.  This consisted of 10 percent my songs and 90 percent hers.   I was SO looking forward to bonding with Justin Bieber and One Direction for several hours (not).

The drive actually went really well.  She was great about tracking our journey and very excited when we were close enough to pick up Chicago radio stations.  Everything was looking good and spirits were high.  I couldn’t wait to take her into the city to see it for the first time.

We took the train in which was very exciting, since she had never been on one.  Once we arrived in Chicago, we were pumped to hit the ground running and head up to the John Hancock building to take in the views.

Twenty years ago, I worked and had an apartment in the city and knew the area like the back of my hand.  So, I was convinced I knew where I was going and didn’t need to reference Google Maps to reach our destination.

Boy, was I wrong.  When I thought we were going north, we were actually going south.  All of a sudden we were in a quiet little neighborhood away from the tall buildings.  She was worried, I was overly confident, telling her I knew where I was going.

I knew once I saw a sign for the South Loop, I had screwed up big time.  What once was an excited and happy child, turned into a whiny, frustrated kid who was convinced we were lost and a tornado was going to hit any minute (there were tornadoes southeast of where we were staying the night before).

Hoping to salvage our city visit, I told her this was part of the journey to find an amazing place to eat lunch…like the Emerald City of food….it led us to Qdoba…and it saved us.  A burrito and some nachos there, and we were as good as new.

She led the charge up Michigan Avenue and up the elevator in the John Hancock building.  What once was a frown, was replaced by a smile and awe at the amazing views from the observation deck.  All was good, especially once souvenirs were purchased.

Overall, it was a great trip and experience.  We plan to hit Chicago again, except next time, I’ll put my ego aside and let her lead the way.  🙂

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