I realized this weekend while in Chicago that out of 2x I have visited the city I have been pregnant both times. Almost exactly the same amount even… the last time being December 2007 pregnant 20ish weeks with Niamh. Weird how some things just happen the same over and over. I remember on that trip being very thankful to not have an external child because we ran around the city like crazy and our flight got canceled due to snow and we had to rent a car and drive to get back for a very important Monday. This time I was thankful for being external child free for some of the same running around reasons but thankfully the weather was awesome and all flights happened with zero issues.
We planned the trip in a series of ‘moments’. First we (mostly Lars) had the intense desire to go to Rick Bayless’s restaurant because he loves Mexican food and was very impressed with him as a person and as a chef on Top Chef Masters. We decided that since he had a place in Chicago that we would make plans to go ‘someday’. We mentioned this to other friends who agreed that it sounded great and would love to go with us. Time passes and ‘someday’ is still an unmarked date on the calendar but there were so many things to do; school, holidays, work stuff etc not to mention finding someone who would watch our 2 kids while we go away.
Moment #2 came when we decided to ask a close mom friend if she would be willing to watch the girls, actually I think she even offered so that was even better. The offer was for a future ‘someday’ date too and given that she had an extra job in retail that made ‘someday’ most definitely after Christmas season.
The actual moment of transition between ‘someday’ and Jan 28th was the doing of the other couple who was checking on reservations and noticing that they were 4-6 weeks out for a weekend and just took the lead and booked it. That moment crystalized the trip and made it a real thing to plan for rather than just talk about ‘someday when…’ We were fortunate to have the childcare work for that weekend and airlines cooperated too so within a week we were booked and then conversations moved to far more interesting topics of what we would wear.
As the date approached it was an exciting yet hard thing… we like our kids, we only really get to see them on weekends, leaving them sounds great and awful at the same time. We are not shy about bringing them lots of places but this trip really would not work for them because for starters our dinner reservation was for 9:30pm. I was nervous about Zoe crying the whole time and our friend never speaking to us again but I decided to not borrow trouble and focus on the fact that Niamh was excited and loves the person coming over (and her kids) and if she is happy Zoe tends to be too, plus, Zoe is more socially accepting then Niamh was. There was a hard moment when I was leaving but I didn’t leave a crying baby, she was content snuggling with books when I walked out the door.
The trip itself when great and after I pull the pictures hostage in my camera out I’ll give a run down but today my focus is how well the weekend went for the kids. They were happy without us but happy to see us and that was the best thing. If we do this again I’ll have zero doubts about the kid care part of the trip, but, we kept missing them while we were gone when we saw something they would like. The kids by all reports had a fabulous time. They played all day nonstop with friends and on a cool indoor playground. They ate their favorite foods, they probably watched more TV than normal (big treat) and Niamh had a sleepover party and she has wanted that for ages. I think they had as much fun or more without us!!!
Bottom line, I’m very glad we didn’t leave this as a ‘someday’ adventure. We did it, they did it and now we know it is not just possible it is fun. [end]