On Saturday we drove to Chicago to meet up with my dad, step-mom and their 3-year-old son, whom we fondly refer to as Baby Uncle. He’s not a baby anymore, but if you figured out that Modern Family scenario in your head, you’d realize that he is Miss Red’s younger uncle and my brother.
[Let me answer your questions: No, he doesn’t feel like a brother (but we could look alike one day since he is the *spitting* image of my dad as a child and I can sometimes look like my dad, depending on who you ask); Yes, he’s the happiest kid I have ever met; Yes, he and Miss Red adore one another.]
We met up to celebrate my dad’s birthday, but as we’ve come to realize after having a child, nothing, especially traveling, is easy with a child and she is a good traveler. Hey, we were adventurous a year ago when we all went to Japan, but going more than 30 minutes away is no joke. I love kids’ concept of time. We pulled into a gas station a half mile away from our house and she said, “are we there already?” It reminded me of when we pulled into long-term parking at O’Hare for our Japan trip and Miss Red said, “‘Dis Japan?” and I thought, “Uh oh.”
So we packed the car with the portable DVD player, DVDs, new books and toys from my mom, and snacks. Always snacks.
We headed to the Shedd Aquarium in the afternoon and the kids ran around. I had my own moment of feeling grown up when I realized that the tank in the center of the building seemed smaller than I had remembered it as a child.
At the end of the day we got back into the car, wrappers and garbage from the morning trip spilling out of the door as I opened it, I feared what I knew to be true – that Miss Red would not fall asleep on the drive home. No amount of DVDs could soothe her in the Belvidere Oasis when even she reported that she couldn’t stop crying. Home at 10:30 p.m., we were all ready to collapse into sobbing heaps.
Kids have this beautiful advantage of expressing their feelings. See that kid rolling around the airport floor? See that kid crying at the restaurant? See that kid laughing and running away from their parent? They’re just doing what you wish you could.