As my kids get older, they live many of their new life experiences apart from the family. He goes to a friend’s Bar Mitzvah. She flies to Minneapolis for a debate tournament. She goes to a play with her class at school. This is part of growing up – building their very own life portfolios – and I am grateful for all of the experiences they get to add, even if I am not included in them.
That being said, I feel that it is very important for the family album of great adventures to stay up to date as well. There is magic in experiencing something for the very first time. And when you share that with someone, a little string of kinship joins you together. This is the number one reason I love planning and executing family vacations. When my children are grown and tell their children about seeing the big trees of Sequoia, their siblings and their parents will be part of that story, permanent characters in some of their greatest adventures.
Unfortunately, big family vacations only come around once a year, if that. And though we cherish the little parts of everyday, the small moments – the walks to school, the family dinners, the conversations in the car – I still want to share new adventures together. It gets harder and harder to carve out time away from school, work, sports, and friends – to find a day, or even a few hours, when all five of us are free.
The stars aligned on Friday. School was out. Charlie didn’t have afternoon meetings. And I had won tickets to the Skydeck. (Thanks, Melisa).
We’ve lived in the Chicago area for three years now and have visited many of its top attractions. But none of us had yet experienced the Skydeck in its current form. I came to the Sears Tower* in 1987 during my freshman year of high school.
But you couldn’t do this back then.
When I returned from my class trip to Chicago back in high school, I told my mom that I wanted to get married at the top of the Sears Tower. That didn’t happen. But I feel this tops any wedding photo that ever could have been.
Upon exiting the elevator, back on solid ground, Charlie hopped on his bike and headed back to work. The kids and I wandered around the city a bit until our train departed. All totaled, it was only a couple of hours together. But, someday, years from now, the kids will say,
“Remember that time Dad did a handstand in the Skydeck of the Sears Tower?”
And they will all smile together at the memory. That is my hope.
* For you information, I am fully aware that it is now called The WIllis Tower, but since it was the Sears Tower when I made my first visit, it forever shall be.