Yesterday I had one of the best days with my family in a long time. My adult children (women) and grandchildren took a day trip to Chicago to see the American Girl Store. It was the best day because we worked together to plan the trip but then let it flow naturally. The relaxed ease was such a time to connect on a soul level with everyone.
It is interesting how as a grandparent I value the differences in each grandchild. Seeing them in ‘explore’ mode was so heart warming. I was surprised that all my grandchildren including an 18 month old felt safe enough to stand on the sky deck of the Sears tower. I watched as each made that decision in a unique way. Some just ‘did it’---no thought, no worries, no indecision. Others thought about and weighed the pros and cons. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, they took the step to the magnificent view. Others held to the others in the group and let go of the inhibitions that usually hold us older people back. It was so cool to watch each child struggle with their inner voice to walk or not yet each decided to explore in the end.
The day was so rich with relationship building by making group choices about what we wanted to do to fill an open day with adventures. We had made plans and done our research but in the end, we made new choices as a group.
Starting with a train ride to Chicago instead of driving gave us all an opportunity to talk, laugh and play together! The plans we originally made were tweaked upon arrival when we found interesting things to do, look at, touch and eat on our adventure. It was heartwarming to hear what each child’s (big and small) attention was drawn to in the busy streets of Chicago.
Somehow the confines of a train car force the conversation and appreciation of the countryside. I found out that my 9 year old grandson loves to cook. I learned that my 6 year old granddaughter can contort her face in unimaginable ways. I saw my 7 year old grandson read a 3 grade chapter book with ease. The day brought a new understanding and closeness to all of us. I can’t wait to plan another adventure-----and I have lots of ideas from my entire family.
Beyond the fun and nurturing we all found in the day, I think the kids have strengthened their ‘adventure’ capacity. They learned not only to have fun as a group but to take chances and follow their curiosity---now that’s a skill that will last a lifetime.