Every summer when I was growing up in New Hampshire my parents would load all of us up in their Suburban and make the trek to Maryland to visit my Dad’s family. Now that I am a parent I honestly cannot imagine taking on an eight hour drive like that with 6 kids, no portable dvd players and I’m pretty sure we didn’t even have air conditioning. It was always hot, and there was always standstill traffic on the interstate. We were loaded to the gills with bikes, coolers, clothes and toys. But, once we arrived at my grandparent’s house, it felt like coming home, and we knew that it was officially summer. Oblivious to the challenges that our parents faced, we spent two blissful weeks riding our bikes, playing with cousins, going for walks, visiting the family farm, attending the fourth of July picnic, eating ice cream and just plain being spoiled by our grandparents.
And so it goes with our family. Doug’s parents and siblings are all located in the Chicago area and we try to visit every year to spend time with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We descend upon his parent’s house with our noise and chaos but they always make us feel at home and the visits are always so special. I know that this is the highlight of our children’s summer and it warms my heart to watch them build special “grandparent” memories just like I had.
A couple of weeks ago we made our annual visit. We spent our time riding bikes, visiting family and friends, going to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, seeing the Brookfield Zoo, swimming, playing games, visiting Great America, eating delicious food (Doug’s mom is a fantastic chef), and celebrating missed birthdays. The kids took bubble baths, stayed up past bedtime, caught fireflies, and crashed in bed every night. All in all, it was a very memorable week and nobody wanted to leave. Thank you to our Midwest family for making our trip so special. It is now officially summer and it is as enchanting as I ever remember.