Note: This column was published in the Barrow Journal on July 3, 2013.
We weren’t planning to make any trips this summer, but life threw us a curveball recently when my mother-in-law got into a very bad car accident. Thankfully she’s okay, but my in-laws needed a little help and a lot of cheering up, so one morning we decided we needed to come to Chicago, and the next morning we left for our all-day journey to the Windy City.
I’m still waiting for the day when my husband will decide we’re too old to make the trip in one day, but I realize that day will probably never come. We had such a short time to get ready that we decided to take not only our dogs, which we always take, but our cat too. Yes, you can call us crazy. Besides not wanting to inconvenience anyone, she’s a sociable cat who hates being left alone. At least that’s what I’m telling myself as she sleeps contentedly beside me in Chicago.
Our boys travel like angels and only whine if they get too hungry, so we do our best to avoid that. We let them watch DVDs on the drive up, but one movie and a few shows doesn’t pass a 15 hour drive quickly enough. We were all exhausted and ready for bed when we arrived.
Luckily my husband works from home, so he was able to bring his office with him. He’s been busy dealing with work matters as well as helping his parents with insurance matters, purchasing a car and doctor’s appointments.
My poor father-in-law was given another blow tonight when his water boiler broke and spilled water all over the basement floor. As the darkness covers the sky, two neighbors and my husband are helping him try to solve that problem. Sometimes when it rains it pours.
Though my boys may be too little to fully understand what’s happening – for them it’s all adventure – I’m glad they’re here as we act out some of the family values we’re trying to teach them. It’s our job to help each other when we’re able to. Families need to stick together.
It’s something I value very much about my Polish in-laws and extended family. When push comes to shove, they all stick together. It doesn’t mean everyone always gets along perfectly, but no one ever shuts anyone else out.
While we can’t exactly call this a vacation, we decided we would have some fun too. Since we live in rural Barrow County, it’s a big treat for me to be here awhile with the grocery stores, fruit market and other amenities within a five-minute drive.
In fact, I can’t get used to it, and while shopping with my mother-in-law, I rushed her through it because we forgot a cooler and “oh the ice cream is going to melt on the way home!” When I remembered that we were five minutes from home, I understood the strange look I got for that!
There are two parks within walking distance to my in-laws house, and I’m not sure who enjoys walking to them more – me or my boys. There’s also a wonderful library a few blocks away, and it’s almost enough to make me want to move to the city. But don’t worry — it won’t take long for me to miss our large yard, garden and sparse traffic.
On Saturday we visited the Chicago Botanical Garden, and we spent a long time in their butterfly habitat, which seemed like a perfect conclusion to our experience of raising butterflies. We also had a mission to find the carnivorous plants, which is my six-year-old’s latest interest and quickly becoming his next project. He told me he wants to grow them at home, so stay tuned for our adventures with that!
We will go to at least one museum while we’re here and visit with family, but we’ll be happy to return to Georgia, our friends, summer camps, and lazy summer afternoons where we’ll be too far away from anything to bother with the shopping or other errands.
FYI We are home now!