The best part of travel is always the experience that is unplanned. The thing that you think will be great is never the thing that is most memorable. (Like, it’s not the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but the pizza vendor near the tourist attraction!)
Yesterday, the kids had the most fun of their lives sliding in their winter coats on some long wooden couch/bench at the Hilton Hotel lobby. (I did my usual thing of walking away from them, muttering, “Whose kids are those?”)
The sliding bench in the lobby was almost as fun at the dollhouse tucked into the children’s room at the Harold Washington Library.
We met my mother in the airy atrium on the top floor of the library and she took us on a tour. She could be a professional tour guide for the city of Chicago, unlocking secrets hidden in plain sight. She showed us site-specific
On my happiness list, the last item is “Embrace uncertainty.” And the second to the last? “Live every day as if it were your last.” These are hard to follow because I love making lists and planning my day.
There was one day, three or four years ago, when the darlings, Josie and I were in Italy for Thanksgiving and we had absolutely no plans. We followed the Improv rule, “Accept every offer.” If someone suggested we stop somewhere, that’s where we went. We chased a ball in a church courtyard for a long time.
We got lost in Venice. Someone said, “Let’s stop at that pizza place.” We did. We ate pizza under a bridge.
Then someone pointed to a boat and said, “Oh those clementines look good.” So we bought clementine oranges off of a boat. The kids tried to peel the clementines in one peel so you could hold them back together again and they’d look whole. They were the best clementines ever.
Then the kids wanted to spend hours feeding the pigeons in St. Mark’s Square. But I took a break with a cappuccino at a café off the square. When the waiter delivered my coffee in the white china cup, there, in the frothy milk, was a heart.
When I let go of my agenda, things surprised and pleased me — things I didn’t even think were possible.
I had that list of Summer To Do things. And some of the things I’ve done and some I haven’t. And I’m not sure I’ll get to them today. After all, my last item is “Quit making lists.”
Update my resume
Get more help for Chris and household management
Research joining a writer’s room or applying for writer-in-residence program
Befriend new families in kids’ new Fall schools/classes
Prepare kids well for camp
Have a party while kids are at camp
Replace or do something about annoying kitchen cabinets