Last week, I introduced my kids to their new home in Chicago. I wanted the visit to go perfectly, wanted to sweep them off their feet and get them as excited as their parents for this new adventure. I began cheerleading from the moment we stepped off the plane, telling the kids about tall skyscrapers and a giant lake that looks like the ocean. Like a skilled PR hack, I steered clear of stories about wind and snow.
Our first day was spent scouting out the house and neighborhood. We practiced walking to school, sampled soft serve ice cream and corn dogs, and gave the playground a try. The unknown had been replaced by reality and the kids were delighted. They miraculously chose different bedrooms and spent the rest of the time spying on local kids from the porch, wondering aloud if they were looking at their future best friend. Spirits were high, and I was exceedingly proud of my ability to set the tone.
For the broader sightseeing portion of the trip, Navy Pier seemed like the idea destination. I imagined myself capturing award-winning shots of the kids staring slack-jawed at the dazzling Chicago skyline from the top of the Ferris Wheel. It was going to be the perfect finale to our quick intro visit.
After a quick drive in, auspiciously free of traffic, we found ourselves under the Ferris Wheel. And that’s when I realized that I’d forgotten one crucial detail in my master plan: Ferris wheels are high. Like, seriously high. 150 Feet high to be exact. I stood at the entrance, imagining crazy scenarios of one or more of my children plummeting to their death after their little hand slipped through mine, and I broke into a cold sweat. But even though I was terrified, the kids were game. I spent the entire 7 minute ride with a death grip on my squirmy 3 year old’s leg and never worked up the courage to take out my camera. The children, on the other hand, were amazed by the scintillating lake surface, wondering if I was mistaken and it wasn’t an ocean after all. When we jumped out of the car and my feet touched the ground, I almost cried with relief.
I hear that real Chicagoans avoid this tourist attraction like the plague. I can’t wait to become one! Our next sightseeing activity will take place on the ground, and be focused around food.