The first post I wrote for WORLDMag.com went live the day I took my oldest daughter (newly 10 at the time) to Chicago for some intentional mommy/daughter time. This past weekend, I had the privilege of taking my second daughter (herself now newly 10) to the same city for a similar experience.
All along I tried to plan some different things for us to do so the trip wouldn't feel like an exact replica of the one I took with her older sister. Some things were the same because I'm the same and default to what I know and am comfortable with, which, in Chicago, is pretty limited.
But while I was more or less the same person on the first trip, the thing I had to keep reminding myself was my second daughter was not. The things she thinks about, the things that make her tick, the things she will remember from this weekend are altogether different from what my oldest daughter remembers.
It helped that the time of year was different. My oldest and I spent as much time indoors as possible as it was December, but this trip was marked by all the things outside: boat ride on Lake Michigan, Ferris wheel at Navy Pier, Cubs game at Wrigley Field.
For this girl, who can almost always be found in some remote corner of our house halfway through whatever book she can find, the trip was very necessary, as she is usually content to watch life pass from a distance. For me to say to her that I wanted three days alone with just her was pretty big, and this primarily introverted 10-year-old hardly stopped talking from the time we got on our bus at 5:40 a.m. on Friday until the time we got off the train at 8:39 p.m. on Sunday.
It takes a lot of effort to pull off an event like this, particularly when the rest of the family is left to fend for themselves for that span of time. But on this side of it, I know how important it was and I don't for a second regret it. I'm looking forward to when my third daughter and I get to go, and then my fourth.
I'm thankful to be the mother of these four girls. And more than just a once-in-a-childhood weekend trip to Chicago, I want to find moments of individual intentionality with them on a daily basis. These relationships are so worth it.