We took Chicago by storm last weekend. Me, driving down early Thursday morning to meet my love, kids safely wrapped up in Nana and Papa's arms. Dan texting me every few miles to see if I was there yet. Me texting back this picture looking cross-eyed without my glasses and offering proof that I had arrived and was happily perusing the shelves of Container Store, where I always find four hundred and seven things I didn't know I couldn't live without until that very second. Things like bandaid holders and chip clips. Things without which, my home would surely fall apart. There are no pictures of the next 24 hours as they were spent hoofing it from one place to the next, trying to cram it all in before nanny's white chariot delivered the Smalls on Friday afternoon.
And deliver them it did, amidst fast food packages and their goodies bags with a crisp bill to spend and new goggles for the pool. And we immediately set off for the glass overlook at the John Hancock building. Only the glass overlook is in the Willis Tower. But we didn't find that out until we'd paid eighty bucks, so we made the best of looking out of plain glass windows in a really tall building, our ears still popping from the ride up. And it kicked off a sweet weekend together.
The next time we go to Chicago (and we hope there will be a next time), we will come better prepared. We will remember the faces and we will talk about Jesus and what a walk down the Magnificent Mile with him would look like. There will be extra warmish things packed into our suitcases. Things like hats and mittens and thick socks and blankets and jars of peanut butter. And, hopefully, there will be the perspective that must-see lists have to give way to must-serve lists. Have to. That in the kingdom scheme of things, visits to American Girl stores are not precious, but filling empty seats in heaven is. Doing the eternal work of blessing a brother or sister with a pair of soft mittens and, in doing so, letting them know that they aren't invisible, that we see them, that is the stuff of the good life. And I don't want to suck all the fun out of a special weekend (it is so good to get away sometimes), but there can be a better balance than the one we just struck with our family in Chicago. And next time we'll be better prepared for it. So, this is me asking Chicago to put up your dukes. Because the next time the Vos family invades your city, we will be armed better with compassion and time and stuff. And we'll still take the girls to see the dolls and the boys to ooh and ahh over the life sized Lego creations, but we'll do kingdom work too. And if that means that we buy less, then so be it. Either way, we'll be bringing home some wicked cool souvenirs.
This is me being real. And wondering if you ever get to the big city with you family. And if so, how do you do it? This is me signing off because even though the clock reads 10:38, my body is telling me it's 11:38, which is way past my time. Goodnight friends.