I’m originally from the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. While I spent a significant part of my adult life in Indiana, I have always considered Algonquin, Illinois home.
A good part of my family is still in that area, so we decided to take a fun old-fashioned family road trip from Orlando to Chicago to visit them this summer.
I have very fond memories of my Aunt Kelly and Uncle Bill’s house. Both in the woods and on the river, it is like this ideal getaway from the hubbub of our hectic lives. I can close my eyes and picture me, my sister and our cousins running deep in the forest, or wading into the river and I honestly worried about how my very indoor children would handle so much of the outside.
The first thing I did when we arrived was take my shoes off and walk barefoot in the northern grass. Our lawn in Florida was not made for barefeet. It’s sharp and vine like, hiding a pantheon of critters beneath its long stalks. My kids hate running in the grass because our grass sucks, but within moments of putting their own feet in the soft Midwest grass at my Aunt and Uncle’s, the kids shoes were off for the rest of the weekend.
We played in the sand, splashed in the water and it was amazing how quickly my indoor kids embraced the outside.
Maisy asked if she could go fishing. Parker and my cousins built sandcastles on the beach.
They caught fireflies, and butterflies.
They held hands and giggled on a ride of my Uncle’s speedboat along the river, before passing out in the boat’s cabin.
To quote one of my favorite movies, Juno, “I never realize how much I like being home unless I’ve been somewhere really different for a while.” Being back in the midwest made me realize so much I was missing, without even knowing I was missing it.
It was so amazing to see my family and we can’t wait to go back!