Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Opposite of School

My friend and I took our daughters to the Chicago Botanic Garden on Monday, since it was Columbus Day, and that means Chicago public schools have the day off. It’s so gorgeous up there in Glencoe. My friend is a talented gardener and I keep trying to be one, so an afternoon among the gardens was inspirational for the two of us. But it was therapeutic for our three six-graders. It was better than a field trip. They could move at their own pace.

We didn’t arrive until noon—my girls were outside playing and riding their scooters all morning (while they waited for their friend to wake up). We arrived hungry, with the intention of eating at the cafĂ©, but it was packed, so we had to come up with Plan B. No problem! On the way to the Railroad Garden, the girls plotted out an efficient, ambitious route on the map.

They guided us to the Circle Garden, where they ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the water lilies and threw some pennies in the water. When it got too hot, they stomped in a fountain. Then they led us through the “awesome” bonsai garden (and it is awesome), before deciding it was time to eat. We grabbed sandwiches, and ate outside on the deck; and they loved hanging over the edge, looking into the water. They gathered up their crusts and ran off to feed the huge fish. For 45 minutes. Then we walked to the Waterfall Garden, and at the bottom, they sat and watched a mallard duck dip halfway under water—with his butt up in the air—as he searched for food. The girls smelled every different colored rose in the Rose Garden. In the Japanese Garden, they jumped up and down and waved their arms wildly to signal to us to come see the heron—10 feet away.

Of all the flowers in the garden, those three girls were the most beautiful.

Originally posted on Chicago Moms Blog.

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