One night last week I was shuffling through some of my stuff in a bag that was next to that vent after I'd put the girls to bed. Hadley strolled in the room, but instead of looking at me, she was looking at the vent.
"What's up?" I asked her in a "you better have a good reason to be out of bed" voice. It's very menacing.
"I'm a...." she only half acknowledged me but continued to look at the vent.
"Well, I'm.....just wondering how you're doing."
"I'm doing fine, Hadley, go back to bed."
Hadley took one more look at the vent then walked back into my old bedroom to go to sleep. I went back to shuffling through my bag but because I was right by the vent, I heard Hadley's feet stop on the other side. I realized she had discovered that she could hear me through it.
Harper, on the other hand, discovered one of my bedroom windows. Every night, when she was supposed to be sleeping, I found her kneeling on her bed, lookng out of that window. When I walked in to tell her to go to sleep, she'd say, "It's getting wate (late), Momma." I agreed with her and glanced out the window to notice that Harper was watching the sky turn darker shades of blue. I wondered if she was listening to the el shoot past as well, and if it lulled her to sleep like it had me.
If you were to ask Hadley and Harper what their favorite part of the trip was, or where their favorite spot in my parents' house is, I am sure they would not mention the vent and the window. I have a feeling they'd mention with shouts that they loved going to see the dinosaurs,
and the zoo.
I liked all those trips as well. However, watching my girls discover and enjoy something that I enjoyed from my childhood was my favorite part.
We can show them the Chicago skyline, walk over the bridges over the Eisenhower and tell them not to be afraid of the rickety whoosh of the trains. We can show them museums, take them swimming and out for ice-cream. All great things. But I think what's most important is that we provide our kids with a safe place to explore. It's nice when we share a common joy in finding a treasure in an otherwise everyday item.