Goodbyes suck. Whether it be saying goodbye to family or loved ones, goodbye to precious time (like when mayhem happens to your modem), or goodbye to seasons, there’s just no eloquent way of putting how much goodbyes suck. You’d think after having more moves in my life than I’ve had birthdays, I’d be used to saying goodbye, but I’m convinced that I handle goodbyes more immaturely the older I get.
Along with every other calendar-abiding American, I was told to bid the summer farewell on September 21st. I wasn’t even given a choice in the matter. I think most two-year-olds handle being told it’s say goodnight and go to bed better than I handled being told it was time to say goodbye to the season.
I spent the last week of September in a state of melancholic funk. I reminisced and pouted as I wrote my first Best Of Summer post. I started lists of adventures I missed out on this summer that would have to be carried over to next summer’s to do list. And I drank iced coffee. Outside. While wearing gloves. Just to stick it to the fall. (Yes, I’m two years old.)
I felt somewhat validated in my childish response when my friend recently posted this quote on his Tumblr:
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?” — Robert Frost, Reluctance
Feeling a little more justified in my lack of acceptance of the end of the summer, I’ll share a couple of the many adventures that made this summer hard to say goodbye to.
Best Outdoor Adventure: Cantigny
Cantigny is a 500-acre park in Wheaton, Illinois that I recently explored with B. The park was originally the estate of Colonel McCormick, who had served in the First Division of the United States Army during World War I. McCormick had left the estate to some fancy foundation, asking that it be transformed into a historical memorial and used for public enjoyment.
If Colonel McCormick could have followed Brock around as he explored his estate, I think he would have been satisfied with his decision to donate the park for public enjoyment.
This FREE park boasts the world’s largest collection of military tanks and artillery. There isn’t much I can think of that evokes a five year old boy’s enjoyment (or imagination) more than military tanks that are about 27,000% the size of the tanks he usually sets up with his little army men in his bedroom.
And there are no people walking around trying to ensure our safety with silly rules like, “DO NOT CLIMB”. So we climbed.
I mean, what little boy is really concerned about his safety when in the presence of REAL LIVE TANKS anyway?!
After a convincing argument (which included promises of handling guns), I was able to talk Brock into climbing down and joining me on a tour of one of the two museums on the grounds. One of the museums is the McCormick Mansion, which is the humble 35-room house that the McCormick’s lived in. I wasn’t feeling fancy enough to wander the halls of Downton Abbey, so we ventured over to The First Division Museum. This museum tracks the division of the army that Colonel McCormick served in. (Cantigny was the name McCormick chose for the estate after the Battle of Cantigny.)
The grounds that are scattered among the army tanks aren’t too shabby either.
In the 5 hours we spent at Cantigny, we didn’t make it to the McCormick Mansion, the “idea gardens” (which I love the idea of–bahaha), or through half of the tank park. Needless to say, if you go, make a day of it. The park also offers demonstrations, lectures, and performances among other educational pleasantries, so be sure to check out their calendar when planning your trip!
The best part of this historically rich wonderland? After the $5 parking fee, the museums and parks are all FREE!
Best Indoor Adventure: Japan
Brock and I play the plane game at dinner a lot. In our dining room, we face a wall map while eating. We choose a place to fly to for dinner tonight, and then talk about that country and enjoy their cuisine in the style their culture eats in.
Some days, though, when we have done our chores for the day and are feeling particularly rich with that one dollar allowance we’ve earned, we decide to just go ahead and jump on the plane and go to Japan for dinner instead of pointing to it on our map. It takes us approximately 15 minutes to get there.
I’m told Mitsuwa is the largest Japanese marketplace in North America, with 15 different store fronts, including grocery, book, beauty supply, video and, of course, food court options. We peruse the market first. We play guessing games among the fresh fish and vegetables. We walk through the snack aisles and talk about our favorite candies. Then we make our way to the food court for dinner.
After dinner, we occasionally grab some dessert, and a movie and head home for a “Japan Party” (which is what Brock calls “pajama parties”).
Having had lots of practice saying goodbye, I know that closure is an important thing. For that reason, this post was important to me (evidently more imporant than sleep). Now that the summer has been properly closed, I’m ready for fall. And ready to switch over to hot coffee. Without pouting.
(*Disclaimer: I should probably remind you that summer is only one of my three favorite seasons. Fall is on the top of that list of three favorites. If you thought this was a dramatic response to the changing seasons, wait until you see the closure I need when I say goodbye to fall! It tends to read more like an obituary than a whiny blog post. And it’s twice as long. 😉 )