Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thirteenth Birthday

For my sister's thirteenth birthday, my dad surprised her by taking her on a trip to Chicago. It waw just the two of them. And get this- they traveled by airplane. It was her first airplane ride, because my mom is terrified of flying. We didn't take too many big trips as kids, just our annual trip to Florida. The Chicago trip was a BIG DEAL.

My dad then continued on the tradition- all three of us got to spend our thirteenth birthday on plane to Chicago, running around the city and then flying back home.

When it was my turn, I was so excited I could hardly sleep the night before. I could not believe I was actually going to get to FLY ON AN AIRPLANE. Nearly all of my friends had flown dozens of times, but not me. I was a little scared, but for the most part I think I was just amazed at how planes worked. The flight only took about 45 minutes, tops. Chicago isn't too far from Detroit, especially when flying the friendly skies.

When we arrived, my dad ushered me through the airport and toward downtown Chicago. We hit up the aquarium, Hard Rock Cafe, Garret's Popcorn, Navy Pier, and this one place that I can't remember, but it was a lot like a Dave and Busters.

But the best, and I mean the BEST part, was the American Girl Place.

I had been an avid American Girl fan most of my childhood. I had a few of the dolls courtesy of my Grandma, read all the books again and again, and had a collection of outfits. I could not WAIT to go to the American Girl Place.

My dad and I first went to the store, and he let me pick out a new outfit for my dolls back at home.  Then we bought tickets for a play in their theatre. I think that the play highlighted each American Girl and told her story. I don't remember. I just remember my dad was the only male in the room. And I was so happy that he was right there next to me as I enjoyed every moment.

It was the best birthday gift I've ever gotten from my parents, and the time I got to spend with my dad was truly special.  I don't know if I realized at the time how lucky I was to get such a cool birthday gift, but I do now. It beats any Sweet Sixteen party they show on MTV these days.

What's the best birthday you've ever had?


Susan Gourley/Kelley said... Add Reply

That sounds like a perfect day. Your dad is a special guy.

Dee @ A Deecoded Life said... Add Reply

What a coincidence, I was just eating Garrett popcorn. It's popular here too.

Wow your birthday was so special! I can feel your happiness about it from reading how you describe it. Bless your dad for giving you kids this wonderful gift and memory. :)


Samantha May said... Add Reply

American Girl store? I think at nineteen, I would still be psyched to go in there :D

My mom always went all out with our birthday parties, even if we couldn't really afford them. My 8th birthday party was at Build-A-Bear and let me tell you, that is NOT cheap.

The woman is a saint :)

Grover said... Add Reply

I think my 21st was probably my favourite. It was my last year at university, so by that time my housemates knew my family pretty well and we all just had a great evening together - drinking, chatting, laughing and karaoke-ing :D

Anonymous said... Add Reply

You and your siblings are so lucky to have a dad like that!


Unknown said... Add Reply

How sweet! I so want to do this kind of thing for my kids. I'll probably go for the 13th bday too. My cousin takes his nephews on big trips to Europe for their 12th or 13th birthdays. Crazy cool. Wish he'd take me on a trip like that.

My favorite birthday was ALL OF THEM! I love birthdays way too much because they are all about me. I rather enjoyed my big 31st birthday a couple weeks ago. Tons of people came to my party (about 40). Wonderful times.

Anonymous said... Add Reply

While I haven't really celebrated a birthday in many years, your post makes me wish I had such family and friends nearby to so indulge me. In lieu of such blessings, I live vicariously off your fine post. Nicely done. Many thanks.

Shari said... Add Reply

American Girl Dolls! I LOVED them. I still have my Molly, Kirsten, and Girl of Today somewhere. What a fun and special birthday trip you had! How sweet is your dad to arrange that for all three of you? :)

Kimberly Gabriel said... Add Reply

What a great story! I live in Chicago - it's such a fun place. ;)

Kinley Dane said... Add Reply

Wow, what an awesome dad. I was impressed just that he took you to the American Girl store, but that he actually watched an American Girl play with you...what a guy.

I confess, as a very grown adult, I would kind of like to visit that American Girl store :)

dayebydaye said... Add Reply

Oh, girl! You're speaking one of my love languages!!! I love celebrating others and giving them their best-day-ever! We just celebrated my girl's 10th birthday with an Amer. Girl party. It was delightful!
And Chicago... sigh! One of my favorite cities- lived there for 11 years- so many memories!
My best bday was when my son was 8 months old and I hadn't slept through the night that entire time. My husband took me out for dinner and when we arrived home at 9:30, he gave me a gift- which was a book and a card. In the card, he told me that I was going to a B and B- by MYSELF!!! It was such a shock and absolutely delightful- I read the whole book and slept for the first time in 8 months. Unforgettable!

Anonymous said... Add Reply

I can't recall ever getting to go all out for my birthday parties, but that's the suck of a birthday so close to Christmas in a multi-child poor family, yeah?

I didn't know about American Girl when I was younger, but I know now and wouldn't mind a visit. I like what they do. Regardless, however much time has passed, I could feel the excitement still in this post. Thanks for transporting me there with you, it was an awesome memory to (re)visit!