My nephew, Alex, is five years old. He likes football, television, video games and camping in the basement with his dad. The last time he was at my house, he actually whined that he didn’t want to go home. They had to remind him that he was going to pitch the tent in the basement with Daddy that night. He also likes hotels.
I believe I wrote about the night, just over a year ago, when I took Alex to the Marriott Lincolnshire. We spent the night at the hotel and went to (five minutes) of the children’s theatre production of Aladdin the next morning. He hated the theatre, but still talks about “going on vacation” with Aunt Anne.
So I spoke with his mother, Becky, about taking another trip with him this summer. I wondered if he could do more than one night away from home. She was convinced that he could, but suggested that he was old enough to decide for himself. So she asked him:
Becky: Alex, would you like to go on vacation with Aunt Anne and stay at a hotel?
Becky: Would you like to go for one night or two nights? How many?
Alex: (thinking for a second) Five nights!
The next weekend, I was at their house, before the Chicago Slaughter game. I had him take out his atlas and we sat down to decide where we might go. I’d been thinking Indianapolis, but was kind of jazzed about negotiating with the boy.
We found Chicago on the map. I used his grandparents’ home, near Galena, as the benchmark. I pointed to it and said:
“That is where Grandma and Grandpa live. That is three hours in the car.”
We talked about St. Louis, Milwaukee and Indianapolis. I even asked if he wanted to take a train and spend the weekend in Chicago. He said:
“But I’ve already been to Chicago.”
We were leaning toward Indy. Then he asked about Michigan. I pointed to Ann Arbor:
Me: OK, Alex. Here is Ann Arbor. That is where the Wolverines play. Aunt Bev lives there, so we could see her, too. But Ann Arbor is five hours in the car. That’s pretty far. Indianapolis is only three hours, like going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
Alex: But it would make Aunt Bev so happy.
By the end of the conversation, we hadn’t made a decision. But I’m thinking I’d better call Aunt Bev, just in case.