For kids a perfect day doesn’t have to be perfect

I like to take the kids to Millenium Park to splash in Crown Fountain every year. It’s a fun and uniquely Chicago thing to do on a warm summer day, but this year the season had slipped by. Suddenly it was Labor Day weekend, and we hadn’t been to Crown Fountain yet. We decided to go on Saturday. We went, but it wasn’t what I pictured. That turned out to be okay.

The weather called for scattered showers. It had been raining in the morning but had stopped. The sun had come out. The hour-by-hour forecast seemed to indicate that there was only a low chance of precipitation until the afternoon.

But first we had to enroll my son in swim class, which took longer than expected. By the time we were ready to go the clouds had returned. It was cloudy but not raining. I tweeted my hope that the rain would hold off.

Sadly the weather must not follow me on Twitter because halfway down Lake Shore Drive it began to pour. My husband suggested we change our plan. The displeasure from the backseat was immediate. We drove on.

As we parked on Columbus the rain had mostly let up. A few drops were still falling. My son said, “That’s okay. Swimmies work for rain too.”

He had a point. It does seem a tad illogical to call off a plan to get wet because it is raining. We proceeded to the park.

When we arrived at our destination my heart sank. A sign announced that Crown Fountain was undergoing maintenance. It seemed the rain was not our only obstacle.

Crown Fountain Maintenance

Luckily, the maintenance only impacted the projections of the faces for which Crown Fountain was known. The water was still on. Splashing was still possible.

My kids didn’t care that it was raining. My kids didn’t care that the monoliths to either side of them were plain glass blocks rather than playful projections of faces. All they cared about was running and splashing and having a great time.

I was glad the kids were having fun. That was the point of the outing. The only problem was that unlike our children my husband and I were not wearing swimsuits and did not have dry changes of clothes in the backpack. We didn’t even have a decent umbrella, only a half broken one that happened to be in the back of the car. So when it started to rain harder than a sprinkle we definitely wanted the outing to end.

The kids didn’t want to leave. Despite the rain. Despite the lack of high tech public art. They were having fun.

Out of wet and chilly desperation I persuaded them to go with the promise of lunch at what my son refers to as a “restronaut.” The sandwiches I had packed for a presumed picnic could be saved for the next day.

The kids enjoyed their lunchtime pancakes at Hamburger Mary’s. I enjoyed my $3 mimosa.

By the time we were done eating it had stopped raining. On the way back to the car we spotted the Puppet Bike. We stopped to watch the show. My kids laughed at the puppets, danced at the music, and happily handed over their tips.

Puppet Bike

It wasn’t the sunny day at Millenium Park that I had planned, but it was still a pretty perfect day.

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