Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Peter loves Ravinia. Attending a concert at Ravinia Park tops his list of "favs". And incredibly, overall he is well behaved, for the most part....
When I decided that Peter might enjoy Ravinia, and tired of finding Peter sitters, I devised a plan. Peter and I would take the train to the concert park where we would meet my friends. The picnic supplies, food, blanket, and table were left in the hands of those who chose to drive some type of van or SUV in order to accommodate all the supplies. These supplies almost fit into one of those metal grocery carts that you sometime see a person of another generation pulling behind them following a trip to the grocery store. Knowing I would need to keep a close eye on Peter, I announced I would send my "part' with the van, and bring only Peter and our chairs on the train. Why did Peter and I take the train, because for Peter there is no other mode of transportation that brings sheer joy than the Metra. And the Metra drops one off right at the entrance to Ravinia.
The train ride to Ravinia went smooth, as Peter was quite entertained by the train experience. Anxiously awaiting the announcement of our destination, Peter was ready to jump as soon as the doors opened, and, in anticipation had gathered our belongings. Following the major leap off the train, even though Peter had no idea of his final destination, he maintained a 10 foot lead, and I, ignorant of my behavior, shouted for him to stay with me. He, of course, had no intention of listening to my pleas, went through the entrance without the ticket, and I explaining briefly about my situation... and please just let me go through, I need to find my son, in this one acre park that is now filled with thousands of people, got into the park and continued my search for Peter.
Having located Peter who did finally stop as he did not have a clue as where to go, we headed to our home for the next four hours. That would be an extremely large blanket filled with a table, chairs, people, food, and the coveted candle. Need the candle at Ravinia to light the table after the food has been consumed, and the music begins.
So Peter, now thinking he is in Nirvana, sat quietly, ate everything ounce of food that was packed for him, and when the symphony commenced, Peter reminded all of us in the Home to please be quiet and listen to the music. So under the sky filled with stars, we laid on our backs or sat in our collapsible chairs, breathed in the fresh air, and calmly listened to some version of Mozart. Really is Nirvana, a little space in time to relax in a atmosphere of music, candlelit tables and friends.
Feeling quite comfortable with how the evening was progressing, I was so proud of Peter who sat like an angel throughout the event. Hours later, the concert was ending and we, the train goers needed to head out to catch the only train headed north to reach our destination. Actually, there are two trains located outside the park, one heading south and one, situated on the other side of the tracks heading north.
Somewhere in Nirvana I forgot about the part where Peter really loves trains and really was only sitting patiently waiting for the concert to end, so he could ride that train again. At the first sign of the last song, the erupting claps, and the pleads to do an encore, Peter decided it was time to leave, and off he went. I, trying to disassemble the chairs, grabbing the pieces, and attempted to catch up with Peter who was now lost in the mass of those trying to get to the parking lot first, so they would not be caught in the parking lot of a traffic jam later. Fighting the crowds, and weakly apologizing for my behavior I ran as fast as I could. My fear, Peter would get on the same train that we disembarked, the train that would be filled to the brim and heading south. How could I get to him to tell him it was on the other side?
Approaching the tracks and seeing no sign of Peter, I conjured thoughts of Peter on the wrong train, thinking how would I find him, do I call 911, do I jump on that train and look for him? Panic slowly creeping in to all parts of my body.
I made a quick decision to check the other sides of the tracks and maybe, just maybe, and I do not know how, Peter would be on the right side of the train. Maneuvering across the tracks, running through the small spot of woods, and up the hill, I breathlessly approached the platform, praying all the way that Peter would be there. And miraculously there he stood, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the train. I counting my blessings that it had not arrived, because I knew he would board one of the many cars and I again would be at a loss.
How Peter knew...I do not know. How this ending did not turn into some disastrous event, I do not know. Peter happily boarded the train without a care in the world, I had just lost another ten years off my life from the momentary panic that had set in. Talking to know the story.
Did this event stop me from taking Peter to Ravinia. Nope! We just have one assigned to be glued to his hip post concert. It is their only job, they do not need to participate in any cleaning up of the momentary blanket home. Just stay close to Peter and follow him on the train, if necessary. It works!! And we can still enjoy a moment of Nirvana on a starry night.

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