Sunday, August 31, 2014

The big reveal

We arrived at Aunt Linda's with pop and pizza. We all chatted about random things while we waited for Brooke, Alex (aka Ally), Clark and Kayleigh to arrive. Aunt Linda made a nice vegetable salad and a peach/raspberry salad to go with the pizza. We started eating dinner before the others arrived.  I wanted to make sure the girls ate before they went to the concert. The girls chatted as they ate their pizza and salads.

When Brooke, Alex, Clark and Kayleigh arrive it was about 5:20 p.m. The girls finished eating, which was perfect because we were starting to run out of time -- even though they didn't know it yet. We were chatting about shopping when I asked Brooke if she had any plans. She said no. I handed her an envelop that said Merry Christmas. I handed the girls an envelop that said Happy Birthday. Both opened their envelopes.

Brooke and Alex were so excited. Both had huge smiles on their faces. Our girls just looked at the print-outs. Rather than the screams I expected, they looked confused. The blond twin said something about not knowing what was on the paper. Brooke read it to her. Both girls started to understand, but neither really got it yet. We chatted about some details and sped off with a flurry of hugs and kisses. We left Aunt Linda with a big mess of dishes and empty containers.

We drove to the concert, but traffic was a mess. About a mile from Soldier Field, the four girls and I got out of the car in the middle of Columbus Drive. We made our way over to the lakefront, leaving Daddy to get out of traffic and park the car.

As we walked over, the girls still weren't sure about the tickets. The blond twin asked if they really had seats. The brunette twin told me that it would be really mean if we were just walking Brooke and Alex to the concert and they didn't get to go too. I explained that they were really going. They smiled, but didn't commit to being excited.

I left them in front of the Field Museum. There was a stream of girls and their family/friends heading towards the concert. I walked back to meet Daddy at Buckingham Fountain. I couldn't stop smiling as I walked back. I hoped the girls started smiling when they realized they were actually going to the concert.

Daddy and I wandered the South Loop. We stopped by Chicago Summer Dance to watch people dancing to various country songs. People had picnics set-up; parents danced with children; couples danced together. We marveled that this free event took place right on Michigan Avenue. We walked through a couple of hotel lobbies just to see what was going on. We ended up at a trendy diner, just sitting outside having desert. The waiter said the place was filled with girls the past two nights. He couldn't believe that One Direction could sell out two 65,000 seat shows.

We were close enough that we could have heard the crowd roar when One Direction took the stage. We heard the roar at the end of the 5 Seconds of Summer opening act performance. We waited and waited, but never heard the roar. We decided to walk over to Soldier Field and see what was going on.

I knew there would be action near Soldier Field, but never imagined how crowded it would be. The Field Museum's north steps were the parent waiting room. Hundreds of people sat on the steps waiting for their children (ok, their daughters). We walked up the hill to find another parent staging area. As we found a spot on the grass, we heard the roar and then saw the fireworks. There were lots of fireworks throughout the show.

After a while we left the grassy hill and wandered down towards Lake Michigan. We saw hundreds of limousines staged for departure. We saw dozens of bike "cabs" waiting for the show to end. There were police officers trying to keep everything running smoothly. We wandered towards a souvenir stand and started talking to three women buying stuff. They said they just met that evening. Two were from West Virginia. One was from southern Indiana. They decided to hang out together while their girls were at the concert. They did a little lakefront sightseeing together.

We settled on the Field Museum steps for the last eight songs. We started seeing families with young girls coming out early. A woman behind us said, "There's no way our girls would leave early." I thought the same thing, but our girls were older than these little girls. We saw the fireworks signaling the show's end and started heading towards our meeting place.

Alex wore a dress she referred to as "construction cone orange." It was that bright and noticeable. We were just starting to move from the Field Museum steps when I saw her dress. I said, "There go the girls" and we were off. A block later we were all together. Alex laughed when I told her that I spotted her dress.

Our girls were wide-eyed. They had so many fun stories as we walked to the car. They kept saying thank you and telling us it was the best birthday present ever. They wore the t-shirts Grammie bought them. Brooke and Alex were smiling and chatting about the concert. They all had a great time.

We dropped off Brooke and Alex before heading home. The girls fell asleep in the car before we made it home at 1:00 a.m. We're sure to hear more stories tomorrow and for days to come.

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