I realize that you can no more pick your parents thank you can pick your children. But I have to say I definitely hit the jackpot when I was blessed with my daughter and I would like to think she feels the same about me (keeping my fingers crossed). She is imaginative, funny, intelligent and breathtakingly beautiful, both inside and out (yes, sweetheart, you are!)…did I mention modest?! Putting up with me should alone earn her the ultimate celebration. However, she has earned it is too many other ways to enumerate.
Assuming money is no object, for this celebration I would secretly invite all of her friends, asking them to block out at least 10 days. They would have to all make sure they had a passport so advanced notice would be needed. After all, an undertaking of this magnitude does not happen overnight! I would charter a private plane to take all of us to our destination. Naturally, it would be a surprise for my daughter – this is especially important because I have a tendency to telegraph what I am up to in order to make sure she won’t be disappointed. However, for this adventure, I have no doubt in my mind it will exceed her wildest dreams!
The evening before we are to depart, I will make sure that a couple of her friends keep her out late so I can pack up her suitcase and whatnot for our trip. By the time she gets home, I know she’ll pass out and sleep well into the morning. It is essential that she is well rested by the time I need her to surface. I’ll conveniently lay out some clothes for her and, under the guise that she and I are going to go to check out a new book store (her favorite), I will lure her out of the house and into the car, where I will have already hidden our luggage. Then it is off to O’Hare to meet up with all of her friends.
Although this will be a tremendous surprise for her, the best is yet to come. Needless to say, none of us will be telling her where we are headed. Would it not just kill to you knowing everyone knows what’s up but you! Despite it being a really long flight from Chicago, the kids feeding off their respective energy and ensure there is no lull in the fun and, like any one of their previous gatherings, it will be filled with silly games, singing, dancing and, if I know my daughter, video games! Before we know it, we will have landed and the second leg of our journey will begin.
Okay, so, by now you are wondering where we are, right? I would say ever since the middle of middle school, my daughter has been captivated, nay, obsessed with all things Anime, not the least of which being Japanese culture. In fact, it has profoundly inspired her to the point where she is currently working towards her degree in animation. More than anything, she has wanted to visit Japan and experience first-hand all of things she has, thus far, only experienced through the ten million graphic novels and whatnot that adorn her room.
While I applaud and encourage her enthusiasm, I, personally, am more interested in Japan from a photographer’s perspective, hence the idea to being along her friends. What better way for her to enjoy this adventure than with her friends! I will be there to document it. The trickiest part of it all, however, is the food. She’s never been an adventurous eater and, in fact, I would go so far as to say I could probably count on less than two hands the number of food items she actually likes, three of them being pizza! Therefore, I’ll have hired a team of local culinary experts to beguile them with the most delicious Asian fusion cuisine – not the raw fishy kind, but delights filled with the right amount of textures and flavors to please even the pickiest eater.
Naturally, Tokyo is at the top of the list but additional destinations would have to include Kyoto, to see the legendary temples and gardens, the snow monkeys of Nagano and, of course, nature beauty of Hokkaido. However, the high point of this trip for her would be spending several days, one-on-one, with Anime artist, film director and legend, Hayao Miyazaki. Being so impressed with her skills and imagination, of course, he asks to use one of the characters she develops in their time together for his next movie.
At that point I imagine she would probably pass out from shock. You see, she does not view herself as possessing talent worthy of such an honor. It’s not that I am a mom who thinks their child is perfect at everything….okay, maybe a little bit – I know she isn’t. Actually, she is atrocious at sports, but that’s another story. However, what she lacks in athleticism she more than makes up for in creative talent that is coupled with humble modesty, which is exactly why she would so richly deserves such a gift.