Next weekend my husband, daughter and I head to Chicago, one of my favorite places on earth. I love the noises of the city and the way it vibrates with energy. I live in a fairly decent sized metro area, Denver, but for a small-town girl who converted to urbanism the first time she lived in a city, it’s just not the same.
Our trip got me thinking about our last trip there, three years ago. My daughter was a year and a half and we combined the journey with going to Wisconsin to visit my family, attend two weddings and jam out at Summerfest, the biggest music festival in the world. The last two nights in Chicago were all my idea—I desperately needed to fill that big-city urge that lies within.
The very first night in Chicago, right after ordering our deep dish pizza, my daughter went into the throws of hand, foot and mouth disease. Drooling, high fever, screaming in agony. It was pitiful and it lasted the entire time we were in Chicago. I hate to admit, but I was not at my best. I was still coming to terms with the limitations of motherhood and dealing with the expectations of our first vacation since our daughter’s birth. It was a heavy load and I cracked.
On the last morning, I threw a temper tantrum—so upset that I wouldn’t get to enjoy my beloved city that I stormed out of the hotel room saying I was going for a walk. Yes, in a brilliant display of motherly and wifely love, I left my poor tired husband with a screaming feverish toddler. Fortunately I redeemed myself by stopping in the lobby and then heading to the restaurant buffet to get us all a tray of food.
I assume this trip will be different. My daughter is nearly 5 and motherhood now fits me like a well-worn glove. Even more so, motherhood and age are teaching me about realistic expectations and the fact that I can’t control the world. I am still impatient, a bit controlling and way too selfish, but I’m trying.
This trip I want to simply enjoy being with my favorite man showing my favorite girl my favorite city. But God help us if once again we have to leave Gina’s East before the deep dish comes.