Saturday, September 20, 2008
I love Chicago. I loved it from the first time I heard my uncle talk about it - an arrogant professor from the university of Chicago - he made us deep dish "Chicago style" pizza and talked about taking taxis. I didn't even really like the pizza -it was "too much", I thought, but loved that there was a "Chicago style." Next to my Texas upbringing it seemed so...urban. The first time I saw it - age 17 - visiting Wheaton college sans parents...I remember taking the metra train into Northwestern station from the suburbs...I was completely smitten. A Wheaton friend recently reminded me of our freshman year - where we were picked up by undercover cops on our way to a Ukranian restaurant. Apparently we were "between two projects." I really didn't know what that meant, or care - it just seemed exciting - and a better story than who got "wasted" at a bonfire in my hometown.
Today - a million years later - I took my daughters and niece to meet a college friend. We took the Metra "into the city." I felt determined to be unaffected by my move to the suburbs (or worse, Indiana)- I mean, we lived in Chicago for a long time - in Roger's Park, Humboldt Park, Lincoln Park, the Gold Coast - we paid our "urban dues," right?
At first it was wonderful. It was as though everyone in a 50 mile radius was out to celebrate the clear blue sky on this last day of summer. And the museum was great - the girls loved each exhibit more than the last - from sponge paint to a three story ropes course - Isabelle especially, was exhilerated.
And then we were hungry and tired and our feet hurt and I realized I had become a suburban/small town mom. I worried about germs on the train and needed to get home and check on my chili in the croc pot. So on the train ride home I felt sort of disappointed in myself. When had I gotten so soft? But then I opened the door to my cozy little home - a wave of cumin and chile powder wafted towards my nose. "Back home!" yelled my two year old enthusiastically and we all four knew how glad that we were.