Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sweet Home Chicago...Part 1

Hi Readers! I am writing to you from my hometown (one of many) Chicago.  Here I am plopped down in my in-laws backyard, wearing grungy, mud stained sweats and an "Athens, I love you!" t-shirt, with my hair in a sloppy pony tail.  A nice neighbor just gave me a funny look from his backyard and said, "um...who are you?"  Just wanted to give you a visual. 

If you read one of my recent posts, you might remember that I was anxious about returning to Chicago after She and I parted on such lousy terms.  When we left, my hubby was looking for work and our family had survived two of the worst years ever.  We're talkin' like Biblically bad.

After all my hemming and hawing... all my bitching about how I would never leave Georgia again...something happened.  I prayed about this trip and whether or not going alone was a great idea for a lady with anxiety issues and two kids.  When I finally accepted my inlaws' generous offer to fly us home if I would ONLY just pin down a date, a strange kind of calm settled over me.  I actually started to get excited about the trip.  That's a big deal for me, people.  You see, my strategy for dealing with unpleasantries is usually just to avoid them all together.  Kind of a "we shall never speak of this again" philosophy.

Silly me.  God always has way better plans that I do. 

As we were leaving the house to make the long trek to the airport, my husband said, "I'm so nervous about your trip! How come you aren't nervous?!"

"I dunno. But I feel good about it."

The flight was uneventful.  It was actually the couple of days before that were a little scary.  My almost six year old came down with an awful virus that gave her a 103 degree temp just 48 hours before we were supposed to leave.  Usually this means that she will have the fever for several days before it breaks, and that my four year old is a walking time bomb, just waiting to combust with the same germs.  I wrung my hands as I called the airline and asked what it would cost to move the trip back a week.  Just a simple matter of $800, the rude representative told me! 

So, we prayed.  I knew that my in laws would just die if we had to cancel.  Sure enough, Savannah woke up Tuesday morning just as healthy as she could be!  Thanks, God. I read my trashy paperback and listened to the girls' animated chatter all through the flight, occasionally shushing them when one of the Barbies got too melodramatic.  As we landed, my six year old looked out the window and said in a hushed voice, "Oh, Chicago, how I've missed you!" At that moment, I had no doubt that this trip was going to be special.

My four year old, however, had her doubts.  As we stepped out into the hot sun, wheeling our bags across traffic to reach our pick up point, Lilah said, "I'm not sure this was such a good idea!" She still looked undecided when we pulled up to Grandma and Grandpa's house, but all that disappeared when she lept into her great grandmothers' arms as they greeted her.  It was a sweet reunion!



The next day, we loaded up the car and Grandma, Grandpa, Savannah, and Lilah set out for Wisconsin Dells.  Having spent the better part of my childhood in the South, I never had the privilege of doing the "Dells." Apparently, this Wisconsin kiddie heaven is packed full of resorts that offer everything from massive water parks to roller coasters to zip lining and mini golf.  I missed out!  Here's what is not in Wisconsin...

ME!  That's right.  Since our family will be doing Disney in the fall, I said no thank you to the Dells experience.  You see, I wanted to give Grandma and Grandpa an opportunity to fully enjoy their bonding time with the kids without any parental distractions!  I know.  I am just selfless like that. 

If you are a stay at home parent or just a parent, period, you may appreciate the incredible gift that my in-laws have given me.  Almost three days of being kid-free!! If you say that you have never wished for that then you are a liar, my friend.  They even left me a car, dude.  I feel like I'm sixteen again...only I don't have any desire to raid the liquor cabinet or throw a party.  Just give me a good paperback and some PEACE and QUIET. 

The first thing I did with my freedom is visit my friend, Jessie.  Jessie and I have been the best of friends ever since I was dropped in her lap as a rookie music teacher in our old school district.  She looked at me like, "What am I supposed to do with this?" I looked at her like "a deer caught in headlights," as my former principal referred to me.  She quickly showed me the ropes and gave me a kick in the ass whenever I insisted that I could not do this or that.  Today, she is the Godmother of my four year old and my dear friend. 

First on our agenda was some time with my sweet brother in law.  I had not seen his kind face in exactly a year, and it was so good to just sit with him and share a laugh.  He is a rock if I've ever met one and never fails to inspire me.  When he first saw us he said, "It's so great to see you! You guys look so happy and pretty!" Now THAT'S how you talk to a girl. Jessie and I made our next stop at Rock Bottom Brewery, where I indulged in some truly awesome lobster and shrimp tacos...heaven.  We followed this culinary delight up with another kind of delight.  Jessie peer pressured me into seeing "Magic Mike", the new movie about actor Channing Tatum's short lived career as a stripper.  Okay, that is a bold faced lie.  I totally pressured her.  It know, if you like that sort of thing.

Today, my little loaned car took me to see my good buddies, Kristen and Jeannie.  Jeannie and Kristen are two of my college know...from the second college I attended.  Like I said before, I had some growing pains, okay?  Anytime you put the three of us together in a public place, we get odd looks.  Why?  Because we are seriously loud and obnoxious!  My mouth actually gets sore from talking and laughing so much.  Here's what I love about old friends: they are just so authentic.  They have seen all your hangups and warts and they love you anyway.  Our chosen rendezvous location was Cooper's Hawk Winery.  Kristen and I were members of a delightfully nerdy book club that used to meet here and we both developed a craving for the winery's delicious sangria.  Yum!  While we were there harassing the other patrons with our obnoxious conversation..."No! Channing Tatum does do all of his own dancing!  You don't know what you're talking about!", I got a lovely surprise. I ran into an old co-worker/friend from a past life...the one before kids!  He and his wife are expecting their first child and he was grinning from ear to ear (the best). 

Now, is where the paperback and peace and quiet come in.  The silence is strange at this hour for one who is used to final bedtime pleas and a dog that is itching to be walked.  Strange, but nice. Hubby, if you are reading this, your wife is sorry that you are lonely and don't be too jealous of my fun here in the Windy City!  After all, it was your idea, sweetie. 


  1. Happy for you,your girl time and peace and quiet. ( :

  2. Sounds lovely Kate. Enjoy this holiday. You needed it. I know the girls are happy with Steve and Christina. Can't wait to read part two.

  3. Sooo happy this trip has turned out to be SO wonderful for you! Isn't God amazing when we just hand over our fears?! You look refreshed and happy in your pic and the girls look wonderful in the laps of their Grandparents! I couldn't be happier for you guys but just know you are MISSED. xoxo -Annie