Tuesday, January 30, 2007


The day we signed the papers on our house and thereby entered into what basically amounts to indentured servitude to the mortgage company I cried. A lot. We’re not talking small tears of joy here; we’re talking about the heaving sobs and massive quantities of snot kind of crying. Sure, lots of people cry when they purchase their first home…all that “all my dreams and hard work have finally been realized” shit. That’s not why I cried. I cried because after many, many years of living in Texas purchasing that house is what it took for me to finally realize that I would not be moving back to Chicago.

When you grow up moving about from place to place on a practically annual basis the concept of “home” is a fuzzy one at best. Is home the place that you currently live? Is it the place and friends and school you just left? Is it the city where the entire rest of your family lives? It’s not an easy question to answer at 31…try figuring it out at 14.

For me the answer to that was always Chicago for the simple fact that it’s where my family lives and where my parents grew up. Sure, being the strange “new kid” who always wore black and listened to The Cure in Ft. Wayne, Indiana when everyone else was in pastels and listening to Tiffany may have been a bit trying, but I could always go “home” to a real city with people who loved me and friends I’d had since Kindergarten, and somehow that made all the moving around bearable. I may not have belonged to the place that my parents had moved me to, but I had a place in the world, and that place was Chicago.

My family is large, and loud and crazy. Sure, I may have been stuck in Dublin, Ohio and completely miserable, but just 7 hours away were tons aunts and uncles, oodles of cousins and the two most amazing grandparents in the world. These were the people who loved and adored you no matter what freaky color you dyed your hair that week. And believe me…when you’re stuck deep in the heart of either Texas or Amish country and your lifelong ambition is NOT to be a cheerleader and get married to your high school sweetheart two days after graduation…the fact you have someplace to go where people just simply “get you” and there’s no ridicule is what keeps you sane sometimes.

With all the moving about I always just assumed that one day my parents would just move us back to Chicago. Then we moved to Texas and everything changed. My parents divorced and remarried. I met Nick and moved in with him. My sister moved to Austin. Somehow we had all kind of scattered and it was in Texas of all places. Before I knew what happened I had made a life for myself and it wasn’t in Chicago. Sometimes I still don’t know how that happened.

Don’t get me wrong…I love my life and there really isn’t a whole hell of a lot that I would change about it. But, I remember being a kid and going shopping on Michigan Avenue or to the Field Museum or the Art Institute…all the places my mom and dad loved when they were kids. I can see it now…I finally have a kid and going to be all “..and this is where we all used to hang out and drink beer under the freeway bridge”. No stinking Field Museum for my kid.

Again…I’m not at all unhappy with the way things turned out, but sometimes when things get so hectic and you’re running around a million miles an hour being an adult and you don’t feel good and you want someone to take care of you for a change rather than being the one who takes care of everything….you wish you could just go home.


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