I wish I had a driveway, a bucket, a hose and a soapy porous sponge. I wish that I could wash our car with my man and spray each other with the hose or throw a soap bomb on him, he’d be a really fun person to throw a soap bomb on. But alas I live in the great City of Chicago. For 8 years, I’ve been paying to wash my own car. Kind of silly, don’t you think?
I also wish my husband cut our firewood in the backyard, because that’s sexy. But nah, we buy our firewood at the grocery store in the battery, lightbulb aisle.
I wish Lake Michigan wasn’t a lake at all but an Ocean. It looks like an Ocean (which feels like a trick) but it’s missing that salty, fresh smell that I seem to crave more and more. I wish I could drive to the beach, park easily and walk barefoot down a sandy wooden bridge to the shore, like I did 8 years ago, before I moved here. The below picture was taken last Christmas of a beach I miss.
I wish I had a yard or at least was a better rooftop gardener. Rooftop gardening requires a lot of watering and I forget to drink enough water myself, so remembering the plants might be a lost cause.
All this being said, the idea of perfectly manicured lawns and neighbors who compete for best curb appeal would stifle me. I think the “Little Boxes” song from Weeds, expresses it best. I don’t know where this desire to live outside of that comes from, especially when I was basically raised within that. I mean, my father himself was a builder/developer and I rollerbladed down those same kind of idealized streets. Granted, I felt stifled, hence the butterfly analogy in my last post but it’s not a bad way to grow up. Nor is it a bad way to raise a family. I think of “family” stuff lately. Sorry honey, I’m 30, biology is at work in me.
I think of parenthood inconveniences, like loading strollers into my car and buckling kids into car seats and I can’t help but think… maybe it will be nice to just walk down the 2 flights of stairs with a kid on my hip and a stroller in tow. Maybe walking to the my local grocer or the farmers market, with my kid in a stroller will actually be easier. Walking to the park or playground is going to take 5-10 minutes, which is awesome. Even taking the bus to the beach, which currently bums me out but might actually be wildly convenient when I have a 2 year old attached to my leg. Also, I just discovered these new roller fabric gates and suddenly feel more confident about baby proofing my husband’s high tech modern bachelor pad that is our first home. Then there’s the whole local delivery thing that I think will be awesome when we’re all just too tired… like Peapod, Artizone and well any ethnic cuisine you can think of for dinner. When we’re lazy, this is the question, “Do you want, Chinese, Japanese (dirty knees, look at these), Tacos, Indian, Thai or Pizza?” Last night we had Tacos, thank you Big Star.
We live in a neighborhood with a plethora of restaurants, bars, shops, wine shops, grocery stores and of course… car washes. Yes, I do wish on a driveway, garden and a lumberjack version of my husband from time to time but maybe that’s just what we do as people. Maybe we can’t help but want elements of our childhood or pieces of other people’s lives. When I first moved here and I found out that people were born and raised in Chicago, I was perplexed. Literally, perplexed. How? But where did you play in the sand? Where did you ride your bicycle? Where did you go sledding? You took the train! What? Really!? I couldn’t fathom it. I thought politely to myself, I will NEVER raise my kids here. But I will. I mean, most likely. Unless we move to another Country or San Francisco. Either way, it will likely be in a City and that’s okay. In fact, I kind of like it. Also, my two favorite mom friends were raised in Chicago and raise their 1.5 and 2 year olds in Chicago and Brooklyn. Their kids are full of personality and super curious. I LOVE them.
When I was 19, I did this thing called Green Grass. No, I didn’t smoke it. It was just a list of things that I jotted down to remind myself that the grass was green on my side too. I started it during a time that I was seeing the worst in the world and it was breaking my spirit. It was my first very Oprah thing to do, but certainly not my last. ha. This new perspective of the same reality changed how I saw my little world and the larger world outside of it. It changed how I felt. I saw beauty because I looked for it. Anyway, I’m not so depressed now and certainly not about raising kids but these are the things I’ve been thinking…
Here is my Green Grass for raising kids in this over populated place I call home.
- I never have to drive anywhere if I don’t want to and therefore no car seats or schlepping of strollers.
- I can put groceries in my stroller and walk home.
- We can walk to the park, or the playground or take the train to the zoo or art museum.
- What could be more fun than playing trains? Riding one!
- Free kids movies in neighborhood parks with friends and well… wine! Train back home. Everyone is safe. Everyone is happy.
- Free festivals all Summer long, lots to see and hear. Screw colorful toys that play sounds. Right? (I say this now…)
- There are literally 4 baby stores on my main street alone. I’m talking blankets, diapers, furniture, toys, books etc.
- We can go to breakfast or lunch with a kid and if it’s a disaster, taking the food and going home isn’t really a big deal.
- We have a roof deck that is like a giant playpen.
- Our kids will be exposed to all sorts of interesting foods from 12 months on… that’s fun. They’ll be a baby foodie.
- And for me the biggest thing… would be raising our kids alongside some of our best friends.
- Also, they’ll go sledding in the Northeast, when we go home for Christmas. They’ll be fine! Right?
Love to the mamas with the blooming gardens & driveways and also to the City mamas that walk everywhere. You’re all pretty remarkable to me.
I started a facebook page, so we could all be friends.
- This stroller turns into a tricycle when your kid outgrows it (grist.org)
- 18 Differences Between Living In Italy And The United States (survivinginitaly.com)
- Commuters and Castanets (washingtonian.com)
- Bundling Baby (thebabybumpdiaries.com)
- Two Versions of What Happens When We Let Kids Wait in the Car (freerangekids.com)
- Our First Couple Days… (cari717.wordpress.com)
- Day 61 – Grocery Shopping in Brooklyn (365lostinbrooklyn.wordpress.com)
- Baby Must-Haves: The Short List (Sort Of) (totbythecity.wordpress.com)
- Washing Cars After Winter Slush (1011now.com)