child-free in chicago

after biting the bullet and going child-free in denver, i realised it was so much simpler, so much less emotional than i imagined it being. i knew he was in the good, more than capable, saw-two-children-through-to-adulthood hands of my parents, and i knew, after having parenthood thrust upon us so soon out of the gate, having that little bit of time for me and aaron to not be parents (or to be parents who are far away and unable to be the first person he runs to, at any rate) was sorely needed. love him, we both do, but everyone needs a break. it’s just taken me a bit longer than i’d have liked to realise it.

so i planned another trip to be taken a mere three months later. back to chicago, but this time there would be no need to have to entertain a toddler on a long drive, or lug around a stroller, or go to bed early if we didn’t want to.

we flew in (the first ever flight just me and aaron, come to think of it). visited allison. found the nearest native foods. checked into the airbnb. found the cosiest bathrobe in the bathroom. refused to take it off. ate chicago diner (thrice). considered moving to chicago because of chicago diner (also thrice). walked the riverwalk. regretted my poor footwear. sat on a bench and waited for aaron to return with better, more sensible shoes. watched the planes fly overhead. took the world’s nosiest, mandrake-screaming-like bus. sat for hours by lake michigan. listened to the crash of the waves. let the ice-cold water rush over and soothe my (needlessly) blistered feet. imagined living here. searched for jobs. walked the navy pier under the light of the moon. ate sushi at midnight. stopped at every subway art installation. stopped by an art store. charged our phones at a target phone charging station. went shopping for a long-sleeve shirt after checking the weather and realising we had not come well-prepared for colder temperatures and storms. set up camp at a surprisingly empty north avenue beach. stood in the water. drank lemonade. talked to seagulls. watched the storm roll in. rented a tandem bike. rode along the shore. sweated (a lot). got to millennium park, and that shiny little bean, just before sunset. kissed. wished each other a happy 7 years. spotted the chicago theater on our way home. put the bathrobe back on. ate chipotle. watched masterminds. went to bed late. flew home the following morning, just as happy as can be, albeit a little sore feet-wise.

already thinking of ideas for the next trip, and the trip after that.

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