This past weekend Jimmy and I went to Chicago for the Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead Tour. I had a lot of apprehension leading up to the trip. Oliver has become super attached to me, and he calls out "mama" about a thousand times a day. The thought of leaving him induced a pretty severe dose of mom guilt. It's strange to think that just a few years ago my needs were my number one priority. Maybe that's selfish to say, but my main concern throughout the day was getting where I needed to be, doing what I needed to do, and making myself happy. In 4 short years, I met Jimmy, got married, and had a baby. Now it seems like my needs come third, and while I'm so happy where I am in life and wouldn't trade it for anything, I am still struck sometimes by what a major change it is. Being a good wife and mother are my biggest concerns now. Although they are equally important to me, Jimmy does not cry or demand my time, and so sometimes being a good mom takes priority over being a great wife.
Jimmy asked me to go to these shows as a favor to him. I really love music and shows and my friends, but I'm a mom and I'm tired, and getting up the energy for three nights of shows seemed almost impossible. Because I love my husband, and I agreed we could use some time together away from the baby, I packed my bag, dropped the baby off with my mom, and boarded the plane. Almost as soon as we were in the air I felt better. I knew Oliver was well cared for, and I was on my way for 3 days where my biggest priority was being a wife and having fun with my husband. I even started to get kind of excited.
Once we were in the air, Jimmy surprised me and told me that he got reservations at a Top Chef restaurant that night! As you know from this post, Top Chef is my favorite TV show, and I was very excited. It was nice to know he'd done something so thoughtful for me. It reminded me that I am a very loved woman, and my interests matter very much to him.
We met his parents that night for dinner, and it was fantastic! I very much recommend the Little Goat if you are in Chicago.
The next day we actually slept in until 10! It was unreal. Oliver did not wake us up at the crack of dawn! We did not have to go immediately into parent mode. We lounged around for a while and then leisurely decided to meet our friend Adam for brunch. We chatted and laughed and told college stories, and I began to feel more and more like myself.
After brunch we went to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. I felt so calm sitting at the stadium and watching the game. I absolutely adore baseball, and it was nice to be able to focus my full attention on something I love. I sat next to my father-in-law and watched the game and just soaked up the time.
That night we went with a group to Soldier field for the first night of the Grateful Dead shows. I'll admit I was a little nervous going into that show. I was wondering if I still knew how to go to shows and be myself. As soon as the music started and Jimmy started dancing, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I knew exactly what to do. I danced, watched the lights, listened to the incredible music, and compared thoughts about the show with a group of people I love so much. For a few hours I was back to being 28 and falling in love with my husband. I was reminded of all the wonderful things I love about him, and I was so happy to be there by his side.
The next day we went on the architecture tour (see the photo album here), went to lunch at one of my favorite restaurants in the world, RL (I wrote about it in this post), shopped a little bit, met up for dinner with two of my favorite men, and walked over to the show. This time I was not nervous. I told Jimmy where I wanted to sit and what I wanted to do, and I knew I was going to have a great time. As the sun set over the side of the stadium, the music played, and the lights lit up the floor, I was fully aware of what a lucky girl I was. To enjoy that historic moment with the man I'm so in love with and a group of friends I adore, was such a gift. I stood by their side, danced my face off, and let all the mom guilt slip out of my mind.
The next morning I woke up ready to go home. I was fully restored and ready to see my baby. Jimmy decided to stay for the last night, but I felt zero guilt boarding a plane and going home to Oliver. When he saw me his face broke into a massive smile, and he called out "mama." My heart exploded. I took him home, made us a dinner of hot dogs, lima beans, and sweet potato fries, which we ate together. I hugged him and kissed him a thousand times and put him to bed. I then called for my dog, climbed into my own bed with her, and fell asleep with a full and restored heart truly grateful for all of life's amazing blessings.
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