Chicago Now Blogapazlooza: Top of the world baby!

Chicago Now Blogapazlooza: Top of the world baby!
With my dear hometown friends. The late Susie Sager, who was my best friend, is on the right.

Welcome to another Chicago Now Blogapalooza! This is a writing exercise from our community manager Jimmy Greenfield who chooses topics for us to write about from time to time to keep our skills honed. This week's challenge is to publish a post in one hour about this topic: "Write about a period or moment in your life when you were at your best. Confidently write about when you were at the top of your game as a human being, student, friend, parent, spouse, athlete, blogger, etc. Not looking for the single greatest period/moment of your life, just one of the many there have been. Search your memory, choose one and tell your story.

So here's my story. I'm not sure if this is when I was at my "best" but I think it was when I felt the most complete. It's when all of my family were still living and life seemed much more carefree. It's when I first introduced Chuck to my hometown of Dupo, Illinois, and to my mother, step-father, my friends and cousins there and to Mary and Jim Johnson--who I considered my

With mom and Chuck in Dupo, Illinois.

With mom and Chuck in Dupo, Illinois.

"other parents."

It was a happy time that I hoped would last forever. But then, nothing ever does. I knew at the time how very lucky I was to have them in my life. We traveled, shopped, dined, played, laughed, hugged and "got necks" together and it was better than anything Ozzie & Harriet ever did on TV. Oh, there were some dark times (my step-father was an alcoholic), but as time passes, one tends to see the past through rose-colored glasses. And I'm holding on to the happiest version.

I feel like I'm really at "my best" now though. I'm not a starry-eyed teenager who doesn't know right from left. I feel like I've been through some storms that has made me a better person, more introspective, more compassionate and more caring and I'm happy where I am now. The biggest part of this happiness lies with my husband Chuck. I'm not quite sure how I got so lucky finding him, but he's my touchstone for all that's good. So yeah, I think "the best" times are

With my aunts, uncles and cousins in Columbia, Ill., for an annual picnic.

With my aunts, uncles and cousins in Columbia, Ill., for an annual picnic.

right now. Top of the world baby!

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