Scheduling a date night when your significant other works six days a week and there’s no family nearby to stay with the little one is a real challenge. Luckily, we have friends who are so close they are our family here in Chicago, and Ryan’s schedule is so wacky, he ended up with a free evening. All this plus some advance planning on my part, and I was finally able to take my husband to see A Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theatre. Every time I’d tried in the past, it was already sold out. So, on December 3rd, I gave him his Christmas gift for this year.
We dropped our son off with our friend, Justin, who also has a little one, but their son isn’t mobile yet. He said he was up to the challenge, and we thought it would be fun for him and his wife, Eli, to learn what things in their apartment weren’t toddler-proof! I’m always nervous and over-prepared when it comes to leaving Harrison with someone else for the evening, but Justin was equal to the task. By the time we got back that evening, Harrison was sleeping peacefully on their couch with a clean diaper and zero bruises. Justin wins.
Anyway, we got to the theatre district downtown and my mind was flooded with memories of the past nine Decembers we’ve lived in Chicago. Walking downtown in the cold, seeing all the lights, hearing all the sounds, taking it all in. Consumerism, yes, but also cheer and merriment. The usual hustle and bustle of the city wearing a scarf made of starry lights. I thought of the years we walked, hand in hand, discovering our city and our new life together.
Suddenly, all I could think of was food. Ah, pregnancy. I realized if I didn’t eat right then, I’d only have candy available until the show was over. So we ducked into a sandwich shop and had Paninis at a small table for two, excitedly checking the time between bites to make sure we wouldn’t be late. We headed back out into the cold, and got to the Goodman just in time. I pulled the tickets that I bought over a month ago out of my purse, glad I’d opted to order real tickets instead of printing out a bar code. We made our way to the doors to our section and passed a concession stand. Ryan got a glass (well, a cup, actually) of champagne and I got a cup of hot cocoa. We snapped a quick photo of ourselves and then went to our seats.
The house of the theatre had a lovely warm glow, and the wooden slats that cover the balconies added to the ambiance of the London set onstage. We both smiled as we found our seats, soaking it in. I pulled two tiny boxes of assorted chocolates in Christmas wrapping out of my purse and handed one to Ryan. I said, “Merry Christmas!” and he smiled and kissed me. We were downtown, in a theatre, seeing Ryan’s favorite play/book/movie onstage, and celebrating our 11th Christmas.
We enjoyed the show immensely. The special effects were awesome and unexpected, the actors were great, and the sets were incredible. If you can snag a ticket, I highly recommend it. I don’t recommend having Braxton-Hicks contractions during the climax of the first act, but in the case you can’t help it, a bottle of water at intermission really seems to do the trick.
Walking back to the car after the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge and his decision to be a better man, I felt warmer somehow. With all the chaos in our society these days, maybe we need a few more ghosts to appear to those most in need of a change of heart. In the meantime, we can all strive to be a little more giving, a little more humble, a little less greedy. I wish you all a happy holiday season and God bless us, every one.
Until next time... "Come in and know me better, man!"
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