We sat in a skybox at the White Sox game (in what will always be called Comiskey in this home), and instead of spending the entire game shouting for more beer, I quizzed our waitress on the nitrate content of the hot dogs and checked all of the bathrooms for changing stations.
Neither of us are Chicago natives, but both my husband and I have lived here long enough to consider it home. Since the 90’s we have possibly played or worked every stage, bar, and radio station currently in the city and many that are long gone. We smoked in Lounge Ax, tripped at the first Lollapalooza, drank in the old Tiny Lounge, and weren’t ashamed of Soldier Field. We’d done our time here and felt it was ours. Then I got pregnant. There’s Supernatural Chicago, Architectural Chicago, and Gangster Chicago, but never before did we realize the existence of Parental Chicago.
It’s just now dawning on us that we need this completely different version of our city. All our friends with kids made predictable moves to the suburbs. But, no, thank you, we’re urbanites and urbanites we’ll stay. The problem being we don’t know jack about having a city baby, nor who to ask. I walked the mile to 12th St. Beach this weekend, but how does a baby get there? A cab? Must I be one of those people wrestling a stroller on the bus? Where do we find a non-murdering babysitter? How in the hell are we going to afford another bedroom in the South Loop? Brainspace reserved for M Lounge drink specials is frantically replaced with which restaurants have high chairs, and money once reserved for tomorrow’s Daley Plaza Farmer’s Market cheese now goes in the diaper service fund. But, most worrisome of all, how does a late-30’s/early 40’s couple with an established rotation of drinks and brunches, Michigan weekends and late-night concerts, HOW does that couple uncover and decipher Parental Chicago? Will we still be able to find Our Chicago through this veil of playgrounds and story hours, or will this city become unrecognizable to us? Better or worse or just different?
Not that we can go back now.
About the author: Tonya R. Moore is confused by the suburbs. She's occasionally found at @flaky_biscuit but only follows the Dalai Lama and Steve Martin.