10.24.2007

Oh, where to begin?

We made it back safely from Chicago at about Monday night, after flying into Savannah, picking up Charlie and the doggies and then driving to Augusta. LONG day.

Our trip was great – Chicago is beautiful, the shopping is heavenly, my dream shopping experience and we enjoyed lots of quality time together and some really good food, including deep dish Chicago pizza (of course). But right before leaving Thursday, we found out that our elderly across-the-street neighbor (affectionately called The Mayor of the neighborhood!) passed away suddenly while on a cruise in South America. We are very close to this man and his wife and they love us (especially Charlie!) as well. I’ll spare you all the disturbing details involved in passing away on a cruise ship off the coast of COLUMBIA of all places, but suffice it to say that the stories we heard were awful, unbelievable. And the tears of his wife of 47 years were heart-breaking (she’s German – he brought her home from war to be his wife and she never became a U.S. Citizen…that’s another story in itself). Since finding out this news, we have been deeply sad and mourning this loss. Mourning the loss of our neighbor and friend, Charlie’s friend and sad for his lonely wife, across the street all alone in their new home purchased for retirement. I have also been so convicted and saddened by all the times when I rushed by these neighbors, too busy with life to stop and chat. Those with elderly / retired neighbors know how high-maintenance these people can be :0) and these folks are no exception. Having all the time in the world to chit-chat, sit out on the porch, point out all the problems with the landscaping of the yard, etc. can sometimes, well, be a lot of work for the busy young parents across the street. But this whole experience has taught me a lesson about what is important in life: relationships, taking time for people, knowing that life happens in the moments when the chores are not getting done and the daily schedule is not being followed. How I wish that I had taken advantage of all the moments available with this gentleman, to talk about life, things that are really important, to get beyond the dailies. I feel honestly like this relationship and this ministry opportunity passed me by. And I have been grieving this loss and soul-searching, trying to cement this lesson into my mind, hoping for a new “M.O.” in life. My schedule-oriented personality will have a hard time with this one but by grace, I’m hoping for real change…

Anyway, back to Chicago: The Magnificent Mile is indeed MAGNIFICENT. Every store and shopping experience was available, right on this one stretch of beautiful, CLEAN Chicago road. I was able to get re-acquainted with H&M, an old friend from the Charlottesville days, explore several of the most beautiful malls I've ever seen and just generally have fun shopping sans child. It was so pleasant to be able to shop without having to provide a constant stream of food or stop Charlie from crawling under the dressing room stall walls. It really was a treat. I think my favorite mall was Water Tower Place - among other things, the food court was a real gourmet restaurant and I had a delicious falafel pita served on real china! I sure did miss my favorite shopping partners ever, Jill and Libby! In addition to shopping, we also experienced a boat and river tour, which was a quick way to see the famous Chicago landmarks, though not as in depth as we would have liked. We will definitely be back, Chicago! We love you!

3 comments:

Libby & Colin said...

I can't wait to be out of maternity clothes & ready to try on stuff from real stores again! Did you find cute stuff for the next few months? Ahh--shopping without a toddler is such bliss...

Jill said...

Sadly, I can't really shop at H&M anymore becuase the thing that scares me most is showing up in the exact same outfit as one of my students.

It's been a challenge finding stores where they are unlikely to go...especially ones that aren't for middle-aged women.

Marlo said...

That trip sounds so lovely.
I'm so sorry for your neighbor.