Sunday, August 2, 2009

Withering Heights in the Windy City

I now know why God gave me these nine children.

It was to preserve my life.

This past weekend, my husband surprised me with a trip to Chicago for our 19 year anniversary. My parents agreed to watch the horde. Left to my own devices and without the benefit of a to-do list, I quickly reverted to pre-child form, engaging in such selfish activities as sleep, eating food without sharing and mentally preparing to do any manner of self indulgent recreational activities like museums, shopping and haircuts.

Then the dutiful part of me whispered, “You should do something that is unique to this town. You can shop or eat or get a haircut anywhere.” To which, the veteran mom answered, “Oh yeah? Then why is my hair in a permanent ponytail and my wardrobe consist of tee-shirts my son has outgrown and shoes my daughter no longer fits?”

“You’re overweight.” The nag voice hissed, “So you obviously find time to Eat.” “No, I just don’t find time to exercise.” I smart mouthed back, but the idea of doing something I could do nowhere else lingered.

The Cubs weren’t in town, and I don’t like the White Sox. I didn’t want to go to the pier and be reminded of all the children I have by other people’s kids. So I had to pick something touristy. There was the Sears Tower, the tallest building around that had just opened a Lucite deck where you could walk outside the building and look down. Perfect!

Clearly, outside the protective influence of my children, I harbor destructive impulses. The seven block walk towards the tower, allowed for me to either build up the nerve or have an attack of common sense.

I considered the reality of the Lucite bridge 1,400 feet up above ground with the unforgiving gravity in between. The debate was back on, was it brave to go on the bridge? I mean, it was obviously safe or no one would be allowed on it, but since it was obviously safe, how was it brave to step out on it?

Then I considered the reality, that it would feel brave because my eyes would see the drop, and I would feel afraid. How long did one have to be on the bridge to show bravery? I mean, if you went on the bridge but shut your eyes so as to not be afraid, wouldn’t that defeat the point? Wouldn’t also putting a toe on the bridge for 2 seconds also defeat the point? What in fact was the point?

How would standing there and yelling “Hah!” At Newton’s law of gravity when in fact I was supported by a Lucite deck certified to be safe and having housed countless others, indicate courage when I was in fact doing nothing but standing on a floor outside? I decided all would be made clear by actually doing the act.

I bought the ticket. I took the elevator. We took the tour. The Lucite deck I’d decided to conquer was in the Sears Tower. I had gone to the John Hancock. There was a screened in deck where one could look out and feel the rush of the sky. It was beautiful but absolutely non threatening. What did all of this prove?

God looks after me in my absent minded impulsiveness.

Now I’m going home where it’s much safer.

1 comment:

Heidi Saxton said...

Congratulations, Sherri! Craig took me there a few weeks ago, for our 10th anniversary. For me, our extraordinary children make us appreciate the ordinary basics, like uninterrupted sleep and nourishment. We appreciate the simple SILENCE, even.

So glad you had a great time ... and got that haircut. Nothing wrong with doing something to make you feel feminine and fetching, right?

Big hugs, Heidi

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