Part One: Fifty seconds.
Ears popping, rising ninety-five floors above overtired children, train schedules, bad bus directions and the guy on the street corner screaming about the end of the world. And at the end of it, the doors opened on this:
It was our tenth anniversary dinner, six months late, the first of two dates we set up in Chicago this weekend.
All morning at the planetarium, watching the top of the Hancock tower appear and disappear in swirling clouds, we wondered what we would be able to see when we went to dinner that night. But the sky retreated a bit, and we sat beside the soaring windows and chatted softly, minds and bodies slowly easing into the moment. It was almost seven before I remembered that I hadn’t left a menu list for Christian’s brother and sister-in-law, who were watching the kids back at the hotel.
The meal? Oh, of course, it was absolutely amazing. I didn’t expect anything else. But it was the respite, the chance to re-center and rediscover two made one, that made the experience what it was. And on toward sunset, the light around and below us shifted from smoldering gray to clear blue-white.
And although we went right back to the world of late buses and almost-missed trains, the quiet buzz remained, and carried me off into a deep sleep almost as soon as I hit the pillow.
Part B: Fifty minutes.
Date #2 was not so amenable to public transportation, so we drove downtown, leaving far too early for an 8p.m. concert because our hosts/babysitters didn’t know how bad construction traffic might be. Fifty minutes after we left the hotel, we pulled into a parking lot snugged up against the wall of the Symphony Center. With an hour and ten minutes left before the concert, we set off to visit Buckingham Fountain.
It was a relaxed, though windy and chilly, walk, and at the end of it we returned to Michigan Avenue…
…and made our way to our seats in the front row of the gallery, where we settled in for two hours of sheer musical bliss.
Any classical concert is a balm to my soul, but to watch one of the best orchestras in the world, on its home turf—that is a dream come true. Check it off the bucket list, and savor the moment for years to come.
What did you do for Mom’s Day?