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Monday, August 29, 2011

Questioning My Status as City Mouse

When we moved from Ohio to Chicago five years ago, I was ecstatic. I took pictures of the urban rooftop view from my deck. I gleefully counted the number of Starbucks within walking distance of our house (four). I was convinced that we had found the right place for our family. I loved that our house was compact (our house in Toledo was a 5,000 square foot Victorian with a ridiculous number of dusty nooks and crannies), and I told myself that having a park right around the corner was a fine, fine substitute for a big backyard.

Five years later, I'm not so sure. Two weeks ago was fall program sign-up with the Chicago Park District. It is so damn competitive that Max got locked out of ice hockey because I clicked 10 seconds too late. TEN SECONDS. Our schools have the shortest school day in the country (5 hours and 45 minutes), and the teachers' union just voted to keep it that way (this is a whole other post, but will need to wait until my anger dies down). My kids wax rhapsodic about the magical suburbs where kids can hang out on the block with friends and yards are big enough to play catch without landing the ball in a neighbor's yard.

I'm just tired of city life being so hard. Trust me, I know how lucky we are to have the life that we do. Truly, I do. But, I am having a hard time reconciling some of the things that are difficult for no reason. Like shoehorning our cars into our "two car garage." Or the simple task of signing my kids up for sports.

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