I'm sure by now you've noticed my lack of presence around these parts. 2015, or more specifically these last four months, has been a hell of a test for our family. If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you probably know by now that a few months ago my dad had a stroke. What you probably don't know is how absolutely devastating it was for my family.
When a loved one has an unexpected medical crisis, it feels a bit like getting tossed into a blender. Even when things start to calm down, you still feel discombobulated. For the first few weeks it just didn't even seem real. It felt like I was literally trapped in a waking nightmare. I just kept waiting for my alarm clock to drag me out of my sleep induced coma. In some ways I'm still waiting.
Which is partly why I suddenly decided to take a random trip to the Windy City. I realized I had become so content with getting caught up with work, and putting off living because "there's always tomorrow." And as we all know, that only works until it doesn't. In some ways I took what happened to my dad as a warning. His job was incredibly stressful and he spent so much energy trying to keep up with it. It was only a matter of time.
A few weeks ago, I happened to be pursing the Internets when an article caught my eye. It was an ad for a $1 flight sale for Frontier Airlines. I remember chuckling to myself. There's no way it could be that easy? Right?
Turns out it was.
Two weeks ago, I flew to Chicago for one night for $30 (the flights there and back were $1 a pop but I paid $14 in taxes and fees). Because the Travel Gods were apparently smiling down on me, I managed to book a room at The Whitehall Hotel a block away from Magnificent Mile for only $80 (Thank you Groupon).
I cannot explain how anxious I was before my flight. This was the first time I had traveled solo since the appearance of Little J. I kept expecting everything to go wrong. I figured I'd get to the airport and discover my free carry-on was too large or heavy so I'd have to pay some absorbent fee. Or I'd realize I booked my return flight on the wrong day. Or during takeoff a gaggle of geese would suddenly decide to commit suicide and fly into the propellers, causing the engine to jam up and us all to plummet to a fiery death (Note: I binge watched Zoo the day before my trip. Probably not the best choice of cinematic entertainment right before a flight. Double note: I probably should avoid watching Fear the Walking Dead Flight 462 until I get back from our next trip).
Suffice it to say, none of those things happened. In fact, right before take off, a very kind flight attendant noticed we had some empty seats in the back of the plane, so she allowed me and a few other passengers to spread out in the back. Which meant I had prime access to the window for my in-flight photo taking pleasure.
Two of the guys that sat across from me had caught the $1 flight sale as well, and were traveling to Chicago for the sole purpose of bar hopping their way across the Windy City. We chatted for a bit, and then the flight attendants started making their rounds with the snack and beverage cart. I decided to partake in a can of wine to calm my nerves. Yes, you read that right. A can of wine. Before my flight, I had no clue such a thing existed. But I am incredibly grateful for that can of wine. I was fighting the terrible weight of mommy/ wife/ daughter guilt, and that can of wine managed to snap me right out of my guilt funk.
By the time the flight touched down in Chicago, I was ready to hit the ground running. And I did.
Being a city girl has it's perks. Once I made it into Downtown Chicago, I felt like I was at home. Chicago is a gorgeous city, and I'm going to enjoy sharing my recap of my one day adventure with you guys this week. In the effort to keep my Chicago adventure from turning into a Chicago novel, I'm going to break this post up into a few parts.
Later this week I'll share some of the sites and foods I took in while in Chicago!
Before I take off, let me share this final bit of advice with you. Please heed my warning, Slow down and treat yourself. Life is incredibly fleeting. Enjoy every precious moment you have with the ones you love. Life doesn't wait for you.
Until next time,