Back in 2008, when we bought a cemetery plot after a miscarriage, I was very angry. Not just because of the miscarriage, but because of the cemetery plot.
I never wanted to die here.
I raged at the Chef. "This was not my plan!"
When I married and moved to Chicago shortly after college graduation, Chicago was always a short term plan. This was where the Chef was from, where his family lived, and most importantly, where he got a job. But that didn't meant we were going to be here forever. I had always thought in the back of my mind that someday we would move back to my birthplace, St. Louis, or the birthplace of our love, Dallas.
For years, I have answered the question, "Where are you from?" with this lengthy explanation, "I'm from St. Louis, but I met my husband at the University of Dallas and we live in Chicago. That's where he's from."
This was not my plan.
Every winter, I complained and whined about how anywhere else in the world would be more temperate, more Christian, more Red state, less crooked politics, less anti-life.
But after we bought that cemetery plot, and I buried a part of myself here. Here became a part of me.
Slowly, God has helped me to bloom where He has planted me.
I used to always feel like the small-town Midwestern girl visiting the big city. I don't feel that way anymore.
When I first met my father-in-law, he thought I had the cutest Southern accent. Now, when we visit my parents, my dad always tells me that I talk like a Yankee.
I miss my family. I miss not being there for my mom. She just had a hip replacement. I wasn't there for my sister when she fought cancer. I regret that my children don't know my side of the family the way they know the Chef's side.
More than once, has the Chef been unhappy with his employment or between jobs, and he searched the contiguous 48 for a job. But he always found jobs here. I think this is where He wants us to be.
I am blessed that St. Louis is only a five hour road trip away, and that weekend visits are totally do-able.
Those horrendous Chicago winters that I loathed? Now, I am like a Winter Warrior, with my knee length down coat, long underwear and wool socks. I always have lip balm and hand lotion on hand. "Ain't nothin' gonna break-a my stride. Ain't nothin' gonna hold me down."
But these Chicago summers? Would I appreciate Spring and Summer so much if I lived anywhere else? Would I savor eating outdoors and not having central air conditioning?
True story. When I first met the Chef, and discovered that his home did not have central air, I thought, "They must be dirt poor." Look at me now, I rarely turn on the a/c in my car because I like to be hot. It takes until August to thaw my frozen core.
I have learned to love this city, with its culture, its fast-pace, its restaurants and stores, its style. I have made it my own and it has embraced me.
This past weekend, I heard myself say, when asked the question, "Where are you from?" I answered, "I'm from Chicago."