121 South Bell, Chicago, Illinois

The drive home with a newborn is always nerve-wracking. No matter the season, you think they will freeze or catch a virus or you will drop the car seat. I remember bringing Lily home, well, to Nancy and Chris’ house because I was too afraid to be alone with a newborn and I needed the help when we just stared at Lily screaming up in Clare’s room at 2am and thank you, Nancy!  I was making Brian go excessively slow because there were bumps on Sheridan Road. Little bumps. Um, yeah. We made it. Gosh, anxiety does run in my family.

Bringing Blaise home took about 3 minutes. We lived a little off Michigan Avenue and the hospital was on our street down town. Still, it felt like a delicate maneuver. Don’t drop the baby! Slow down!

We brought Ashton home from University of Illinois Hospital, not too far from the condo. Scott drove up to the entrance to fetch us because it was a frigid Chicago morning. And that’s just what men do. You go get the car. A frigid morning. Chicago: mostly frigid for months at a time. On fire for the other four months. A race from the door to the car so he would not freeze. Um, yeah. We made it.

Our condo was large, two levels. Still, it only had three bedrooms. So, I created a bedroom for Lily, displacing her and giving her the bulk of the lower livingroom. Ashton got her room for napping purposes. However, he lived in my room for about six months. I put the pak-n-play by my bedside and just rolled over and popped a bottle in to his hollering mouth. This went on endlessly. I am not good with being awakened and I am not good with too little sleep.

We developed a routine after a while. Many routines. But I like the memory of this one.

I decided to run my first half marathon in order to somehow reclaim my body and my identity. (and reduce arm fat) It also gave structure to our days, my training.

So, with the aid of the cool running stroller from Stephanie and Beth, we ran two miles to the gym most days a week and I turned him over to SOMEONE BESIDES ME for two hours. I trained for that half marathon almost entirely on a treadmill at West Loop Athletic Club.  I blasted music through my headphones and became myself, separate.

Then, we would come home and I would hold him in my bed and rock him by way of rocking my body in the fashion that soothed him and we would fall asleep together, Ashton in my arms.

Then, awaken and begin again. It would be only lunch time, and many hours to go before dark.