The Chicago winter is coming.
Although the weather man on the radio station I work for said the snow will not come in time for Christmas, I am still dreading the awful cold. The grey skies are cold, the clouds are dreary. The wind nips at your face, creating a numbing effect. There is only one place and time where I do not mind the cold. The fridgid tempature does not bother me around Christmas, right in front of the Water Tower on Michigan Avenue.
Chicago is an amazing place to be around the holidays. There is a spirit of cheer on Michigan Avenue. I am convinced christmas lights were invented for the sole purpose of decorating the trees lining the famous street. They send a signal up into the clouds, creating the glow of a silver sky. Beneath the sky, millions of shoppers schedule in their weekend trip to the city. I am not sure why, since taxes are more in the city. I could imagine it is all to be a part of the experience.
Last Christmas, I found myself wondering around the mall with my boss and her 1-year-old. I helped with the dress, the hair, the makeup… yes, my boss, not the one-year-old. She dressed her daughter in a beautiful red dress and ignored the crying. Together, the three of us walked from her beautiful apartment to the Water Tower Mall, about a 15 minute walk. Why did we do all of this? Because it was Christmas time. I followed my boss around the large mall. So many people stopped us, gauking at the poor little one, who was now chewing on her binky. The employees working the perfume sales booth were dressed in elf costumes and Santa was in the far corner waiting for the kids to line up to take a picture with him. We were not there for Santa. No, we were going to do this the unconventional way. We stopped at the random Christmas tree, checked the lighting and snapped a picture with her Galaxy. When I say “we” I mean “me”. I was the poor nanny who had turned into the photographer for the day.
I am not sure why that memory from last year stuck out to me. Maybe it was because the job I had last year was a hard one, but I remember actually enjoying a typical family Christmas tradition. I enjoyed the traditional: “How quick can we take a picture for our Christmas card before the poor kid’s nap time?”. Maybe it is because it makes for a good story. I don’t think I will ever do that again. That’s life. Michigan Avenue may be lit up once a year for the holidays, however, there are a few things in life I am thankful only happens once. This way a unique memory can become a story.
There is always a silver sky, winter is a season, and a memory only happens once.