Maybe I’m waxing poetic because of the ominous skies outside. Stormy weather for the next few days is predicted, whereas yesterday was actually clear and hot, reminding me a lot of… Houston. Ironic, I suppose, that we set out on this drive in the middle of a heat wave; hoping for a little relief from the Houston heat, we’ve discovered that it’s just as hot everywhere else – or maybe it’s just fair. To be clear, I’m not feeling nostalgic on account of the heat reminding me of Houston! No, it’s because we just rolled into the tri-city area where Jessica and I spent our first few years of marriage together: Kankakee, Bourbonnais, and Bradley. And stormy skies always remind me of summer wind and lightning storms in France, walking through the park in the evening, listening to the wind in the trees, feeling it cool my skin and blow through my hair while the trees swayed, it was energizing, exhilarating.
We hadn’t been back to the Kankakee area in about 8 years, and the skies had that surreal tumultuous look indicative of a storm brewing; the kind of impossible sky I’ve seen in famous paintings that make me shake my head in disbelief: these kinds of skies don’t occur in real life. Only, they do.
We had planned on meeting up with old friends, Tracy and Wayne, for a pool party that afternoon, but they had to cancel, and maybe it was for the best, as the rain started falling hard and cold and would have put a damper on our party, for sure. But we didn’t bring our swimsuits for nothing. The hotel we stayed at had a nice indoor pool that the kids and I enjoyed later that evening.
But more than the weather, it was the familiar sights that really brought us to that nostalgic place. Driving into town, conversation shifted completely to sentences like:
“hey I remember that place”
“Is that where…?”
“That’s where Ophélia was born”
“Up there is where we used to go to church”
“There’s our favorite pizza joint. It’s still there!”
“Hey, didn’t that used to be…?”
The girls didn’t think it was near as amazing as Jessica and I did. The day was filled with quick jaunts down memory lane, including paying a visit to Ophélia’s first ballet studio, “Dance in the Light.” It would be impossible for me to do justice to the wonderful quality of the day here in this post. I just can’t figure out how to capture it, and I suspect I would just bore you with all the details I would want to cram in – just like the kids’ disappointing reaction to our excitement and delight.
In the evening, Jessica was invited to a La Leche League meeting by a friend that used to be her voice student and who used to babysit our kids. All grown up with a baby of her own, she thought it would be great fun to invite the founder of “The Leaky Boob” (the online breastfeeding support community Jessica started a little over a year ago) to come and join the evening’s activities. From what I heard, Jessica, Cosette, Soleil (our friend), and the LLL ladies all had a great time. Meanwhile, the rest of the kids and I enjoyed some splash time in the hotel pool, followed by a pleasant surprise on the TV: Wall-E! One of my favorite kids movies.