I’ve made the decision that when I grow up I’d like to be a Lincoln Park child.
Lincoln Park is a neighborhood about two miles from downtown, give or take. The homes are immaculate, the yards are beautiful, and almost every child has their own nanny. The only thing older than the brownstones in this area is the money that lives in them.
Lincoln Park is the only neighborhood I’ve lived in since I moved to Chicago. I’ve tried to move to Wicker Park or Logan Square a few times when I start pretending I’m super cool and hip, but it’s never worked out. Because I am not super cool or hip. Lincoln Park just fits my old stuffy soul.
The only thing better than growing old in this beautiful neighborhood would be being born into it.
Do you know what I was doing on a warm afternoon in the summer when I was their age? I was either covering my trampoline with shampoo and water, then sliding back and forth as fast as possible, often times getting my head stuck in the springs and enjoying every second of it.
Or I was sitting on a sprinkler. Literally sitting on it just for the hell of it. I enjoyed the rush of water, what can I say. To answer your question, no, I wasn’t the sharpest child. I also used to enjoy putting tape over my mouth and spinning around in circles as fast as I could until I fell over.
So I couldn’t help but be totally enamored with these intelligent young girls. I stopped what I was working on and just observed.
They all wore hip glasses and skinny jeans. One of the girls was wearing a Bulls jersey, but it was like a fashion statement and not in the way I used to wear jerseys as a kid. I wore jerseys because my brother had outgrown them and passed them down to me. And then I would proceed to wear a huge t-shirt underneath it that fell out of the sleeves and from the neck of the jersey just to ensure everyone was certain I was wearing clothes two sizes too big. This girl was rocking hers like it was specially made for her. Which it probably was.
They had better highlights than me. And nails that looked like they had never been chewed on or had ever had to endure pulling weeds from the front terrace while their dad shouted from behind them “you’re staying out there until every damn weed is pulled! And stop trying to hide them under the rocks.“
“But dad, they make sprays for this stuff now! Please, I hate this…” while mumbling every swear word they could think of under their breath.
No, these girls were a classy bunch. Have you ever felt inferior to a table full of children? It’s an odd feeling. I wanted to snap a photo of them simply for this post, but I’ve heard parents frown upon strange adults taking photos of their children so I resisted.
Their discussion moved from Jane Eyre, to weekend plans, and they even touched on gay marriage for a bit or two. They all had gay friends and didn’t understand why it was ever an issue.
I was just about to ask their savvy young group if I could please join their clique as well as their book club, when one of them got a text from a boy and they all went from being classy young women, to boy obsessed little girls.
The reaction to a cute boy texting is universal, no matter where you are raised.
And for a second I felt bad for turning my back on my rural upbringings. But at 4:00 o’clock on the dot when the girls were picked up in a white Range Rover I thought, no I would probably do okay here as a child after all.