Here is Part I, in case you stumbled into this post in medias res.
Where was I? Ah yes. We had just completed the famed architecture tour. Definitely a must if you are ever in Chicago. After lunch, we decided to squeeze in a visit to the Art Institute before the wedding. The Art Institute was a block away from our hotel and the wedding venue, so we figured we had enough time. As it was with all of our decisions in Chicago, we did not regret it. The art museum was a marvel. Scott dabbles in art himself (if you will permit me to brag on my husband, I think he is an extremely talented artist), so he was really looking forward to seeing some American masterpieces like American Gothic in person.
I have been to the Prado in Madrid and seen some fantastic El Greco pieces when I was a kid, but I think this one (called The Assumption of the Virgin) is one of my favorites.
I have always loved Cassatt’s portrayals of motherhood, but finally seeing one up close and personal made me all teary-eyed. She was truly a master at capturing the beauty of motherhood even in its seemingly trivial every-day nature.
I discovered that Modern, Post-Modern, and Contemporary art really isn’t my thing. I thought the Picassos at least were interesting, but didn’t really bowl me over with their beauty like the art from the earlier eras.
We finally had to tear ourselves away from the museum and get ready for the wedding. I bought an interesting coffee table book for my mom on American Impressionism as a thank you for watching the girls because I knew she loved John Singer Sargent.
We cleaned up nice for my best friend’s wedding and had a fabulous time. The venue, the University Club, was a gem of Chicago architecture itself and had beautiful vistas of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan beyond. I got to see some of my old friends from my high school days, and meet new friends from Chicago who were as gregarious a people as you can meet.
Me: “Do I look pregnant in this picture?”
My friend, Emily Hart: “Are you pregnant?”
Me: “It’s a fair question, but no.”
Sunday, we attended a lovely post-wedding brunch at the Club and then went to Mass at Holy Names Cathedral.
The cathedral was gorgeous on the inside, and of course the minute we walk in, an usher asks if we would bring the gifts to the altar during the Mass. In a panic, we informed him that we were from out of town, but undeterred, he insisted we do them the honor of bringing up the gifts. Scott and I had a swift and muted argument about who would have the pressure of bringing up the wine. He did me the favor of doing it. We brought the gifts up without a hitch, but we might have bowed a few too many times to the altar. I don’t know why we were so nervous, but we have never been asked to do it at our own parish!
When we walked out of the Mass, a bunch of tourists were gawking at the side of the cathedral where the bullet holes can still be seen from the Tommy gun used to mow down one of Al Capone’s rivals during the Prohibition Era. It was kind of a jarring sight after the sacred Mass.
We had a late lunch at the Shake Shack afterward. It was my first Shake Shack experience, even though we just got them here in Atlanta. It was pretty delicious. I’m going to have to investigate the Shake Shack situation here. Then, we wandered around Millennium Park and had drinks with some friends who live in Lincoln Park with their 13 month old baby boy. It was fun seeing a cute family in the Chicago environment.
We had hot dogs from Portillo’s for dinner. I got an insider tip to try a chocolate cake milkshake from there as well, and the tip was good. Delicious, in fact. We meant to go have drinks at the top of the Hancock tower, but we were just too old and tired. Next time.
Monday morning, I awoke bright and early and left Scott snoozing in bed while I went and got a coffee and a croissant and went to enjoy them on a bench by Lake Michigan.
It was the most peaceful breakfast I have had in five years. The water was sparkling, the breeze was blowing, and I marveled at the lake or the skyscrapers behind me. It was a fitting end to a perfect weekend trip with my husband. And I was itching to get back to my babies.