The next stop on the drive across ‘Merica was the outskirts of Chicago, where I stayed with a childhood friend and her husband. Kacey and Mike were married three years ago; they are both teachers and have moved into a beautiful new home since I last visited. Another childhood friend, Jen, came for dinner with her husband and two children. I had not yet met her youngest — Sam, and immediately fell in love:

Visit to Chicago

Yes, those are really his cheeks. No, he is not part-chipmunk.

His older sister isn’t too shabby either:

Visit to Chicago

I’ve mentioned this roughly 100 times, but it is worth saying again: one of the best parts of this phase of life is watching my childhood girlfriends become mothers. They are just so, so good at it. And their little creatures are so fun to love!

The seven of us once talked about all building houses in a cul-de-sac so we could sit outside on our porches drinking wine together, while our kids played. While that adolescent fantasy is unlikely to come to pass, we do make an effort. Auntie Kacey and Uncle Mike love these two almost as much as their parents do.

Visit to Chicago

Today, I dream of us together on vacation, where the kids swim in the ocean, adults bbq on the beach and our friendships continue on in the next generation. Sappy, but the truth. There is little that makes me happier than hearing from petites, and knowing they are doing well.