A few nights ago, JP and I were laying in bed rambling about random things (or rather, I was rambling about random things, he was mostly responding and wishing I could go to sleep like a normal person with a 6-week old at 11:30 p.m.):
ME, after pondering the passage of time: Would you have believed when we started dating that 13 years later we'd be married for 8 years and have 3 kids?
JP: Yeah, what else would have happened?
ME: Hmm, I guess that's true. Actually I think the hardest thing for me to believe is that we live in Fort Worth, Texas.
ME: But you wanted to stay in Texas.
JP: Yeah, but I didn't know Fort Worth was a real city then.
ME: You're asleep aren't you?
JP: Is that allowed now?
ME: Speaking of 13 years ago, remember when we used to talk all night until 3 and 4 in the morning and then go to swim practice on an hour's sleep? That was fun. We don't do that anymore.
JP: Maybe something to do with those 3 kids.
ME: And you ran out of words.
JP: That too.
ME: I still have words.
JP, with a special mix of love and resignation: You always do.
It made me smile and I let him go to sleep. My insomnia was all stirred up, so I just lay in bed for a while looking at our wall of windows. I left college with the intention of leaving Texas and followed through by only applying to law schools out of state. We drove to Chicago two days after we got married, but JP yanked me back immediately after I graduated (actually, 2 weeks before), and then I pulled us to Fort Worth, the most Texas-y of places, four years later.
I loved living in the city of Chicago and while I often still wish we lived in the downtown of a big city, I have no interest in living in the suburbs or outskirts of one. I think that's why I like Fort Worth so much. It's still a city- it's no Chicago, but there's still buildings and culture and restaurants (and a lot of history and charm), and we can actually afford to live in a house in a downtown neighborhood that lets us enjoy it. Because if I can't have Chicago or Manhattan or DC, I might as well be in this perfect little blend of an urban neighborhood where the trees are big and the houses are old and lovely, where we can walk to things, and where we use the city's museums and parks and zoos on a near weekly basis. It is nowhere I ever thought we'd be and the only thing more surprising than the fact that we live here is how much I love it.
And on a Fort Worthy note, we stopped by the downtown water gardens yesterday to get the kids out of the house and drag on the poor 3rd baby some more.
The water gardens are one of my favorite free Fort Worthy things. It's just a previously empty city block turned into an architectural wonderland of cement and water.
There's the loud and fun Active Pool, the calming Aerial Pool with its fountains and always a rainbow or two, the kids' favorite Mountain with dozens of steps and ledges to climb, and the serene Quiet Pool with its giant trees and water cascading walls.
I miss Austin as much as I miss Chicago as much as I love Fort Worth. I often wonder how long we'll live here and where I'll love to live next.