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My Chi Mama Gratitude

image courtesy of #addictedtogoodeats

My college daughter is home for Thanksgiving break and we had a delightful breakfast catch-up at Chicago’s Soho House. The Soho was her choice and both their food and coffee were amazing, as they are in many places across our wonderful city. I truly believe we are The Best Food City in this country, both in cuisine variety and price diversity… we have great cheap eats and high end gourmet fare. And, my family loves it all!

I am most grateful for this food industry. It has provided many cultural and community experiences for my family, and unleashed some incredible creativity in my gal. She has been inspired in experimental baking, nurtured as a good cook and her amazing food scene creativity has flourished in social media and advertising (her college major).

That said, there’s a lot that goes along with growing up in an urban environs and living deep within diverse socio-economic blended community. She’s lived through countless perils, been immersed in blended ethnicity classroom settings and some intense Chicago Public School not-so-cool dynamics. Those settings have not always been comfortable or safe, especially by suburban flight mindset standards. Yet, they have given her some hard-earned grit and an understanding of her “white” privilege, which I consider yet another Chicago gift.

My gal sees many of America’s systemic challenges much clearer than I did at her age. The pain she endured at the hands of some hurting kids in certain tough seasons has turned into some deep understanding. I am now grateful for those times, though they were agonizing to parent through! Despite and because of those crazy times, my gal has flourished with the breadth of both her good and bad experiences. She sees our city’s greatness and it's accompanying violence as complicated as all of the people who call this city home.

She’s also acquired a diverse group of friends, a big heart and attempts to stand for what’s right for all humans' common good in tough situations. Her college minor is Latino/Latina Studies and she is fluent in Spanish because of her grade school language immersion program. High school dynamics with her inner city public high school experiences were elevated to a different set of equal high and low scenarios. Yet, I am always reminded of her declaration to me after she made her college choice. “Mom, I had to choose a public university with diversity... because some days I just can’t stand my own race.” Well said my young one. You are way ahead of understanding what greatness is and is not. You see how our neighbors and your school peers have struggled under systemic forms of domination, mostly created and labeled “great” by your created “white” race heritage tribe.

I know that she and her young friends will continue to wrestle with this era’s challenges and their inherited personal garbage stuff… all of us humans do. Yet, I have such great hope for this generation to bring a united “with” mindset to our country, embracing diversity and creativity with it's incredible possibilities for even better common good.

Thank you Chicago, for nurturing my gal into seeing so much life in people and food… may she and her friends truly further the cause of creating community, fostering creativity and establishing access towards even more liberty and justice for All.

PS - To be clear, this Chi mama frequently reminds the college gal that her normalized college sorority experiences are also part of an elite private/privileged club choice … And, elite privilege also is carried over into the beautiful private upper floors of this Soho House scene, which we truly enjoyed!

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