09/26/2012 02:56 pm ET Updated Nov 26, 2012

Leaving Home

Well, I'm headed out of town for Morocco soon.

I know, little tiny violins.

But the truth of the matter is, leaving Chicago is hard.

It's like I'm going to miss a big step in little Chicago's life -- I'm going to miss it's staggering steps into fall. By the time we get back, it's going to be winter; all the leaves will be gone, wind and cold will be whipping. I'm ready for cold and windy, I'm okay with that. What I'll miss is the switch. I want to be here to watch the leaves turn. I want to be here when everyone talks about honey-crisps. I want to watch while they put up muted, haunted decorations in Daley Plaza. Hundreds of tourists will look from the Cultural Center onto Millennium Park and marvel at the trees and the Bean and I won't be there to heighten their experience. It's all going to happen without me.

I'm no parent, but I feel like a mom who has to be away for a baseball game, or a father who is missing the class play for that important meeting. I want to explain to Chicago that I won't be here, insist it's only temporary. Hug Chicago, tell her it's not her, it's us -- we have to leave, but it's only for a bit...

I've been on extended trips before, away from home. It's not like this is new right? And believe me I've had trips in the past when I didn't even really want to come home. When we went to Thailand in 2008, I wanted to stay there forever. I know I'll love Morocco too, but this time there's more on the line. There's more at stake. Chicago has become my passion, my release, my comfort... my friend.

It is strange to abandon my friend when she's ready to shed her leaves, to close up shop for the winter. Any goodbye I say to her now will be too early. And by the time she really needs me, when she's at her most vulnerable, I'll be gone -- riding camels in the Sahara.

My plea to you Chicagoans, is to take care of her for me. Watch over her. Treat her right, let her go gently into that dark (and freezing cold) night. And let her know most of all that I'll come back.

Because I always come back.