I have loved you all my days.
In my younger years, I loved the Reds games at Riverfront Stadium, Girl Scout sleepovers at the Museum Center, and afternoons scouting the latest Baby-Sitters Club book at the Symmes Library.
When I worked downtown after college, I enjoyed lunches on Fountain Square, happy hours amid the business district renaissance, weeknight Skyline and baseball games under the lights, and racing through downtown landmarks on the Cincinnati Scurry course.
Now that I’m a mom, I’m seeing my beloved hometown through a new lens, but with the magical influence of nostalgia.
Queen City, I may need a separate letter of love to your libraries. I take my kids to the same branch where my heart lept – and still skips a beat – at the aisles of books. The stack we haul out the door feels like bringing home an armful of adventures. Only when I became a motherhood insider did I learn about the (free) storytimes – in person or virtual (thanks, Miss Kerri at Blue Ash!) – and (free) play areas that offer a much-needed change of scenery on winter days.
The City of Seven Hills, thank you for your beautiful green space. I’m exploring new-to-me locales, like Alms (best Lunken airplane views), Glenwood Gardens (best treehouse and outdoor trains), and Weller (best-shaded playground).
Our go-to is still Sharon Woods, my elementary oasis, where the old charms are preserved alongside the new. The boys and I wade together through the harbor playground’s winding creek, retracing my childhood footsteps.
Oh, Queen of the West, we love your nationally renowned Zoo, its exhibits ever-expanding yet still familiar. The Children’s Museum at the Cincinnati Museum Center is a wonder-filled gem (diggers, “woods,” water play, a kid-sized neighborhood) buried beneath the Omnimax, where I once field-tripped in its inaugural year.
Cincy, I thank you for your top-notch Children’s Hospital, with the world’s largest Ronald McDonald House right next door. In moments of weariness and worry for our kids’ health, the conscientious, child-focused care our boys received nearly brought me to tears. Thank you, too, for the schools, where we find ourselves in the fortunate position of choosing between great and excellent education for our children.
My dear Cincinnati, did I forget anything?
We both know I did. This ode just scratched the surface. My hope is that you reveal to newcomers the many attributes that make our region an ideal place to raise a family.
Some may call me sheltered or unadventurous for never living anywhere else. Some may think the “born-and-raised” are missing out on the advantages of other cities. For me, the joy of reliving my childhood while creating a new one for my kids in this family-friendly town is one sweet and memorable journey.
Thank you, Cincinnati.
One grateful mom