Hinsdale roots solid ground for next generation

It took Alyssa Harris a few months to come to terms with settling down in the town of her upbringing, now with offspring of her own.

"I felt a bit of impostor syndrome," she confessed of the move in April of 2021, "where I'm walking around seeing my friends' parents or my parents' friends, saying, 'Hi Mrs. and Mr. So-and-so,' feeling like I was a kid playing an adult."

Alyssa, husband Alec and son Theo, 2, lately have been adjusting to being a family of four after the arrival of daughter Grace in June. Grace, for her part, seems perfectly content, earning The Hinsdalean's Happiest Baby distinction for 2022 (see cover photo).

"She is very chill so far," Alyssa said of her 6-month-old. "She's the kind of baby that lulls people into thinking that all babies are good and easy."

Theo, somewhat surprisingly, hasn't minded sharing the spotlight.

"Every morning, he immediately wants to go into her room, and he'll open the door and say, 'Baby! Baby!' "Alyssa said. "He smiles at her and gives her kisses. It's really sweet."

Alec said experience has been a useful tool with a second child, to a point.

"What's a glass of water when you're drowning?" he quipped, half-jokingly. "We're keeping our heads afloat and learning to appreciate this time that we have because you start to realize how fast it goes."

With Theo born during the pandemic while the couple was still living in largely shuttered Chicago, Alyssa said they were eager to embrace the community's summer's delights with Grace.

"Three days after she was born, we were with her at the Fine Arts Festival in downtown Hinsdale," she said.

Trying to navigate COVID-19 in three-story walk-up in Bucktown hastened their westward relocation, said Alec, who had visited Hinsdale with Alyssa earlier in their relationship.

"I always was really impressed with the town," he commented. "We were blessed when we were fortunate enough to put ourselves in a position to raise our family in the suburbs. It was realizing that we have to do what's right for (Theo) and our family."

Alyssa relishes that she and her two sisters have conveniently had their children within months of one another.

"Having babies all around the same time is really great, lots of cousins close in age," she said.

Balancing working from home with parenting has compelled her to rearrange her priorities.

"It's made me a little more patient, just because you have to realize things aren't just about you any more," she said.

Alyssa's parents also have moved back to Hinsdale, providing a vital support network. Walking their dog Lula has helped them connect with neighbors, and Theo has a gregarious side.

"Right now his personality is pretty centered around cars and trucks and trains," Alyssa said with a laugh, "but he's very social."

Both Alec and Alyssa try to make space for personal social outlets. When they have the energy, that is.

"I thought I was tired doing medical residency shifts, but raising kids is exhausting," Alec said.

The two look forward to the parenting path ahead, mystery and all. But for 2023, returning to more familiar rhythms is one wish.

"Settling back into a routine would be lovely," Alec said.

- by Ken Knutson

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean