Tracie Hitz

I started blogging on February 14, 2012 to share the successes and failures in all facets of my life in hopes that people can learn from my experiences. Whether it's landing a job or landing a man, building relationships plays a part in being successful so that's why I've shared personal and professional stories here.

In the first year, I posted here everyday with a mix of posts. For the last five months, I've continued to share every Tuesday and Thursday with a bigger focus on the professional side. With an opportunity to write about the personal side on another blog platform beginning June 24, this blog will now focus on the professional side. I will post here every Friday, and hope you will check out my dating blog every Monday and Thursday: http://www.chicagonow.com/hitz-mrs/ You can also see my sports business articles on MigalaReport.com each week.
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This morning, I ran in the neighborhood where I grew up.  My little town of 500 people.  I ran down the same road where my Dad taught me to ride my purple banana seat bike and then 10 years later taught me how to drive stick shift.  My Dad built our house the same year I was born.  My bike is still hanging in the basement.

I opened the cabinet to grab a box of cereal and smiled when I saw several boxes, but only one was open.  That was such a big deal to my Mom when we were growing up.  We weren’t allowed to open a new box of cereal until the old one was gone.  My older brother didn’t really care so much for rules when we were younger, so he would tear into the fresh, new box of Fruity Pebbles while I followed the rules and finished up the old, boring Rice Krispies. 

Now my brother wasn’t a bad kid knocking over liquor stores or anything like that, but he definitely acted first and thought second.  If it weren’t for a stranger grabbing him at the last second, my brother would’ve fallen down into the Smokey Mountains when we were on vacation.  He almost lost an eye when he broke a six-foot mirror when we were playing a game.  And I accidentally kicked out his front teeth when he was being a brat trying to take my shoes off when I was swinging on the playground.

He also said whatever came into his head.  I remember being five or six years old (he is two years older than me) and a distant relative got right up in his face, squeezing his cheeks and telling him how cute he was and he said, “Your breath smells.”

I was mortified.  For the next year or so I became known as “The Mouth”, not because I talked a lot, but because I talked for both of us.  People would ask him how school was and he would look at me and I would answer, “School is good.  He really likes art.  He drew a nice picture of our family last week.”

When we were young, I didn’t understand why my brother did the things he did.  He was impulsive while I always had a plan.  Sometimes two.  I think about everything and take into consideration everyone’s feelings and then I make my decision.  But there was something cool about my brother just seeing an opportunity and taking it.

When we were in grade school, he used to make our lunches.  He LOVED Nutty Bars.  Our lunches were supposed to each have PB&J, Pringles and Nutty Bars.  The lunches I usually ended up finding when I got to the cafeteria were two PB&J sandwiches and Pringles while he was bouncing off the walls after eating two packages of Nutty Bars and Pringles.  I didn’t mind.  I credit him for me never having acne growing up!

We laugh about all of these things now, but as I was running through the neighborhood today, I got to thinking about how cool it is to be able to come home to the same place, but see things completely differently.  My brother and I took different paths our whole lives.  I love that I was able to be part of the life he has built for himself.  He didn’t need his little sister trying to protect him from his decisions even though that’s what I did.

He joined the Navy and started a family right out of high school.  He and his wife are the coolest parents to the funniest boys around.  The oldest one just graduated high school and every time I see him, I have to do a double take because for that split second, I see my brother at that age.  That moment brings back so many memories that I see differently now. 

My brother is still in the reserves and he just returned in January after volunteering to be deployed again last summer.  Act first, think later is one of the reasons I love my brother.  I may not have gotten my fair share of Nutty Bars, but all that I time I thought I was looking out for him, he was really looking out for us all.

I’m getting ready to make the three hour drive up to Chicago this afternoon to spend some time in a place that gives me that same nostalgic feeling after living there for 13 years.  I look at things differently when I leave and come back.  I’m even driving the car I used to own when I lived in Chicago because that’s what we do in our family.  We take care of our things and get the most out of them not only for ourselves, but for other people. 

My Dad bought my old car to have an extra one around for whoever needs it because he fixes our cars or other people’s cars whenever they need it.  When he found out I needed the car to get around Chicago for the next 10 days, he rotated the tires, replaced the horn, changed the oil, changed the spark plugs and more.  The car was in perfectly good shape as it was.  He drives it everyday.  But that’s my Dad.  He’s the one who taught me to always have a plan.  He wanted to make sure he did everything he could to make sure I was safe.

It made me think about my first car.  It was also both of my brothers’ first car.  It was a Mustang.  It sounds cooler than it was.  It was a 1978 (only three years younger than me!) and it was painted peach.  My oldest brother is eight years older than me so I thought there was no way that car would last long enough for me to have to drive it.  Never underestimate the power of my Dad’s plans.

In true typical teenage girl fashion, I refused to drive it.  I had a fit.  I tried to talk my way into any other car in the world.   It was old.  It was rusty.  It was ugly.  My parents weren’t budging so I had to come up with a new plan.  I sanded down the entire car and painted it red.  My goal was to make it less embarrassing, but what I got out of the experience was quality time with my Dad and my Grandpa.  Looking back now, that was the moment that set me on this path of independence.

Recently I realized I’m ready to come up with a plan that allows me to give up some of that independence to find someone who will teach me things the rest of my life.  Watch out, Chicago!