Road Full of Promise: Two Years
Today marks the second birthday of one of the coolest, most poignant projects of my life. I’ve been blogging now for two years exactly, and while it feels about right, I’m still in awe at the freedom and joy that documenting our journey to New York City from California has brought me.
When I started this blog, I expected it to be an online journal of our lives, assuming that our family and friends would be the only ones reading it (how on earth would anyone find it otherwise, right?). Then again, I knew that this would be mostly for me, my husband and eventually our children. We were about to embark on the most significant adventure of our lives as a family, and I was petrified.
We were diving deep into the abyss that is financial uncertainty and the precariousness of raising a family in one of the priciest cities in the country-on nothing but dental school loans. We even considered joining the army. We aren’t trust fund babies or heirs to some great fortune, but we have a solid set of family members interlacing their fingers and creating a gigantic net in case we falter.
Many of our family and friends voiced their concerns and doubts at our ability to make it work, for Justin to obtain a degree successfully while keeping our marriage and family life in loving tact. Not to mention what felt to everyone-including us-the absurdity of bringing toddlers to the middle of Manhattan. No matter the doubts we had or faced, we forged ahead. Before leaving for Manhattan, we took a trip to Las Vegas and renewed our vows, walk-in chapel style, solidifying our love and trust in one another.
Crunch time came, and I turned to my writing for an escape: we were hopping on a Wing and a Prayer, and I was terrified and very intimidated. I felt comfortable and content in our little town with all of our people. What I had yet to learn was how significantly life improves when you set yourself free and live by your own rules, facing your greatest fears head on.
One of those fears was living away from my mother and sister for the first time ever. This remains one of my greatest challenge to date, but we are learning to savor the short and sweet moments that we have every few months or so, and relying on iChat and phone calls to get us through.
When it came time to find an apartment in New York City and say goodbye to our life in California, I was overwhelmed with stress, excitement, fascination, sorrow, and fear. You never know what you are made of until you’re completely stripped of all of your bearings. None of this was easy, and I fell quite short of graceful on more than one occasion.
When we landed in Manhattan with our family for the first time, it was like we were in a movie, living someone else’s life, and for the most part- I really liked it. I couldn’t remember the last time I had been to New York City as a child, but I learned very quickly that I am, in fact, cut out to be a city dwelling soul.
Justin started dental school at NYU and I took the kids on the M16 bus across town for the first time by myself.. A few weeks later, I braved the subway and took them to Central Park. That day remains one of my favorite memories.
Our life set in, as well as the panic. The doubts we all had came pouring in as the weather turned and I realized how alone we really are here. I quickly became consumed by fear again, and booked a trip home to California no less than our second month out here. It was exactly the breath of fresh air we needed before heading into a crazy winter.
We saw the balloons being inflated for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and decorated our first Christmas (fake and easily stored!) tree as an urban family., and learned the true magic of New York City during the holidays.
It was right around now that things started to change for Momma’s Gone City. Out of the blue, I was invited to interview Peter Hermann for Time to Talk Day. I couldn’t figure out why they wanted me or how they even found me, but I wasn’t going to turn it down! Rookie move take one. We were then invited to Madison Square Garden to see Sesame Street Live, an opportunity that was so incredibly special, as we wouldn’t normally splurge on such grand entertainment.
We experienced our first introduction to the insanity that is preschool registration in New York City. Jack developed a nasty allergy to tree nuts and pollen, and he was quickly diagnosed with Reactive Airway Disease. Caring for your ailing babies alone in a big, busy city is nothing short of completely terrifying. It’s also a sure fire way to tiptoe over your breaking point. I am not the same person I used to be; I’m not exactly a “hardened” New Yorker, but I certainly won’t sit weeping in traffic when I can run with the stroller.
Easter came, and I cooked my very first holiday meal without the help of my mother or the company of any family. It was bittersweet yet full of joy for the four of us.
Through this little website of mine, I started getting invited to more and more events and even meeting celebrities.. I couldn’t quite figure out what was happening, but I liked it. It was the perfect escape to my own little life, and it was mine.
Travel became an issue, and so my obsession with strollers officially began, just as Summer was peeking around the corner. Life was feeling really quite normal and glorious.
That July, I was invited to my first blogging conference, and I was introduced to some amazing people, new friends, and welcomed into an incredible online community with open arms. My life was changing because of this blog, and I embraced it with everything I had.
In the fall of 2010, I had reached what felt like the end-all-be-all of my blogging career. One of my lifelong dreams was to attend Fashion Week, and I was not only given the opportunity to attend, but to cover a show or two backstage as well.
The kids had their television debut on the Wendy Williams Show, and we celebrated our first Halloween in New York City.
Just when I think that I’ve robbed the golden goose and somehow landed in someone else’s privileged life, I was informed of my spot on Babble’s Top 50 Mom Blogs. When I say that I began this blog without a goal, it is true to an extent. To see what has come from writing from my heart and building a community from strangers-and then being recognized with the tippy top bloggers around? It was beyond my comprehension and completely incredible.
I’ve begun to lay my roots down here, after the resistance and fear of doing so in such a foreign place. It feels normal and completely right for our life in many ways. I’m not perfect as a mother, but I’m slowly figuring out how to make it work and for our lives to run like a well greased machine… not something that is easy in any corner of the universe.
Between the four of us, we’ve mustered through the darkness of not having any friends, not knowing our surroundings, feeling completely alone and unsafe in our new surroundings. It’s been maddening, remarkable, frustrating and surprising, and it was necessary. Through the haze we have found ourselves anew, and a part of a community and neighborhood that we love.
Throughout our two years in New York City and personally here at this blog, we have been very lucky and quite privileged. Don’t think for a second that we don’t recognize or appreciate every single day and moment.
This is our city, and I have a few choice words to those that doubted us in the beginning:
Just look at us now.
Thank you to everyone that held us up along the way and believed in us from day one. I wouldn’t be feeling as safe and content in my shoes if it wasn’t for your comments and continuous support and love, both online through this blog and off-as they seem to have blended nearly perfectly.
It’s kind of crazy to think of how much my life has changed because of this blog, and I have you all to thank. My plans and goals are changing and growing, and it’s a fascinating time to be here, right now.
You’ve had a lot of change over the last two years, and it’s been enjoyable being witness to it so far! 🙂
I’ve loved having you as a witness, Adam! Thank you.
Happy Blog Birthday!! There’s really something about your writing style that makes me feel like I’m having a conversation with you. You’re very down to earth, funny, compassionate and relatable (plus I just love your photos). It’s been a pleasure to read through your journey so congrats on many more years to come 🙂
I can’t tell you what this does for me. Thank you, truly.
our Ever Elizabeth had RSV at 3 months old and was hospitalized…and now we have to do breathing treatments occasionally when she gets sick. i know how terrifying it is. good job momma, and congratulations on all your success, it’s awesome!!!
I cannot imagine RSV at 3 months… especially when they are that fragile. I’m glad to hear it is under control. Thank you, and ditto!
I arrived in NYC many moons ago to start a career in television and I remember exactly how you feel. I still get jittery when my plane lands in NYC after being away. I love the city so much. I am so happy that being here has been such a blessing for you and I wish you many more days of NYC magic.
I LOVE hearing stories like this. There is something about this city that will always be intoxicating for me. Thank you so much Holly, I wish you the same as well!
What a wonderful post! I love reading about your journey and I’m so happy to have met you….I can’t wait to see where the future goes! New York really is incredible – the place where dreams are made of and possibility is everything!! Congratulations on everything!
Thank you, Sarah!! I appreciate that. I’ve loved getting to know you and your story as well. Looking forward to many shared experiences with you guys! 🙂
Congratulations! I love how your blog is a perfect love letter to your family and NYC.
Perfectly put, Marinka! Thank you… I hope my children get something out of it someday.
what a great look back at two years of blogging and two years of city living! we moved from nyc to the suburbs and i still miss it and look forward to our nyc “vacations” we take for a week every summer. it really is the best city in the world.
Congratulations on two years of blogging! I loved reading your unexpected blogging story and the adventures it brought you. All the best for the future!
happy 2 years! i love, love reading about your journey. i live vicariously through you with the city life. 😉 i’m a country girl at heart, but you definitely make me want to visit nyc!
keep it up, girl!
Aw! I love this. New York City has been a relationship I could not let go of… It is the best place. I am glad you found happiness and success here. Good luck! wendy b.
it’s so amazing everything you have been through and been able to do! I don’t remember what brought me to your blog, but it was very near the beginning, and it has been fun to follow your journey. we actually have a lot in common, from how our marriages began, to having young children close in age, and we even moved across the country to cities we didn’t know at all at the same time. Although, I went to Omaha, which is not nearly as exciting or daunting as NYC! I can’t wait to see what great things you do in the future – and even though i hardly ever comment, know I’m always here reading!
Jessica, I’m in awe of your writing and your heart. Both beautiful. I may not get on here often enough to respond, but I love reading your posts. 🙂 Hope to see you this summer 🙂
Congrats on two years, Jess! I admire you so much and I am SO proud of you! You rock, Momma! xx