My mother told me when we were embarking upon Dental School and New York City that this journey in our life would really only be a blip in time, retrospectively. A small star in the galaxy of our days in this life.
At the time, it was a bit of a coping mechanism; Four years isn’t long, they said. It’ll go by fast, they said.
I wrote this post nearly four years ago, the night before we packed up a U-Haul and drove it across the United States from California to New York City. The photos have since been deleted and lost due to a corrupt Photobucket account, but the memories and feelings are clear as day in my mind. It feels like only yesterday, yet also a lifetime ago.
We submitted our move-out date to our building’s management office yesterday: We will pack another U-Haul and drive it back home next month. (I’m not going to make it through this post without crying, so please bear with me. I know you can’t see me, but the emotions are so big right now). Unbelievably, this chapter in our life is coming to a close, and rather than feeling like the curtain is being drawn shut, I am witness to it being pulled open.
What an incredible gift to be able to look back on this blog and read the bits and pieces that I shared in the middle of an incredible life change. Of course, I wish I would have written more. I wish I could write more even now, but the truth is I just don’t have the time. In this moment, Justin is in the shower getting ready to treat his last patients in the dental clinic and our two youngest are in the living room playing with cars. I fall asleep too soon in the evenings lately, my eyes shut unwillingly after wrangling the kids through a marathon night time routine. Another night lost, yet the sleep is so crucial to my well being the following day, so I submit without much of a fight any more.
I’m trying to process all of this, I can hardly believe it’s happening. In the meantime, I just got back from speaking on an incredible panel at Mom 2.0 in Los Angeles, and we’re preparing for Justin’s graduation on Friday. Our families are flying into town today and tomorrow to celebrate the accomplishment that will launch our future and the futures of our children.
I’ve fantasized about his graduation ceremony for the last four years. I will cry and we will smile while our babies will lift their father up with all the pride in the entire world. If it doesn’t happen in life, it will be happening in my mind and heart.
The truth is that while this is an incredibly jubilant time, it is also one of considerable stress much like the way it was when we moved out here, but with less uncertainty about our future. Justin is incredibly fortunate to have an amazing practice to move into once we we are back in the Bay Area, and it happens to be very close to both of our families-a couple of towns over from where we grew up.
I’m torn about going “back” to a life that I wasn’t terribly sad about leaving in the first place. Sure, I miss my family and friends, but we were ready for a new beginning. As beautiful as the place I grew up is, I’m not all that excited about raising my children there-which is only a revelation that came to me recently. My mother teaches in the elementary school that I went to, that I had planned on sending my kids to. It is, by all accounts, the perfect situation. It would be the perfect place for us if we hadn’t already been raised there. The exact familiarity that I longed for so badly in the months after we arrived in Manhattan is the one I’m reluctant to return to. It’s a time and place that I’ve moved past, a shell of what once was.
I’ll leave this city and this experience knowing that I have been changed almost completely having been here. Similar to the birth of my first child, I’ll never go back to the person that I was before living in New York City. For better in most ways, for worse in a few too. I’m far more tolerant, yet incredibly impatient at the same time.
My feet move quickly on the pavement, my heart always beating in sync with the traffic, the lights, the footprints I leave behind me. I rarely make eye contact with strangers any more, yet I’m acutely aware of what is going on around me. My empathy is all encompassing, yet I’m incredibly protective over the beings within my circle. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, and that in and of itself is empowering.
My children are all very excited to move to California-Jack especially. He talks about it so much it’s clear that he never let it out out of his soul. His teachers tell me that he often shares stories about our future there; The large yard around a four bedroom home with a pool in the back yard and a big dog playing ball with him in the grass.
They’ve all absorbed the city life, my youngest two especially. They accept the pace and never mention strangers to me. The millions of different faces are just a part of their everyday life, and I hope that acceptance stays with them forever. That is my most cherished aspect of raising my children here, and with any luck they’ll retain the city love that has developed within them.
When we moved into our apartment, we had a clear and impressive view of the Empire State Building. We’d wait until it got dark outside and watch to see what colors would be illuminated while the kids sat at the window patiently. For the longest time, Zoe actually believed we lived there.
In the last 6 months, a building has been built that completely covers our view.
What once represented home to all of us, the constant fearless lady standing tall and insanely beautiful watching over us is now out of sight. A simple reminder that our days here have come to an end.
We’ll remember New York City as a place where we all grew up in a sense, somewhere I’ll always remember when I look up to the Milky Way; Our own little blip in the galaxy.
I’m ready and excited for our next chapter.
May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.-Fun.