I don’t compartmentalize well, in my mind or tangibly. Everything moves along together down the stream and I travel with it, keeping the flow as well as I can.
The last month has proven rather difficult for me to follow the rhythm and tide of the hours and days, but I’ve remained afloat and even paddled right in sync when I needed to. Anyone that’s ever been caught in an undertow knows that it’s very, very difficult to fight the natural current. I let down my resistance and urge to control every last thing, and everything fell into place just as it was supposed to.
My last days in New York City were emotional. We built a raft in that little apartment piece by piece over those four years, and even when I thought the leaks would surely give way to floods, we managed to duct tape the areas that felt so precarious and thinly worn and sailed that baby to the shore.
I walked through the streets alone one last time while the kids were with my mother. My purpose was to finally grab a highly coveted cronut from Dominique Ansel’s bakery in SoHo before I lost my chance. I arrived three hours after opening, three hours too late and they had sold out, but my walk back home was the real reason I went out. I needed to say goodbye and thank the city that changed me forever, and somewhere around Union Square I finally found a bit of closure. (One of my first Instagram videos was this particular walk. You can see it here.)
JayZ’s Empire State of Mind came through my headphones, a song that became my soundtrack when we first arrived in Manhattan. The words of that song carried me during many moments of fear and uncertainty.
In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made
There’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you, let’s hear it for New York
I walked back to our building, taped up a few last boxes and watched as my husband, his father and a dear friend perfectly tetrised our belongings into a 16 foot Penske truck. I took one last photo of Jack and Zoe in our “back yard” and jumped into the black Cadillac with my mom, the kids, and our cat, bound for JFK airport.
And the same photo, four years earlier:
> > > > < < < <
My parents divorced the summer before I began the second grade. My mom, my sister and I moved from Ohio to California, and while I don’t remember disliking our new home, the adjustment to the shift in our family was far more to process. I’m still processing it well into my thirties, as I watch my own family change and grow.
Part of me is consumed with anxiety that taking the kids away from their friends will inevitably affect them, although they have become used to their friends and peers moving away often. It’s a daily conversation, they miss their buddies and I allow them to send emoji riddled texts from my phone to their mother’s phones.
I miss you Jade, Love Jack. *heart fireworks balloon sunshine taxi*
> > > > < < < <
The first few weeks in Santa Cruz have been busy, as a move generally goes. A few days after Justin and his dad arrived in the truck and we began the process of moving into our new home, we took the kids to pick up our cable and WiFi hookups. One of our first family adventures in our new town proved to be the ultimate moment of clarity for me. In the dank Comcast parking lot, I sat with the kids in our loaner SUV waiting for what felt like forever for Justin to emerge.
When he finally did, instinctually I counted: Jack, Zoe, Beau, mom, daddy.
We are whole.
No matter where we are or how our life physically changes, we have eachother and we are… Wow. We are so lucky.
The haze and frayed edges that had surrounded my mind in the past few weeks had finally calmed and smoothed. Thousands of miles between homes, yet we have each other and we are going to be just fine.
I just wanted to thank you for your wonderfully touching posts! I’ve just moved my family (husband and 6 month old daughter) to Germany from Washington DC and reading your story has given me a great perspective!
Such a touching story. It’s wonderful to read your amazing adventure of life. My husband and I have been considering a move and we spoke to a psychologist to see what the repercussions of this type of decision would have on our 4 and 2 year olds and he said, as long as the family structure was together the children would adjust because its the family that matters. Your post rings so true to these words! Best of luck on your left coast adventures!
As always your words are beautiful! I wish you all the best in your new home and the next phase of your story. 🙂
No one else is so perfectly a NYC girl and such a Cali girl as YOU, Jess. I remember when Empire State of Mind came on at BlogHer last year, and it was great dancing to that with you. LOVE YOU, from coast to coast! 🙂 xoxo
Just beautiful! All the best to you 🙂
What a beautiful post, Jess! All the best to you and your family during this next (exciting) chapter in your life. xo
My husband has about a year and a half left of school and every summer we move, as a family, to a new city for his summer internships. We considered him going on his own for the summers to avoid making the kids crazy but we realized that being together is definitely what would keep the family sane. We are about to pack up our third summer apartment and head back to home for the new semester. This post resonates soundly as I mentally prepare for the drive home. It’s always good to know other people have done it and survived!! 🙂
Beautiful post, Jessica. ♥
Your adjustment has been hard for me to grasp… I’ve never known you as a California girl, only the NYC one. I can’t wait to see what adventures you and your beautiful family encounter back “home”. Much love to you, friend!
Lovely writing. Thanks for sharing what has been a busy, challenging, life-changing experience. Can’t wait to hear more.
Thankful to hear everyone has made this cross country move safely! You have a remarkable gift of expressing your life experiences with writing. Beautiful family and a new season of your life….stay in touch, we love all of you!
Beautiful post! We moved our family from NY to Belgium last year and there have been times when I have question whether we did the right thing picking up the girls (at the time 4 & 6 ) from what they have known their whole lives and transplanting them to something new in so many ways. But then I look at the ways that we have grown as a family this year, absolutely needing to depend on each other in this foreign place, and I know that I will never know what the ‘right’ thing to do is. Every decision has it’s costs and benefits, and going with the flow is how I deal with it best. Living in the moment is suiting me very well for right now, and I am really really enjoying these moments while I have them. We are so happy and settled where we are now, and that is really what matters the most. We have the opportunity to go all of these great places, but sometimes just sitting home in our own backyard watching the kids play is exactly what we need to do. I felt that yesterday in a moment of clarity. I enjoy following your instagram photos – they capture the wonderful moments of a happy family very well. (And as much as I love it other places, the lines that you wrote out of the jay z song get me everytime too)
Beautiful, Jessica. Just like you. xo
Just found your blog because friends are sharing your adorable puppy post on facebook. Love this post, because we are moving back to the bay area this summer from Manhattan, after 3 wonderful years in this city. And I’m not sure how I’ll say goodbye, it will be so hard to leave this place!