Big City of Dreams
From where I sit at my desk in the corner of our master bedroom typing this, there are three diplomas on the wall. All three belong to my husband, and he worked incredibly hard for those achievements. Rather than being a brag-wall for himself, those diplomas are hanging proudly for our children to see and eventually understand how they came to be. While Justin’s education in dental school wasn’t always easy with three young children, I am so grateful for that experience for them. They watched him study for hours at home and leave for even longer during school days. They sat at his graduation and watched him receive his diploma, and while they might not know the gravity of that moment, they’ll have a visual to return to when they can understand it.
I’ve been so fulfilled within my role as a mother and wife that it’s often overshadowed my desire to achieve something for myself, on my very own. After starting this blog and finding an avenue within it that I could use my creativity, I started to remember how good it felt to accomplish things on a personal level. I found a perfect medium where I could spend my days with my children, while taking photos of them and our adventures and writing about our experiences as a young family in Manhattan. Slowly I began to come into my own in more than one way, and perhaps a little later than is the standard, but it was happening and it was wonderful. It was confidence, excitement, inspiration and ambition and it was everything.
I feared losing these rediscoveries when we moved from Manhattan back to California. I feared returning to the self that I didn’t quite remember and was happy to have grown from. The most surprising thing happened instead, however, with the explosion of our photos of Theo and Beau on the internet, and the opportunities that arose from it. None of which would have happened if we had stayed in Manhattan.
Life is so interesting in it’s lessons.
My trip to New York City last week was everything that I had hoped it would be. Even though I lived there just several short months ago, I had never truly experienced it on my own terms. It was a long time to be away from my children and my family-longer than I liked-but it was just enough time to ease out of the discomfort of being away from them and be able to focus on me. I can’t say that I’ve really done that since becoming a mother 7 years ago, and it certainly wasn’t a natural transition. It was something that I really needed to do though, for my own benefit and even the benefit of my family and people that depend on me.
I took the time to meet with dear friends, I ate at restaurants that I’d always wanted to go to but had never been, I visited the parks now covered in snow that I had once taken my children to play in. The poignancy of these moments brought tears to my eyes, not because I missed them but because I knew that this was exactly the closure I had needed.
I even stood in the cronut line at Dominique Ansel’s twice (to no avail, but at least I tried).
Most importantly, I signed the contract for my two book deal with Feiwel & Friends, a Macmillan imprint, in their offices in the historic Flatiron building. The Flatiron happens to be the neighborhood closest to our old home and the one in which we spent the most time. Jack and Zoe and eventually Beau played in Madison Square park all year ’round, and some of my best memories were made with my them in that neighborhood, with that building as the backdrop.
I’d always wanted to go inside, knowing that it holds so much magic and endless stories from the years since it was built, but I never actually thought I would.
I met with the publishing team and my agent, and we went through the layout, design and wording of my forthcoming children’s book Naptime with Theo and Beau. It was one of the most incredible days of my life, and while I was disappointed that my family wasn’t in that room with me, it was almost as though I needed to reach this monumental achievement in my life on my own. It felt really good to arise to this benchmark-one that will impact all of our lives in the future-on my own and savor the moment as it should be.
It goes without saying that I’m incredibly excited about the books coming in the next couple of years. I can’t wait to show my kids the books when they are published, but more than that I am looking forward to the moment of sharing one of my accomplishments with them. This might not be a diploma on the wall, but it’ll be something tangible that will live on their bookshelves that I made, a physical representation of my heart and my goals all in one. I want them to see that they can be anything they want to be, as long as they follow exactly what they love and what inspires them in their heart. It took me thirty four years to realize this, but the brilliance of parenthood is being offered a second chance at doing something they way you believe it ought to be done the first time.
This week in Manhattan was everything and nothing that I expected, but it was exactly the trip that I needed. I’ve struggled so much with transitioning from being a full time parent and sharing my focus with fulfilling my personal dreams at the same time. It’s challenged me in ways that I never expected and honestly it hasn’t been all that pretty at times. I do want my children to see my successes as well as their father’s though, and something that important certainly won’t come easy. NYC has this incredibly magical and mystical side to it though, and I came home even more fulfilled and inspired as a person and most importantly as a parent.