I've been on the edge lately. (You know how I get on the edges of things.) I'm completely aware that it's happening, and yet not able (or not willing?) to stop it; and so, it can be a few hours or a few days, or sometimes, sadly, in this case, a few weeks of feeling...well, sad, for lack of the right word. Then there you have it: I sob over a picture of Roscoe. I well up seeing our old green couch on Instagram, perfectly happy in its new home. I watch videos of memories and parties and songs sung in that squeaky little house. And as these little details seemed severe and profoundly sad, I begin to worry that we have done a terrible, awful thing.
This was different than mourning closing a chapter of life. Because you do that. You move from one thing to the next; and I, for one, tend to allow myself during these transitions the fullest grief necessary. No, this was more like a sadness and maybe an anger at myself because I want to be happy living here in this place I love and can't understand why I'm suddenly not all the way that? It's just so abruptly hitting me, the loss of novelty and confrontation of a real life livedhere. Also I wanted to realize what I had back there in that life when I had it. Because did I?
"Sarah, you're so wasteful!" was the next basic train of thought. You see, before we moved to New York, I was just convinced that life had become hard enough or decidedly unlike our expectations enough to merit calling myself "unhappy." I worry that because of these chunks of time where I sort of fade into -- (what are we calling this?), I'm robbed of the happiness that should be mine. This is your basic lack of presentness. I worry I'm not present enough in the present; then future me scolds past me for not being present then while simultaneously not being present now. Follow?
I make bad choices in my weepy states because as morbid as it sounds, sometimes it feels good to feed the feeling. So I read all of my old life essays, mostly notes about the things we did in Denver and how much we loved it. I realized we weren't unhappy at all, and in fact life was really full. (I became very grateful for that decision I made to record the sweetest and purest of life's happiness.) But I read all of that in the wrong mental state, and so it was just more fear of wasting, more concern that we'd tossed all the good away and a refusal to admit all that we've lived here that has already been so good and everything the real core of me craves.
This post in particular hit me hard because it was just this picture of traveling through time: us as kids and then us with kids and musings for the part that came next. I think mostly it described the level of comfort and familiarity that comes with nearly seven years of young life somewhere--and while that seems mundane when you're in it, it is also quite necessary for the soul and growing up. That was the real joy in driving by the old ivy-covered apartment and in seeing the lights on the Channel 7 building, traditions that we won't uphold for the first time in many years this year but were ours nonetheless.
My friend Belle invited me to the Bugaboo by Diesel event last week; and when you get invited to these things, you go, because you've spent years reading about them on blogs and, like, wow! I can be there now? It was lively and I drank a sour pink cocktail and met some editors and schmoozed with familiar faces, and then we left. And Belle said, "Let's find a diner!" This was in Midtown and we walked through all these old stately, ornate buildings. We talked about Thanksgiving and Christmas in New York and Belle was wearing her big fur coat and it all felt so remarkably like a movie. I got a little butterfly in my stomach, one that I hadn't been feeling for New York in my few weeks of sadness, and I begged it flap its wings a little faster so that I could really feel the excitement once more! We drank cappuccinos and ate cheesecake and looked at the pictures of old stars on the walls. We flagged cabs home, and, as an aside, mine took me on the worst cab ride of my life, which I survived, and so I think my New Yorker status grew three sizes that night. If you're wanting to be romantic for New York, Belle is always your girl.
I was way uptown by then, and that ride back to Brooklyn is rather lengthy. I slouched into my seat and rolled down the window because, for some reason, when I'm in a cab, it feels right to have cold wind in my face. I craned my neck to look up, up, up at those buildings, encircled by some magical mist and I nurtured those movie feelings from earlier. I perked up when I realized that we were going to go through Grand Central--there's a roadway for cabs, and once, when we first moved here and took the girls to see the trains and eat Shake Shack, Trev had driven down this road by mistake and we found ourselves skipping over regular traffic along with a mob of yellow taxis.
Then I cried again. This time I wasn't sad! I was happy! We are just a few months in, and there I was, recalling funny stories and memories of us here together and in it. From here on out, every time we pass Grand Central, when I take the girls there on a train trip or when we're showing off my favorite spot to tourist friends, I'll say, "And this one time..." It was such a simple thing, but it stirred my heart in a way that New York butterflies could never aspire to do. Yes, this place is magic; but my heart knows where it belongs. Sarah, my dear, you are not a waster! You can hold those precious years in Denver in the highest regard and be thankful for what they were, and you can love this new place fully because you are where you belong and you are with your people.
So often I slight myself simply by thinking too much. This is an observation I freely dole out to those seeking my advice (or not); but maybe I feel it's my right to overthink because I'm a writer and a storyteller and so it goes with the territory? But I'm tired of these self-accusations that I'm not good enough or in it enough or keeping everyone else happy enough or, heck, keeping myself happy enough! This is it. This is where we are! I did love it there, even if not all the time; and I'll love it here and I will commit myself to that and see the beauty in it! What we had there was familiar, and we will have that here too. Just as sure as I knew where I was from Grand Central Station to my house and as I've gotten to the point of bumping into friends on the sidewalk home from the park, I will feel at home here. Suddenly all the sadness felt so silly because, my love, he brought me here and he made my dreams come true. He is making memories with me wherever we go and we've got a whole lifetime to keep doing that. Sure there are a million other things I could drag into the picture--considerations, exceptions, worries, and the like; but why, when that's the only picture I ever cared about seeing? Me and him, and that's it. Us. And then everything else.
Mondays are now busy days for us because Iris goes to school. It's fun and grounding for her, and I have this sweet time with Edi. I was coming down (up?) from all these overly-emotional weeks and I felt tired, a bit rattled maybe. "Let's walk!" I said to Edi, and she looked at the stroller and said, "I walk too!" So I pushed an empty stroller and she wrapped her chubby hand around my finger, and we walked down the slope with no schedule or agenda. Edi had her little Hello, Kitty camera and she kept pausing to "take pictures" of brownstones I pointed out to her or the flowers still in bloom. I was moved by the colors of neon red leaves dotting the concrete steps of brick buildings with shiny lacquered doors, because as much as I am missing the Rockies and the consistent sunshine, and odd as it is, it's just fact that these are the things that move me.
I smiled at the thought of the story I would tell to Edith some day: "One day, you and Mommy held hands and walked down this block. We saw that light blue house, number 515, and I told you it was my dream home. We spied through garden level windows and saw big backyards and crunched fallen leaves and softly touched purple-petaled flowers that were standing strong against the cold. That was the moment that I knew everything would be okay. I knew we were going to love it here, just like we could love any other place, because I had your hand in mine and later you would have yours in Iris's and that night I could put mine in Daddy's, and that is all that matters in this world."