Phew! We’ve moved out of our KC apartment and are just a couple of weeks away from our big move to the city (we’re staying with my parents until then). I can’t even express what a relief it is to have the first chunk of the move over with. And most importantly, of course, it’s allowed me to put the beloved check marks in almost all of my “to do” boxes. Is there a task more satisfying?
But I digress. Because we’re in a sort of limbo, I’ve been struggling to come up with writing that’s interesting enough to share with you. I considered sharing my excitement about Kate finally (kind of) taking a bottle thanks to the Mimijumi a friend suggested.
ZZZZZZzzzz. I know. Every time I opened my laptop to begin a post, I felt like snoozing. Instead, I started reading Adam Gopnik’s Through the Children’s Gate (NY Times book review here), a book about making a home in New York. And it totally inspired me to write.
I’m only on page 10, but I just have to discuss some of my thoughts on his thoughts. He’s truly poetic.
He says of the city, “Even when we are established here, New York somehow still seems a place we aspire to. Its life is one thing–streets and hot dogs and brusqueness–and its symbols, the lights across the way, the beckoning skyline, are another. We go on being inspired even when we’re most exasperated.”
That’s what excites me. That “energy of aspiration” he talks about. The feeling that there’s always something spectacular hiding around the corner–an incredible opportunity, a new found friend, an undiscovered date spot, a magical place for the kids to explore–there’s just so much to experience.
What scares me though, is the contrast between that romantic perception and what reality could be. He also says of the city, “Encompass it, if you can, but when we try to do New York, it does us and sends us reeling back home.”
I feel like the closer we get to our move, the less skeptical I become about our life there. My perception becomes the more romantic one–we really can make a home there. And I’m hoping that, since I’m going in without my guard up, the city won’t swallow me whole and digest my idealism. I really don’t want to become a cynic.
Do you perceive the city as having what Gopnik calls “the energy of aspiration” and/or “the spirit of accommodation”? Do its energy and spirit harmonize to create balance or contrast to create frustration and cynicism?
I’ll contemplate it myself as I finish the book, and in the meantime, I’ll be trying to soak up every last minute in Kansas watching my babies love on my parents, sister, and brothers. Leaving them is something that isn’t at all romantic about our move.