I’m back, my friends! And before I do anything else, I want to kindly thank Poppa Large for covering my back while I was away. As I fully expected, he did not disappoint. For a brief time there, I actually got worried that I was going to be the blogging equivalent of Wally Pipp, the starting first baseman for the NY Yankees who, in 1925, sat out a game because of a headache. A young man named Lou Gehrig started in Pipp’s place that day and went on to play an astounding 2,130 straight games. Young Gehrig went on to establish a Hall-of-Fame career. Poor Mr. Pipp never got his old job back.
Anyway, as I get back into the swing of things here, I thought I'd check up and see how some of my fellow parenting bloggers are doing. Since I've only been gone a week, I figured that everyone would probably be up to the "same old, same old" routine. Holy shit was I wrong!!! Seems that in my brief absence, everyone decided to either pack their bags or start looking for new digs!
Jay from ZeroBoss started it all off when he posted that he and the family would be leaving Seattle for Tulsa. Then, over the course of a few days, the NYC crew seemed to simultaneously start planning a mass exodus; Paul Conrad of ideashak declared that they were moving from Manhattan to North Carolina: Alice of finslippy announced that she and her husband were contemplating leaving Brooklyn for the suburbs: and finally Laid-Off Dad wrote about his recent struggles and indecision regarding a possible move out of NYC.
Of course, the reasoning for their contemplated moves is pretty easy to understand. For the sake of their kids, they're all leaving for what they deem to be a better quality of life. More space. Fresh air. And oh yeah...did I mention more space?
As some of you know, I'm a lifelong New Yorker. Born and raised in captivity, I can't really fathom living anywhere else (at least not anywhere else in the U.S.) What would I do if I moved out of NYC? Would I have to mow a lawn? Get a car? Wear polo shirts? Join the local Elks club? Would I be able to get good sushi? What about a decent espresso? Where would I go to listen to live music? And most importantly, who would cut my hair?
All kidding aside (ok, I'm not REALLY kidding), I truly do understand why people with families would want to move out of Manhattan or any other city to give their children a better life. But we all define "a better life" differently, don't we? Nevertheless, moving out to the 'burbs is a dilemma that every city-dwelling parent thinks about. Strangely enough, for some reason, whenever I start thinking about moving myself, I'm always reminded of Michael Douglas' speech in "The American President." Remember it?
"America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free."
I'll tell you, my friends. Unless you're the heir to a family fortune or have become independently wealthy, New York can be a tough place to live. It can kick your ass, knock you in the ribs and spit on you when you're down. You've got to really, really want it. But if you tough it out, the rewards are unlimited. And for the sake of both myself and my daughter, BossLady and I are going to tough it out.
There are millions of reasons why NYC is a great place to live and I'm not going to dwell on all of them here. For me, the overriding reason to live and raise my daughter here is the sheer diversity of people. I'm no Utopian idealist, people. I like to believe that I've got both feet firmly planted in reality. And the fact of the matter is I'm a big believer that proximity breeds understanding and that people fear that which they do not know. I want the Peanut to see people who are different colors, who speak different languages, who have different sexual preferences and who come from different socio-economic backgrounds. It's important for me to have her understand and respect the different walks of life that people come from. I believe that living in this cauldron of diversity has had a great influence on my development as a person. And I want my daughter to grow up amongst all this diversity so she can witness the ways that we, as a people, can be so different...but yet so similar.
A few years down the road, I may change my mind. But for now, we're sticking it out here. I love the invigorating nature of the city. I love the daily encounters with people in the street. I love taking the Peanut to Central Park in the morning, the Metropolitan Museum in the afternoon and Chinatown for dinner. Am I really going to give all this up for a little more space? Maybe. But not likely.
After all, who would cut my hair?
( I'm curious to hear what all of you think about city vs. suburban living. What determined your choices? Did you have any regrets? Would you do it again? An inquiring mind wants to know.)