This City

Monday, December 2, 2013

One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.
- Tom Wolfe

A hundred times have I thought New York is a catastrophe, and fifty times: It is a beautiful catastrophe.
- Le Corbusier

When I'm in New York, I just want to walk down the street and feel this thing, like I'm in a movie.
- Ryan Adams

I've started this letter in twenty different ways and each sentence is lacking.

The thing is, I started out trying to justify our family's decision, to explain our desires in a way that anyone and everyone could understand and agree with us.

But there are still going to be people out there who don't get it, who don't support us, who will judge us and call us irresponsible.

I started out trying to write down everything I love about this city, but people have been writing about New York for centuries and everything still hasn't been said. There are still people out there who don't grasp the magic of it, who only see the ugly, the dirty, the run down, the busy, instead of the diversity and history and raw humanity and wonder of the place we are to call home soon. I'm not here to change their minds.

A very long time ago, when I was a dreamy teenager making my way through what I thought was a time of hard decisions, I walked up a flight of stairs and onto the streets of Manhattan for the first time. It was as if the city had pulled down the stars and placed them where she willed. New York is one of the only cities in which reality looks better than the postcards. There were so many decisions I didn't know the answer to at that moment, but I knew this city was where I belonged. As I drug my luggage along the busy streets, I marveled at something I had never imagined before, something I couldn't have imagined had I tried. I had found the place my soul would long to be for years to come. When I bought my first car, I imagined driving into the sunset one day, to this place full of adventure and excitement where I would make a life for myself. What I didn't know was that life has a funny way of just happening. Your fears overwhelm you. Money gets tight. You fall in love. Well I sold that first car, but I could never sell my dreams short. Many times in the last ten years or so, I've tried to talk myself out of what I wanted, but it couldn't be done. This desire has followed me through many seasons of life and now I will drive off into the sunset in our box on wheels with my husband beside me and a little girl one part her Papa and five thousand parts me in the back seat.

When I was pregnant, I had a lot of women describe the changes that motherhood had brought about in them. I was determined and strong and confident before, but motherhood has made me stronger, more determined, more confident - it is what it took to make me want this bad enough to take the leap. We're moving to New York City!

Papa has been working on the paperwork for months now and we had been told that if he was even approved to move from active duty/Albuquerque to reserve status/NYC, we wouldn't be moving until March. Well he received an email on Wednesday saying he had been approved and has to report by January 11th. We were not prepared mentally or financially to leave so soon, but this is an opportunity we can't pass up. We have hope in a God that provides and we're confident this will all work out. We have an incredibly long list of things to accomplish in the next few weeks, so our lives as we know it will probably be put on hold until we move. I know you'll handle it all better than we're anticipating though - you always do.

I often ask myself what I can give you. When I say this, I'm not speaking in terms of material things or even really great things that money can buy like an education. I mean how can I contribute to who you are as child, as a human being, as a woman? What can I offer you and instill in you as your mother that will be serve you well through this life? I find myself constantly adding to this list, but when I strip it down - I want you to know how to love. I want you to love people for who they are, not what they can give you or what they can do for you or the feeling they give you or the way they make you look when you stand side by side or even because you feel like you have to. I want to teach you how to look at someone ugly and broken and angry and realize they are ugly and broken and angry because they need love. I want you to know how to see the beauty and find joy in simple things. I want to help you know what you're passionate about. You don't have to follow the crowd. You don't have to make money to be successful. I want you to do what you love.

With that being said, a large part of the reason this dream has withstood the test of time and parent hood is that I feel this could be the perfect place to help me in instilling these things in you.

One of the things that has stuck out to me about this city is that it has a poetic way of becoming ingrained in the souls of its' people. You don't just live in New York - you're a New Yorker. It is a place you never forget, a place you can never truly leave, and place that makes its mark on you the moment you step foot on her sidewalks. This city is saturated with passion and talent - millions of people walk her streets: struggling, dreaming, creating, living, making history. I feel grateful that you will get to be surrounded by such inspiration on a daily basis. I can only imagine what it will be like for you to grow and learn in this place where everyone is striving to be themselves and follow their dreams. I love that you will grow up with a clear message that if you love something, you can walk out your door and do it every day. This city reinforces what I long to teach you: that anything is possible. In a world full of grumps, it's important for you to hold onto that and believe it. It's a tall order for me to stop right here, to stop talking about the love I have for this place, but I don't have to. Because dreams are coming true, I get to spend years exploring the city of my dreams with you and writing about it along the way.

All the Love in the Universe,
Mama
First Comes Love

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