52 IN 2014 • WEEKS 15 + 16 + 17 + 18 + 19

Friday, June 6, 2014

It was a little over four months ago that a very similar scene was unfolding in our backyard in Albuquerque. If there's one thing I've learned in this journey, it's to relinquish control. In our perfect plan we would have moved to Brooklyn financially secure, right away, into our forever apartment, and had a job waiting for your Papa when we got there. None of those things were true. We left Albuquerque with barely a thing in our bank account, no promise of a job, and it has taken a lot of time and effort and a bit of settling to find an apartment, but we did it. Sometimes you just have to face the fact that you need a little gap in between, a place to rest your head and gather your thoughts and fight for the next step. We drive into Brooklyn tomorrow to unload that tiny trailer full of our most important things. I can't imagine the emotions that will fill me as we coast across that bridge and into our future. I've dreamt of this from the time I was a little girl and I'm thankful my plan to move here five years ago didn't work out. It allowed me to be able to bring you along for the ride, to see this city through your eyes, to share my love for this place with you. I can't help but feel like we're driving towards something wonderful, towards a better future for you, to more possibility. All I ever wanted to be able to do was give my child more than I had - I think that's every parent's wish, and doing so is the most gratifying thing.

We've been in Brooklyn a little over a week and distinctly New York things have already become our normal, like riding the subway. You are so ecstatic to ride the subway every time. Your excitement never wanes. If we even walk by the entrance and you catch a glance of those stairs, you launch into a frenzy - 'I wanna ride dat sub-way!' You always draw out the end - 'sub-wayyy.' You call Manhattan 'my New Yort' and you ask to go there every day. 'We go my New Yort? We ride dat sub-way?' If I ask you where we live you giddily smile and quickly and quietly say 'Bwooklyn.' Papa and I both grew up in what most people would consider the country, so it's a little strange and funny to be raising a city kid. We talk a lot about how weird it is that this place will be such a part of you. I mostly wonder if you'll have a New York accent. I only lived in Phoenix until I was eight years old, but so much of me feels like I was built in that Summer heat. Arizona still feels like such a part of me. I'll always have desert in my soul, just like you'll always have this city in yours. Something about that would have made my eighteen year old self smile when I thought I was giving up my dream to move here. Sharing this experience with you is incredibly special.

There are certain moments when I look at you and wish that I could bottle you up and keep you in that state forever, preserve everything about you so that I could open it up and experience it again someday. They're usually just ordinary days, small insignificant moments like this one. We were walking home from church and I asked your Papa to stop walking for a minute so that I could take a picture. We had come from an Easter egg hunt in Prospect Park, and it was past nap time. Your Papa and I were talking. We stopped mid-sentence to look over and see you wrestling with this balloon. You shoved it onto your head, almost over your eyes, and slumped over with a look on your face like you were barely tolerating us. It was the first time I had seen a glimpse of someone who was no longer a baby at all. You were a kid and you were annoyed and like any good parent would, we laughed and you didn't even crack a smile, which made us laugh harder.

When I was a kid, there was a commercial on that highlighted all the different ways that people eat Oreos. I like to dip half my cookie in milk for just a second, maybe two, take a bite then immediately follow it with a drink of milk that swirls around the cookie, making it taste like you've let it soak in milk without making it soggy. Papa likes to throw his whole cookie into the glass of milk, let it sit for minutes until it barely resembles a cookie, gross me out thoroughly, then eat it. Sometimes he has to use a spoon to fish it out. You like to put your finger between the cookie sandwich to get the cream out. In the process, you break the cookie into pieces and put them in a pile to the side. Once you've finished all the cream, you take the broken cookie pieces, break any larger pieces that remain, then throw it all in your cup. They inevitably sit in there for quite sometime then you fish them out with your hand. Papa and I have watched you do this multiple times now and each time I'm struck at how you are so much of us, but so much of your own person at the same time. You would think you would observe the way we eat our cookies and copy one of us, but you don't. You make your own way. It's like the one dimple you have - neither your Papa or I have a dimple. That is your own trait. That's what makes you, you. I love discovering these little things about you.

We spent the day in Central Park and what used to feel like a tourist attraction that needed to be documented and seen in its entirety, started to feel a bit like our backyard. 'Home' is a word that is almost as mysterious as 'love' to me. What makes a place feel like home? Time? Family? The friends you meet? Your favorite spots you find? I'm not sure, but I look forward to slowly finding our way to home in this city together. You seem to have taken to this place faster than we have and deemed it your 'home' - I'm grateful. My biggest fear in moving out of New Mexico was that you would be confused, unhappy, or mourn for our house and backyard and chickens and friends. You have a love for this place that probably surpasses mine and shines out of your face every day you wake up and realize we're still here. 



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