Living in New York is hard. Ask anyone.
Living in New York with children is hard as well. You can also ask anyone this.
And, in addition to being hard, it's complicated. Like, I think it's really cool that Edie sees the Statue of Liberty on a semi-daily basis out the windows of the F train, but I think it blows that she asks about going into the backyard about as frequently and I have to tell her that we don't have one. Deep into our fifth wintry month, when most of our time is spent indoors, living here feels like an exercise in principle more than a good idea.
But sometimes New York surprises me. Not in the way I want exactly (where a wealthy eccentric stumbles down the stairs of her regal brownstown while I'm passing by and hands me the deed), but maybe in the way I really need.
For example: Edie and Posy and I moved the car this morning, and then walked to the grocery store. I'd hurried Edie into her boots and coat by telling her we could pick out her Easter basket as well, so she was in a good mood as we walked. She stopped and boarded the coin-operated helicopter outside the drugstore, making airplane sounds and telling everyone to climb aboard. She raced her horse Patches (another coin-operated toy in front of another drugstore) to the soundtrack of me humming the William Tell Overture six times before I reminded her about the Easter basket.
We stopped into the variety store that seems to have everything I have ever needed, and the people who work there recognize me, and Edie always asks to talk into their P.A. system because the manager let her do it once. She chose her rainbow basket and then I got to watch her skip home, swinging her basket the whole way, smiling at her good fortune whenever she caught sight of herself in a glass storefront.
Living anywhere has good moments and bad moments, but this morning wasn't so much a good moment as a reminder that to be happy here I have to learn live with a wider lens. That, to Edie, the helicopter and cowgirl horse are just as much hers as any toy we have in our apartment. And that maybe it's not always as tidy, but that our lives can be enriched by having our needs meet by our community.
I also know that this is not something I can learn once and then remember. I like tidiness. I like self-containment and self-sufficiency. So I have to learn this principle over and over. And even as I do, it's still a struggle. But, I suppose my life can also be enriched by this struggle.