I miss New York.
I have continued to luck out in that we have been so incredibly busy since moving to Florida, I haven't had much time to focus on it. But as things are starting to slow down, I find myself having to actively push thoughts of New York out of my mind. Because as long as I don't think about it, I can just go through with my day and ignore the nagging sadness I feel whenever my city pops into my mind. Because that's the healthy way to handle negative emotions, right? Avoidance! Hooray!
But you know what? New York is everywhere. It's on TV and in the movies. It's in the paper and my Facebook newsfeed. I still get New York events emails and follow NYC Twitter accounts and blogs (I've been meaning to clear all that out but haven't quite gotten to it yet). So ultimately, avoidance only works for so long. And every time I get a little flash of a reminder of my city, the homesickness washes over me like a tidal wave. Every now and then I'll let myself feel it for a moment until the tears come to my eyes, and then I go back to my methods of suppression and push it out of my mind.
Last night, however, I really let myself feel it. I spent some time before bed looking through old pictures. Mostly pictures of Ellie, but I couldn't help but notice where Ellie was in all of them - in our old apartment, along the waterfront, in the city, on the train. I looked at each picture and I could remember the day and where we were. Those memories sort of sat with me for a bit, seeping in as the night wore on until I couldn't ignore them anymore. And then I missed my old home so much I could barely breathe. It was just this heavy, suffocating feeling of longing to be back there. I couldn't shake it and I just felt lost.
I am completely confident in the decision we have made to leave the city and pursue this new career path for Eric and the new home that comes with it. It's not that I'm second guessing our choices. This change is absolutely what is best for our family, and I believe that whole-heartedly. And really, Eric and I have talked it through a million times: "If we stayed in New York, what would that look like?" And the answer is, a full commitment to a law career for Eric, meaning longer hours and less time at home. A bigger house for our growing family, further out into the suburbs, meaning a longer commute for Eric and less time in the city for us (for non-work reasons) anyway. None of that sounds particularly appealing, nor does it really make sense. It is just not what we envision for our family and our future.
Also, our life as we knew it in New York had ended anyway. By having a baby, we drastically changed our New York lifestyle. Sure, we still took Ellie out to do as much as we could. But gone are the days of camping out overnight for Saturday Night Live tickets, of standing for hours to watch a red carpet event, of fighting the crowds for parades and fireworks and things like that. So I know that much of what I am missing would have been gone whether or not we actually physically left the city. Our lives have simply changed.
But still, I miss it, even in its new kid-friendly form that we developed after the arrival of Ellie. I miss our apartment and our friends. I miss walks along the waterfront, the walkability of our neighborhood in general, the restaurants (and the food delivery!), the hustle and bustle, the energy. I can't let myself picture the city in any way without feeling disbelief that we really left and really aren't going back. It just makes my heart ache.
And to complicate things further, I feel guilty for feeling this way. We live near our family now, and I know how happy they all are to have us back. And we love that too, of course. It especially means so much to me to give Ellie the opportunity to form relationships with her family and get to know them so much better. My feelings about New York are, at least in my mind, a completely distinct issue, yet sometimes I feel like I should keep quiet about missing New York because it will make my family feel like we don't want to be here with them. And even more so, I don't want Eric to second-guess this path we have chosen in any way, just because I miss looking at the skyline every night. I'm so proud of him for pursuing this new life and I don't want anything to make him question my feelings about our new plan. Because despite this homesickness, I am absolutely behind him and am so excited for his new career and the positive changes it will bring to our family.
I think a big part of the problem is that we are in this sort of holding pattern before Teach for America actually gets under way. I know this is the way things need to be, and there are a ton of positive aspects of what we're doing now in the interim, but I think if we were just getting settled into our final destination, making our new home our own, getting to know our community, and adjusting to what will ultimately actually be our life, it would be easier. Instead, we're just waiting for the future to start and trying not to think about what we left behind.
I worry about sounding whiny or melodramatic. But the new direction I'm going here is to chronicle this transition and our adjustment to it, and this homesickness is part of that. It's an ugly part, yes, but that doesn't make it any less worthy of expression and documentation. I recognize that it is a step in our journey and one that I have to get through to ultimately start fresh and happy in our new home. Avoiding the issue altogether is certainly the easier route, but perhaps I do just need to let myself feel it from time to time.
So today, I miss New York.