Friday, July 19, 2013

Goodbye, New York

Statue of Liberty

Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" was one of my favorite songs long before I stepped foot in the city.

It took on a new meaning when we moved here. Especially one of my favorite lines. When he sang "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere," he wasn't kidding.

But we're leaving New York on Sunday after almost six years here: Did we "make it" after all? And what does that really mean, anyway?

Does it mean building a life? Holding a steady job, making friends, getting to know your neighbors? Navigating the subway, jaywalking, avoiding eye contact? Then I guess I can make it anywhere.

Or does it instead mean making New York your permanent home?

I'll admit that a teeny tiny part of me thinks that leaving means we couldn't hack it. Mere disadvantages of living in New York become major obstacles when a baby is involved. By leaving, a little voice says, we're surrendering.

I know that's not really the case. Never in a million years did I ever think I would have a baby in New York: Too difficult. But not only did we do it, but Edith and I both thrived in the process. I know we would continue to do so if we stayed.

But that will also be the case in Ohio. Moving isn't about surrendering. It's about choosing a life in which Edith will see her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins more than two or three times a year.

This is a hard move for me. I proudly call myself an Ohioan and am justifiably indignant when people confuse my home state with Iowa or Idaho. But moving to New York City was a dream come true. And on Sunday I'm about to wake up.

Yes, New York is smelly and sweaty and grimy and rude. But it's also one of the most exciting cities in the world. And I love it.

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