The kids and I took a day trip into the city this week so that I could take Macks to a new allergist. The appointment was only about an hour, so I figured I might as well take advantage of our time in our old neighborhood.
When we moved to the suburbs two years ago, I made a promise to myself that I’d bring the kids back as often as possible because I never want them to forget the place that they were fortunate enough to call home for a short time in their lives. Sometimes life gets in the way, but I do make sure to bring them back and we always make sure to visit the places that we used to frequent when we lived there.
Upon arriving into the city, I decided to take the subway to our appointment. I’d done it hundreds of times before while we lived in the city, so what’s one more? We had our big stroller, which I knew I needed for the day because we were planning on doing a lot of walking. It was going to be a challenge getting it up and down the stairs of the subway, but I did it anyway.
After getting off of the train, I was prepared to pull the stroller up the stairs, but two men stopped me and offered to take it up for me. I’ve had this happen so many times before when I lived in the city, but it’s been so long since I’ve been there with all three kids on my own that I forgot about the kind and generous people that stop in their hustle and bustle to help. It made my heart happy. And it made me miss this city more than ever before.
After the appointment, which happened to be just blocks from our old apartment, I decided to take the kids to the playground that we used to go to all the time. Harlan rememebered it just as if we’d been yesterday, Avery and Macks didn’t have an incling that we’d been there before, but still had a blast.
As I sat there and watched all three kids run around and play on the playground, making friends with the other kids, it honestly felt like we never left. It often feels that way when we go back to our old stomping grounds. Part of me thought we could just walk back to our old apartment and that would be that. It made me think of what our life would have been like if we stayed.
I know that when we left the city for the suburbs two years ago, it was our time to leave. And our life here in Connecticut has been nothing short of amazing. But I still long for a life in the city. The culture, the sense of community, even the feel of a small town (which is so crazy, I know.) We knew our neighbors, knew the owners of all of the local shops, saw the same people on our walks around the neighborhood, even the same people every Saturday on our morning family walks in Central Park. As big as Manhattan is, it has a way of feeling so very small. And I miss that.
As we walked back to the train station for our ride back home to Connecticut, Harlan kept pointing out things she recognized from when we lived there. You could see the joy in her face as she reminisced of the time that she had living in this gorgeous city. She was so proud to tell her brother and sister of the memories that she made.
There’s no doubt in my mind that we made the right decision moving from the city when we did. It was the best thing we could do for our family. And it continues to show us the benefits of moving to the suburbs.
But it’s this walk back in time that’s showed me just how special our time there was. How it’s shaped our family; my children and myself. And it’s those memories that I’ll cling to forever. The memories that show me how thankful I should be of that time.