Whenever we drive across the George Washington Bridge and into Manhattan I feel like we are almost home. Ulka loves the city more than the other kids, and when we exited the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel on the Brooklyn side she proclaimed, “Manhattan is over, Brooklyn has started” which I thought was very funny and quite right- Brooklyn is where it’s at!
We stayed with our great friends Rich and Sara and their 3 wonderful, sweet and boisterous children. It’s not easy for most folks in Brooklyn to house a family of 6, but Rich and Sara do it warmly and graciously and for that we are so thankful.
The kids were at home on their old stomping grounds and fit right it as though they never left. We spent some time at Harmony Playground, had lunch in Prospect Park twice, met some good neighborhood home schooling friends, walked by the old apartment and hung out with our next door neighbor, had lunch with Ishaan’s godmother, went to Andy’s old studio space, and went down to DUMBO to check out the new and expanded waterfront park with Deroy and Jenna.
Whenever we go back to Brooklyn I get really nostalgic for our life there and wonder why we ever left. And then, I remember. 750 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 4 kids, no outdoor space, no laundry…..but though good and valid reasons, those were not the reasons why we ultimately chose to leave our friends and our life that we loved. We wanted our children to be able to be free to play outside by themselves and with friends without constant adult supervision. We feel strongly that kids need that freedom and independence to grow up to be confident and well-adjusted. Because we are choosing to homeschool our kids, they don’t have that experience in school and in Brooklyn I had to take them every where. I ended up being with them 24/7 and that was not a healthy relationship for any of us. I realize that we gave up a lot by moving out of Brooklyn and that our kids will miss out on tons of great opportunities, activities, diversity and culture but I have to be confident that we made the right decision for our family. I see the kids playing outside for hours at a time- building things, exploring, fighting and making up, having fun, getting hurt and recovering and coming in dirty and exhausted and excited to tell me all about it.
I will always love Brooklyn and a small part of me will always wish that we still lived there, but right now I am happy to just visit. We are all meeting new people and forming new friendships, seeing new places, doing new things and becoming more and more rooted here all the time. I look around at my kids, our house and yard, and the amazingly beautiful part of the country we live in, and think about our new friends here and I realize how blessed we are and that slowly, but surely this is becoming home, and I am happy.