Friday, March 28, 2008

the mild side

I am no longer a Brooklynite. I've hung up my urban chic for a walk on the mild side. This sociological experiment will test the boundaries of identity. Will I still be cool if I can't say I live in Brooklyn? Is my personality geographically bound? Was I ever cool? Oh of COURSE. But I have children now. Cherub-cheeked children who have just left their routine, their daycare, their preschool, their friends, their bedroom, their neighbors. But they are young and resilient and love green grass and fresh air. They love running in circles in the still empty rooms, shrieking at the tops of their sooty city-born lungs. 

We're outside Philadelphia now, closer to my family, in the neighborhood where I spent my twisted childhood. I think of this as a do-over of sorts. More importantly, we've gone from a gritty one-bedroom existence to a four-bedroom bungalow set on a quarter acre. We had an Easter egg hunt in our back yard.

This morning Hamish and Stella filled baggies with budding red flowers that had fallen into our driveway. They collect pine cones and poke earthworms on a daily basis. I bought a used Little Tykes car, the kind a toddler can ride in, for Stella at a Church rummage sale. We have gone whole hog here. Spying bluejays and cardinals and chickadees in the yard. Finches and junkos and robins galore. It's like being on vacation. Stars in the sky. The smell of firewood. Our own firewood in our own fireplace. I know the mailman by name. His name is Mike. He's lovely! But I still wear all black. Skinny jeans. Hair covering one eye just like in high school. Only now my scowl isn't from teen surliness but from having to endure fifteen foot-stomping meltdowns per day (not all of them mine) I listen to Lily Allen on the iPod, albeit in the mini-van. So you can take the girl out of the city... 

We're still living out of boxes because we own next to no furniture, but so far so good, and now that I'm online again, I almost feel like my corrugated cardboard existence is settling down into a peaceful flow I could get really used to.