January 4, 2012


After three weeks away and a very long, snowy, sometimes icy two-day drive home, we pulled into Manhattan last night just as rush hour was beginning to wane. From the George Washington Bridge, the city spread out down the island. Lit up against the early nights. Horns honked, people cut us off, our building greeted us with the smell of fried food and one very happy to see us cat. I think she even missed the dog, almost. Back to real life.
I'm still reeling a little in the cloud of post vacation haze. When we drove away from the city in mid-December, we were dragging. Tired, worn. Done with a term that never seemed to end. I hate to admit it, but the phrase "I hate New York!" passed my lips, more than once, in those last weeks before we left. Even though I don't. It's not the place that I was hating on, it was the situation. Not enough family time, too little sleep, a box cereal that costs more than breakfast for a family of four at our favorite Virginia bagel joint. It was all piling up on us. Which is exactly why we left for Christmas.
Three weeks of quiet woods and plenty of room and a car to take to the grocery store and friends and family and date nights and kitchens with ovens that aren't 20 degrees hotter in the back half so that you have to hover over anything baking, turning it every few minutes to avoid burning.

This morning Evelyn and I got up at what, after much sleeping in over the past weeks, seemed very, very early. She did the last pages of her holiday homework and put on her uniform, I made pancakes and packed up her bag, and we set out into the cold. Back to normal.

Except not.

I feel hesitant about this term. Weary. The frustration I felt at the city and the situation during early December have ebbed away, leaving me a little gun shy. On the one hand, I am refreshed. Ready to take the city on again. Ready to squeeze these last few months of adventure out of them. I'm ready to have fun here again. To enjoy one more term in the city, because by summer, by late spring really, we'll be done and gone.

But on the other hand, I know that it's wont be easy. That the last term of Will's school is likely to be the toughest. That he has two international trips to make, a research assistant position on top of being a teaching assistant. And also the job searches. Reviewing CV's, looking at towns and universities, trying to decide from a distance what it would be like to live here or there. It's all necessary. And exciting. And helpful for what we hope will come. But it means that the stressful days will come back.
I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but this year, I think I will. I will make a New Year's Hope. This year, I hope for myself to be steadier. To not let the stress get me down. To enjoy big city days and hectic daddy's-working nights as well as the quiet sweeter moments that I wish there were more of. And to that end, I also hope to make more of those moments. The quiet ones. Even with firetrucks wailing and neighbors setting off their smoke detector for the fourth night in a row.
What about you? Do you have a New Year's Hopes?