Brooklyn, Brooklyn, took us in…

1 Jul

Dear Kiddos,

We are leaving Brooklyn, our home, and I fear you are too young to have memories of what an amazing four years we had here.  In Brooklyn, we walked everywhere.  Walked, rode our bikes, or rode the subway.  From your stroller or your Ergo pouch, you were face to face with the world around you – everyone saw how cute you were.  And you looked back and them and made eye contact with them – our world around us that was so diverse, the majority of the people looking different than you, than us.  You guys stood out with your blond hair and blue eyes in a sea of Caribbean and Jewish surroundings.  And because we were walking, not driving, you seemed to always soak in every bit of what was around us.

Our first home was the second floor of a brownstone with any amenity you could desire just a stone’s throw away.  Townes, when you were a baby, we’d stuff you in our little Moby wrap and take us with you everywhere, you were content to sleep close to momma while she and daddy relaxed a little.  It was quaint – with gorgeous brownstone mansions and tree-line streets.

Our second home was on the busy, beautiful Eastern Parkway.  A thoroughfare for ambulances, police cars, motorcycles, and school buses.  Townes, you’d stand in our bedroom window watching, mesmerizing, as the sounds and wheels of the city rushed past.  Bess, anytime our front door would open, you’d make a beeline for it, more content in the warm sun on our front ramp.  We’d walk 2 miles to church every Sunday.  This was momma and daddy’s best time to chat as long walks in the stroller always soothed both of you.

You guys stuffed a lot into your first years via New York – you saw the Statue of Liberty, rode over the Brooklyn Bridge numerous times, saw Times Square and the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  You played in the snow in Central Park.  You saw art, lush gardens, and wild animals.  You ate curry lentils, gelato, NY-style pizza, NY bagels, and an array of Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, and Korean food.  You tried tofu and avocado and bar-be-que and tacos.

You learned to share because we visited playgrounds and parks packed with other kids.  Splash pads and meadows and the Sandy Playground.  The Children’s Museum and Brower Park and our neighborhood library.  Brooklyn Bridge Park and Prospect Park.  The pop up pool.  Montauk, Greenport, Long Island, the Jersey shore, upstate, the Hudson Valley.  You attended music classes where you learned songs about taxis.  You made friends on these playgrounds – friends who were Canadian, French, Tennessean, Jamaican, Nicaraguan, and German.  You always loved the ones that were older than you.  Jonah, Isaac, Abe, Vera, Henry, Cora, Magnolia, Pearl, Simone, Conner, Sydney.

You had sitters who meant the world to us – Zenaida and Nadia.  They loved you and took great care of you.  You’d come home hot, sweaty, exhausted, and hungry.  Your lives were so rich.  You spoke Spanish to Zenaida – agua was your favorite.  Nadia was ay-nah-nah and every morning you’d ask if she was coming today.  When we met at Sebastian’s house, we’d walk a mile or get you there via subway.  In the winter, I was pregnant, hauling you, your stroller, and your unborn sister up and down the most precarious frozen stairs.  Day in, day out.

Your births felt so unique to the city.  Townes, we stayed at home with you so long, so when it was time to go to the hospital (also rush hour), your momma dealt with the pain in the middle of the sidewalk, holding a tree, while passerbys looked on.  We took cabs to and from the hospital.  Your nurses had think New Yawk accents.  Daddy had to get in line to get us a private room so we could get to know you (and no one else!) the first night you were with us.

Townes, you charmed the pants off our UPS delivery man, Mr. Terry who would stop by even when he didn’t have a delivery for us.  He let you tour his brown truck.  Now, whenever you see a brown truck, you think its Mr. Terry.  When we left, he left you a UPS note with his number so he could send you a toy UPS truck.

AC window units, hauling strollers up and down stairs, making baby food on a tiny kitchen counter, buying nursery equipment that would fold and collapse easily, buying all baby supplies second hand from other new Yorkers with crowded apartments, making friends on sidewalks, ordering every take-out imaginable, seeing different people on the subway (and hauling that stroller up and down the subway steps).

It was an amazing place to have 2 tiny babies (or 1 tiny baby and 1 “big man”).  I am grateful for this sliver of your childhood.

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