Friday, March 02, 2012

Done: A Preamble

In the weeks and months to come, I plan to write extensively on all the reasons why I’m ready to leave the city and excited to move to the suburbs. But today I’ll give a brief thought on the subject.

Lucia and I took a walk this afternoon (Andrew’s in India this week, so his mom is here, and I’ve been trying to get out with just Lucia when I can). It was a cold day, but she was happy to be outside, and she immediately engaged in her current favorite pastime: collecting sticks. I love her collections. I love that she likes to collect things, and I love that she’s picky about it—she doesn’t pick up just any stick, stone, or what have you; they have to be the right size, color, length. Our house is full of small, smooth brown seeds she’s found at the playground; for a week or two, she played with them constantly, cooking them in her pretend kitchen, pouring them from one small cup to another, arranging them on various surfaces. She loves to tramp around and find stuff. It’s cute, it’s fun, and I love to do it too.

Anyway. The problem today—and any day, really—is that when we take walks, all the good things to find, like sticks and stones, are concentrated around the bases of trees and against the bottoms of stoop steps and walls. These areas are, of course, “doggie bathrooms,” as I tell Lucia. It is frustrating for both of us to see all sorts of wonderful objects just there for the taking—and then have me tell her she can’t touch them. I am not a germ-fearing person—I feel my tolerance for picking things up, taking things home, even eating snacks she’s briefly dropped on the sidewalk is a little higher than most other Park Slope moms. But when I see damp-looking sticks around a tree truck, to my mom-eyes they’re practically glowing with grossness. And so I have to tell her no.

We found plenty of other sticks on our walk (were they all pristine? surely not; but I couldn’t say no to every single one). But when we got home I just felt so, so done with city living. The city is dirty. That’s easy to overlook when you’re striding to work in high heels—until I had kids I rarely had cause to interact on a hand-to-hand basis with the sidewalk. It’s different now. Lucia is close to the ground. She picks things up off the ground. She touches things on the ground. And it’s just…dirty.

I want to take walks and not feel like everything she touches has come out of a sewer. Better yet, I want to be able to forage for fun things in our very own yard.

That is my thought for today. Done. Just done.

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