I heard on the news that a 10 year old girl drowned at Coney Island a day after our visit last week, climbing around the rocks after life guard hours. She and her little sister were pulled by people nearby, but she did not survive. I was just staring at those same rocks the evening before.
I think I’ve become more sensitive about adolescent pressures and the growing independence of the kids since the summer – not that those 3 things necessarily relate to each other, but they’ve all been on my mind lately. I wrote about independence a few months ago, but I struggled this morning thinking about middle school next Fall and the possible logistics of getting the girls to different schools at different times. I know that it’s still a year away and we haven’t even started the stressful middle school application process coming up in the Fall, but this was the thing I fixated on this morning. Ultimately, the kid will have to get to school by herself, like the majority of middle school kids in our neighborhood, but at this point in time, the concept of her walking around anywhere without me is something I can’t wrap my head around.
Sometimes I just want to hold on to my kids for as long I can, but I know I can’t protect them forever. After what’s happened recently, I have a new fear that didn’t really exist before, but they need to learn how to be independent too – to be able to navigate themselves in this crazy world, to learn how to cope with challenges, stress, peer pressure, and to learn how to survive. You can’t do any of those things for other people no matter how much you want. Isn’t that ultimately our job as parents? Our kids are growing up in a very different world than we did and most certainly will be adults in a world different from ours now too. We’re facing stuff as parents that no other generation has had to deal with before. In a way, we’re adapting and experiencing rapid changes in technology simultaneously so there isn’t as much hindsight knowledge to reflect on that might help inform us. Mostly, I think technology and the internet is positive and good, but we live in some weird times and there’s a lot of ill intent out there; childhood also feels shorter somehow.
P.S. That mural which has been the backdrop to so many photos I’ve taken of the girls over the years is being dismantled because of the structural integrity of the bricks. No one seems to know if it will be repainted again. Of all the things that have been disappearing in NY lately, this one made me really sad.
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A visit to the opening of our friend Fany’s little’s storefront adjacent to her production space last weekend in Red Hook. If you’ve been to the High Line, then you may have had La Newyorkina paletas before. We cruised by just as the pinata was raining down confetti and candy. It’s all about the little communities that form, that make us feel like we belong somewhere. I’m trying to see the light in that again.
Bubbles, Pinatas, Confetti. Just another weekend in NYC. Summer’s in full swing. School’s out tomorrow and we rub our eyes in disbelief that the 4th of July is already next week. June was a blur for obvious reasons, but also a month of changes and a shift in plans that were starting to take root a few months before. Somehow, the change seems fitting.
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There are glimpses of moments when I forget and feel like nothing’s happened. Maybe it was a dream. That’s far from true, of course, but it’s a reminder that one day that feeling will become more the norm than the exception. I’ve come out of hiding, even working in an office a few days a week (more on that later) and I don’t mind crowds because I can be anonymous, but the truth is I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. Is it common to feel this?
And then there’s this: this seemingly random bubble event in the middle of the day in Union Square. It’s like every kid’s (and maybe some adults) dream to be surrounded by thousands of floating iridescent bubbles. They’re launched from wands by a force of air, but drift lightly until suddenly, they’re gone.
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And the weekend came out blazing, all sunshine and warmth and intense rays of heat. At the beach today, I lathered everyone up with sunscreen, but in a senior moment of absentmindedness forgot to put any on myself, partly because I was stationed under the beach umbrella the whole time and wasn’t really thinking. So right now my legs are pink and the kind of itchy prickliness that you get when you’ve gotten too much sun–a feeling that I’ve forgotten, to be honest, since we’re usually so meticulous about sunscreen.
But it was a pretty glorious, care free weekend of no work and eyes off the computer with multiple outings, made possible by working double time during the week to meet deadlines so that I can have a proper long weekend. Mark did, of course, work the market on Sunday, but when you have a good day and things sell out like limeade and fudgesicles, it makes working the weekend quite worth it.
Our neighborhood was quiet and eerily empty with plenty of empty parking spots dotting the streets (this is how you can tell when the neighborhood goes away on a holiday weekend–by the abundance of street parking), but as soon as we got off the bus to Brooklyn Bridge Park to go visit Mark at the Flea, we were hit with waves of crowds taking in the views of Manhattan across the East River and waiting on lines at various food booths. We were just talking the other day about how eating at outdoor markets is such a “thing” now, a social activity like shopping or going to see a show with your friends. It didn’t really exist before on this scale, did it? I mean there were always food at street fairs and festivals and even some farmer’s markets and those come close I suppose, but they aren’t a permanent fixture like Smorgasburg or as massive an operation–not to mention all the small businesses that it’s incubated. It certainly has changed the food culture of the city from all angles.
On the car ride to the beach this morning, I asked the girls whether or not they thought the year was flying by too fast. I know that time moves differently when you’re young, and as expected they couldn’t really grasp what I was getting at, but they did agree that the winter felt long. It feels like summer already even though the solstice is still a few weeks away. Memorial Day weekend has a way of fooling you like that, so much so that it almost feels weird to wake up the next day to normal school day routines of packing lunches and walking out the door at 8:20 in the morning with backpacks. But I know that the next few weeks will go by in a blink and before we know it, summer will be here for real.
P.S. Our annual Father’s Day gift boxes are now for sale.
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I’ll admit I’ve been distracted lately. Although I have always been a fierce multi-tasker, I have a strong desire to consolidate and simplify things in my work life. Dividing my time between the business and my freelance design work has always been a juggle, but one that I haven’t minded. In fact, I relish having multiple things on my plate and having my hands in a couple of different projects. It makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something and exercising my brain, but I know that this thinking can be flawed. The truth is, lately I’m feeling like all I’m doing is juggling. I’ve been consistently working with 6-7 clients for the past year, all at the same time and often on the same days. The work has been all over the place too – print pieces, websites, logos, and touch screen devices; all day I switch gears from one client to the next. Needless to say, my work life has been crazy.
So I’ve been walking. Sometimes it’s at the expense of time spent working towards deadlines, which I’ll just make up later in the evening after the kids have gone to bed. I’ll walk around the city for miles, sometimes with friends, but often alone. Walking through neighborhoods that were once so familiar to me, but have changed so much that they are only ghosts of my past; seeking out quiet spots where I can see the horizon, but also seeking out loud and textured sidewalks as well. It’s oddly thrilling to discover a street that I’ve never walked before, not in all my years here. The city sometimes still holds surprises and I suppose that’s what keeps things fresh when it’s easy to just get jaded.
I was thinking about a project that never manifested earlier this year, one that just went away. There are always a few of those that seem to disappear without any warning or reason. While I should have been disappointed (and I was, for a bit), I’ve come to be thankful that it never came to be because it was like a little gift of time. We could always use more work and more money, could we not? But sometimes it takes things beyond our control to force us see that maybe we should have said no in the first place anyway.
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