Sunday in The Park

I've heard it said by people who grew up in New York City that they didn't appreciate what they had around them, but I never felt that way. It's true that as a child I longed for open space and more green, but I think I understood the amazing-ness of what I had in my 'backyard'. High school, for me, meant weekends spent in Central Park and subway rides to The Village. Museums and galleries were common activities and the food, oh, the food. My mother will read this and remind me how much I wanted out, and she's right. I couldn't wait to leave. But it wasn't because I didn't love it. I just needed more space. Even now, when I visit, my chest tightens in the crowds, and I breathe easier when I step out of the car in my driveway at home—42 miles north. But I do love to visit. Especially in the fall. It's something to take your child to playgrounds that you played in as a girl and walk through fields you hung out in as a teenager. There's a visceral pang of lost youth watching your child climb on the same statues you did, his small body supported by the same strong hands as mine once was. How is it that thirty plus years has passed? When my first son was born we lived there. He played in those places. He learned to walk in those meadows. A whole lifetime ago and just a few years passed. He started eighth grade last month. And his brother. No longer a baby. Visiting my parents always makes me consider time. It's all so close, but so very very far away.