January 25, 2010

Back At The Window

Obviously as we continue to celebrate birthdays, new years, family expansions, yadda yadda, the feeling of being a "grown up" becomes that much more embedded in our being. We expected that. But that's not to discount all those years we spent being one year less than grown up, or one month before having taken a huge life step, or one day ignorant to how it really feels to do X, Y, or Z. All those moments prior have culminated in all those moments present and lately those prior moments have been popping to mind like a slide show of random "oh yeah, I remember when we used to do that" kind of images. For example...

Our 1st NYC apartment was a 5th story studio walk-up with a ladder we could climb up to get to a crawl space just large enough for a queen sized mattress and almost high enough to be able to sit up straight while in bed. Almost. Our cat, now too large to jump up to anything higher than his ears could then bound to the top of our 8 foot shelving unit and then make an amazing horizontal leap through an opening the size of a shoe box into our cozy little hole the landlord punched into the wall so that he could list the apartment as a "flex 1BR" sleep space. He even figured out how to get back down using the ladder. We had just moved from a 3BR 1,500 sq ft home in Bozeman, MT to a 0BR 400 sq ft studio in NYC for triple the price, and we could not have been happier. Our 2 windows overlooked the Upper West Side and there were many afternoons when I'd wrap my day teaching and pull up a seat at our window (we really only had use of 1 since the other housed the air conditioner) and pinch myself repeatedly.

Then there was our 2nd NYC apartment which (unlike our 1st) had walls, which after a year of marriage we were more than ready for. Space in NYC never just comes without compromise however so instead of the convenient 1 block jog to Central Park we were now 4 stops away on the A train in the Sugar Hill neighborhood of Harlem. It was more than twice as big, $400 less, and had a private backyard. We planted herbs and some veggies and flowers and setup the rear wall of the 4 story brownstone (we occupied the 1st floor) as a practice climbing gym using the window grates and aging protruding bricks as our hand and foot holds. We even bought a copper bonfire pit and had marshmallow toasting parties in our little 10 X 20 outdoor paradise. And when it rained, we sat at our window overlooking everything we'd planted while ordering in sushi and beer.

And then came apartment #3 and our foray into Brooklyn. Probably my favorite so far, this apartment was a block off of the NYC marathon route. Each year we lived there we'd watch the start on TV while cozy in our pj's, then follow along until the leaders were within close distance of our block. Then we'd toss on a sweatshirt and grab a mug of coffee and go hang out with the rest of our Brooklyn neighbors, cheering on each pack as they ran by. Then once Noon hit and the local pubs could start pouring drafts we'd grab a place at the window, open wide so we could almost reach out and high five each runner as they panted past, and enjoy a lazy Sunday brunch in the midst of a true NY moment.

Which brings us to our current spaces. NYC apartment #4, the one maintaining our sanity via stints in the city every now and then and referred to by Ash as his "Brookin Home", and NY House #1, the one maintaining our sanity via our wraparound porch with a hammock overlooking wide open spaces and horsies and referred to by Ash as his "Brown Home". In one he stands at the windowsill watching the students flood in and out of Brooklyn Tech HS, pointing and asking "what's that?" and "mommy can we go to park?". In the other he rocks in his hammock next to me in mine, him with a sippy cup of juice and me with, well, not a sippy cup of not juice, breathing in the amazing air that comes with acres of apple orchards, vineyards, and sunflower fields. Window #1, 4 stories up with countless people and activities below and window #2 with an astonishing lack of activity though equally appreciated.

I think the big life moment that may have spurred all of these individually meaningful yet perhaps even more cohesively remarkable experiences was the making, signing, notarizing, and filing of our Will, of the Last Will and Testament kind. Yeah, that'll get you thinking... at least it did me. Something about listing a Trustee, an Executor, a Guardian for our children should we be diving for seashells someday and never make it back up for air - thinking about those things gave me a whole new "back at the window" moment to reflect on in and of itself.

I'm thinking the next moment at the window may need to include a killer glass of wine, the biggest most windy hilly figure-eighty train set yet, and a Michael Franti beat filling the air with the kind of sounds you can't help but move to. Yes. That is most definitely how we should find ourselves at the next window.

1 comment:

Gamma! said...

These are a few of my favorite things (kind of makes you want to break out in song doesn't it?) - memories! We must have done something right. Memories are special, and I'm so glad so many of mine include you all (and can't wait for the next ones!)! Thanks for the walk down memory lane - I remember every one of those windows! Now go and enjoy your day! love you all, mom/gamma