One of the most common questions we are asked as parents is whether or not we are going to stay in the city. This question is delivered in myriad forms, raised in various tones, laden with varying weights in judgment. Do you live in the city? Are you going to stay there? What's the neighborhood like? Think you'll send your kid to public school? While I know a question is just that, a question, sometimes it can become an awfully wearying one. I was raised to assume that people generally have the best of intentions in asking a question, and I should answer it accordingly. But it's hard to answer the same question so many times and not become a little bit agitated. It's hard to respond to a question about where one is choosing to live and, moreover, raise one's child and not feel as though the life we are making is under the microscope.
If I'm perfectly honest, my answer right at this moment is that I'm so torn that I'm trying to just focus on today. I adore the home that we live in, the home that we purchased before we knew for certain we would be parents. It's a functional condo with very little need of repairs. It is comfortable for our family and we do not feel put upon when guests stay for a week; it's commodious.
I like our neighborhood. People talk about the charms of being able to "walk to get a coffee." I do it almost every day (Decaf, natch). I like that I will hear three different languages on my way to get coffee. I like that I see just as many races represented. I like that my daughter will hear and see this and consider this a neighborhood which is a small slice of our world.
I like this city. People keep it real here. I don't encounter much of the plasticity that I know is prevalent in other parts of the country, nor the xenophobia or flagrant racism that seems to be almost culturally acceptable in still other geographies. I like the consciousness here, I like the newspapers, I like that most every part of this city is very viable, rather than a ghosttown after 5 p.m. I like that I can take the train, with stroller in tow, to all of my favorite places, to meet my favorite people, and, roundtrip, it costs 1/3 of the price of a gallon of gas.
These are all the merits of this place where I live that I am not yet ready to trade for another set of benefits. Of course there is crime, the increased chances of Baby Girl developing asthma, the astronomical cost of living, the devastatingly far distance from any family that continue to weigh heavily on our minds and hearts as we "evaluate our values proposition," whatever that means.
But this week marks six years since I arrived at Logan airport with all of my suits and a floppy disk with my resume and took a cab to my then boyfriend's apartment and as I saw flimsy panes of sunlight wavering up and down along the Charles River, I thought, "This is where I get to live!" and that rapture has not left me, not entirely yet....