Thursday October 30, 2014. 7:30am.
Before kids walk neighborhoods laden down with bags of candy, before we turn the clocks back an hour, and before the sun starts to set a full two hours before I leave my office in the evenings, there are a few very dark mornings.
On those dark mornings the sky has barely begun to lighten for my 6:40am wake-up. And if I get up early to run on any of those days my neighborhood pitch black, and some stars are still visible as I start to make my way up the street.
On one of those dark days last week, I had an early meeting and needed to be in Manhattan by 7:30. It was still full dark when I drove to the train station. As the train barreled towards the city, the light started to creep up on the horizon, and the sun rose just as I walked out of Grand Central so that looking south down Lexington Avenue, the sky was awash in color that bounced off the buildings and for one incredible second, made the entire street seem like it was brushed in gold.
But despite my luck in walking out of Grand Central at the exact moment of sunrise and the beauty of the sun rising over Manhattan to greet a new day, a second later I almost got run down by an intrepid banker on a City Bike and then shoved out of the way in a crosswalk by someone who was obviously horrendously late for something and my very first thought was that I couldn't wait until the sun rose early enough for me to catch that moment at home.
This week is the two year anniversary of our move to the suburbs. The anniversary of the day our movers packed our apartment and moved our stuff twenty miles north. The day we had to sleep on the floor of our new bedroom because the movers somehow managed to screw up a thirty minute drive and didn't show up at the house until 24 hours after their expected arrival. And the day that started at least six months of my fervent wishing that it had all been a terrible dream and that we had not, in fact, bought that house in the suburbs after all.
I have written about those days a whole lot over these past twenty-four months and looking back over those posts is so interesting to me because I can see the very real evolution of my feelings for our new place. At the beginning they were so complicated and wrapped up in a blanket of "I wish I lived there and not here," and they changed over time to "that was then and this is now," but two years later, they are something different entirely.
Once upon a time it was new and scary and I wondered if I would ever get used to the creaking floors and rattling pipes and having to climb up and down the stairs and get into the car to get groceries. Once upon a time I compared every part of our new life to our old life, and our new life somehow always failed to measure up.
Two years ago I could barely even pick out White Plains on a map, but two years later, our new place isn't new anymore. It isn't just where we live because we don't live in Manhattan anymore, and it isn't the slightest bit complicated. It's home. Plain and simple. And looking back on the last two years I don't feel sentimental anymore about our life in the city. I don't miss it or feel nostalgic for those bygone days. What I do feel, plain and simple, is a heaping dose of gratitude for whatever higher powers conspired to put us in this place that has given us friends and a community and a life. Where we have grass and trees and space and quiet and each other.
It was hard - so, so hard - to do what we did and pick up and leave everything we knew, and I wouldn't do those first few months over again for all the money in the world. But you know what? I got through them. We got through them. I kind of laugh at myself when I look back and I wish I could just hug that girl I was then with the wild-eyes and swirling cloud of anxiety and tell her to dial it down a notch because she can't make the kitchen guys work harder or the plumber get there faster and sometimes the roof just leaks and the boiler doesn't work and she is doing the best that she can and really, it all gets better from here.
And it does. Because tonight after work I am going to get on a train and head north. And when I get there I am going to walk into my house and kiss my man and change my clothes and sit on the couch and watch something amazing on TV and just breathe.
Because I'll be home. And that's the best place there is.