Wednesday, May 17, 2017

New York life for 6 days

After bringing Zoe to my usual conference we are stopping by New York on the way back. I am officially on vacation without any deadlines, which is a rare thing for me, so we have been hanging out with friends, shopped and eaten our usually places and simply been a bit nostalgic about our old lifestyle and 'hood (West Village). I'm overwhelmed with the amount of play dates Zoe has had, with the fact that her old drama teacher volunteered to have her for an afternoon (essentially giving her a private theater lesson) and with all the people recognizing us at our regular places. New York is still home to us. But what really got to me was when we entered the apartment building this evening after a long fun day, and Zoe seemed a bit sad. "What's wrong", I asked and she looked at me tearfully. "It's just New York. I miss it so much". She then broke down crying and started hugging me. "I just miss it so much when we are here. And I grow up so fast, suddenly I'm a teenager, then I'm grown up..." I didn't know what to say but we walked up to 4th floor, her still sobbing a bit, me worried that she was reading my own sadness, missing New York at the same time as us having a brilliant time here. "One day you will move back", I half-promised.

But we also have a lot of good things to go back to Denmark to. We have our new apartment to go back to, a new little brother who will come out in a month's time, and friends and family to spend time with. I asked Zoe if we should stop going to NY for a while, so she wouldn't get sad and she actually nodded. We will see how we do though, once an addiction, always an addiction. The Empire State Building was shining blue for us that evening.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A regular everyday life

I grew up in a nuclear family with a regular life of going to school every day and having dinner together with my family every night. Like most middle class children in the western (and possibly also eastern, northern and southern) hemisphere. Yet, since I was 18 my life has been less than regular, mostly because I have spend few long stretches of time in the same countries or city, instead often in differing settings with a multitude of living circumstances and a mix of irregular jobs. It has never bothered me, in fact I enjoy the diversity in my life and I know I get tired quickly from staying in the same place. (perhaps this is one reason I feel so much at home in NYC, the city where you could eat in a different restaurant every night and never run out of new options)

But tonight, as Zoe was drifting off to sleep, and suddenly remembering that we forgot to read in the big history book when we were in Copenhagen, but it was too late now, because we were back in Stockholm, I had a solemn realization: Zoe has never had a regular life. At least not since her dad and I split up, which she barely remembers anything from. The most regular life she has had, was when we were in New York and, mainly because she was stably there for two months at the time, before she would go back to Sweden and spend two months there. In NY we would have bagels and coffee (only me) for breakfast every morning and run to school (because we were always late), before I would go to work. We would have dinner together every night and she would go to bed at the same time, after always reading a goodnight story. We had specific activities for each day of the week, from yoga (Zoe had a children's yoga class concurrently with me having a grownup class) to me picking her up and bringing her back to my work. On Fridays she had dance class and I would run to Wholefoods for food, being back in time for pickup and on weekends we would often catch a show.

These days, her dad and I, are doing two days each, then five days each, in order to distribute the weekends. But with me in Copenhagen, we go back and forth, with Zoe missing a day in school here and there (kindergarten in Sweden is not obligatory).  She loves it in Copenhagen and I make sure to always give her a detailed schedule of what we are doing so she feels in control and knows where she will be. But a regular everyday life, it is not. As I was rubbing her back and she was still awake, I promised her that when I get more organized, I'll make sure to read a chapter of a book every night, without exception and we won't have ad-hoc sushi while watching old Chaplin movies at the coffee table. "What does ornagized mean, mom?", she said and before I could answer she went on "but I like it this way, I think it would be boring. And you are the best mom in the world". And who am I to argue with that?