At the beginning of October, just a month after my husband and I closed on our house in the suburbs, I made a promise right here on the blog that I’d let you know how it all looked a few months in. Back in that blog post, I wrote about how nervous I felt at the closing despite my energetic spearheading of this move-to-the-’burbs project. I tried to stay upbeat, and wrote that the closing is really an “opening-up” and I recalled how the sellers got us excited by listing all of the wonderful things our new town has to offer.
I also explained that we were moving our young family to the suburbs because we wanted “more trees, more space, less noise, a basement!”
Update #1: We have all of those things now, and they are nice to have.
I also mentioned that I would miss many things about our beloved Brooklyn, including Prospect Park, our neighbors, walking everywhere, and fruit stands.
Update # 2: I still miss those things.
I also told you that I didn’t know if we would like living in the suburbs. I told you I didn’t know if we would make friends. I told you that I didn’t know if this was our bashert house.
Update #3: I still don’t know the answers to any of those variables.
But here’s what I do know, so far, about life in the suburbs:
1. Daycare at the local JCC was easy to access and is relatively affordable and undeniably good for the girls (no waiting lists, no insane application process). On warm days, they take a buggy to see the horses at the stables on the school grounds. Mondays are music days, and my girls learn Jewish songs (and secular songs too). There’s a big gym and a big playground and lots of trees. The girls are stimulated and social and they’re learning and they’re safe.
2. You can get an excellent slice of pizza just minutes from our house.
3. There are five synagogues within a 10-minute drive from home. We haven’t actually visited any of them yet (we have toddler twins, remember?) but we plan to soon.
4. Across the road from our local supermarket is the water. There are boats docked and there are seagulls and there is sand and when the day is dreary and I want to be anywhere but a supermarket parking lot, glancing across the street at the water and smelling salt in the air makes the mundanity… less so.
5. The other day, as I shuttled the girls out of the house and into the car in our regular frenzy, I neglected to lock the front door. Not only that, but I actually left the door wide open. I returned nine hours later to find the dog asleep on the couch and all of our valuables just where we left them. #safeplacetolive #notagoodwatchdog
6. We are now living within a respectable 20-minute driving distance from Grandma’s house, and about 25-minutes to Grammy’s. This means that our girls see their grandmothers often, which makes all of us happy and offers us a tremendous amount of support, in terms of childcare and otherwise, too.
But keeping Kveller’s commitment to truth in mind, (#nomorefakebook) I admit readily: Things on my end are not easy. The logistics involved in shuttling the girls where they need to go on the days that I’m working are mind-bending. Despite moving to a town with a very easy commute to Manhattan, for complicated reasons, my husband drives to work, and his commute is often punishing. The people we’ve met have been very nice but we haven’t met a lot of people (pushing at the truth further: we haven’t tried very hard. Yet.) And, as any homeowner knows, a new house comes with a slew of new problems. And so it was that as I showered the other day, Jon stood in the kitchen and watched the ceiling leak onto the floor.
Starting from that place of truth, I extend an invitation to you: come with me in on our journey from stoop to suburb (or more specifically, from the stoops of Brooklyn to the suburbs of Long Island). I don’t know where this journey leads, but Jon and I have made a promise to each other and a promise to our girls that we will give it a shot.
To that end, I’ll become a “joiner” and test out some new (and mostly Jewish-themed) activities to share with you. I welcome your suggestions, too. Whether you live in or near my suburb or somewhere much farther flung, join the conversation, parse the problem, and convince us that we shouldn’t move back to Brooklyn… just yet.
(Addendum: A shout-out to drive-up ATMs, right turns on red, and supermarkets with wide enough aisles for massive tandem strollers. Oh, and snowblowers.)