I read the blog of the Upper West Side family who experienced tragedy yesterday. I can't even bring myself to say "whose two children were k---."
I don't know them, but of course I feel like I do. We share a neighborhood, a love of kids and dogs and water fountains and blogs and the joys of raising a family in the city.
The blog was taken down this morning. It broke my heart to read it last night, and I cried and cried and cried.
What I saw:
A wonderful mom. A mom who spends the time to be with her kids, to enjoy them, to love them and to share that love and joy with the world.
Kids you wish you could play ball with, run in the water with, play in a cardboard box with, read a story to, pick pumpkins with.
Lucia has an absolutely beautiful smile, the sweetest smile you can imagine. She looks so proud to be the big girl in first grade. She still plays with the little ones--you can just tell she's the best big sister ever.
Leo looks like his mom. He likes trains and firetrucks, just like Samuel did. His little diaper sticks out of the back of his britches, just like Samuel's did. He has a great big smile, like his sister, and you can tell how much he is adored.
I can't even talk about them in the past tense.
When you become a parent, you forever see your own children reflected in every child from that day forward. It hurts to see any child in pain. It makes you smile to see any child smile. And you'll always instinctively turn your head whenever you hear a child shout, "Daddy!" Even if your kids are eleven and fourteen. Probably even when they're fifty. If you can still hear anything by then.
This? Man, it tears me up. It just annihilates me.
When I was younger I was afraid of dying. Now I'm just afraid of out-living my children. Given a choice between dying tomorrow or out-living Samuel and Ethan, I'd gladly take the former. You understand if you're a parent.
I walked Ethan to school this morning, and I actually held his hand, my poor little eleven-year-old. I made a point to hug him goodbye and kissed him on the forehead, which I just don't do that much anymore. I walked down 95th Street and turned left on Columbus Avenue to catch the bus across the park to work, and I noticed every other parent squeezing their children's hands a little tighter too.
Samuel and I skipped out of Manhattan yesterday at 6pm, had dinner at a Houlihans in Long Island, stayed overnight at a Marriott, then got up this morning and tagged along on the DeLorean Mid-Atlantic Club's fall driving tour.
First stop was an abandoned insane asylum on the north shore of Long Island. Apparently it is abandoned because nowadays insane people are simply given medication and sent on their merry way, where they are free to join DeLorean clubs and drive to abandoned insane asylums for no particularly rational reason. Three cheers for the pharmaceutical industry.
We stopped for pizza in a town on the shore, toured a Vanderbilt mansion full of creepy stuffed antelope, then Samuel and I headed back to Manhattan, detouring only briefly for a couple of Frosties from Wendy's.
Samuel rode in one of the DeLoreans. When I asked him for details, he just shrugged in his Samuel way and said, "It was good."
But seeing him grin like this made the whole trip worth it.
In an effort to extend summer into October, we went to Six Flags today, which is decorated for Halloween. Apparently it gets a little rowdier and spookier at night, but we went during the day, where the spookiest thing they had was a blood fountain.
Weather was pretty decent for October (74 and mostly cloudy), so we wore shorts and t-shirts and pretended it was summer--until about 5pm, when it dipped down into the 60s and we started shivering.
We rode some rollercoasters, consumed some Johnny Rockets cheeseburgers and onion rings, had a pretty good time.
Maybe not quite summer, but, hey, we play the hand we're dealt.
We've been planning to renovate our crumbling disco-era bathroom since we moved in fourteen years ago. A few years later we got rid of Ethan's potty chair and realized we needed a second bathroom. My concerted efforts to win the lottery, train Bailey and Kahlua to tunnel under the floor into a bank, or persuade Jennifer to become a hedge fund manager have all been unsuccessful.
But I'm happy to announce that our living room now looks like this:
This is our bedroom, from two angles:
That gaping bare spot in the picture below was Jennifer's closet. It's going to be our new Barbie-sized second bathroom.
And on the other side of the wall is...our existing bathroom.
And here's where we're living for the next thirty days: the studio apartment next door, with all of our furniture and dogs and kids crammed in. It's like living in a one-room tenement owned by Gustav Stickley.