Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh New York

The weekend was a beautiful one. Spring has begun to show itself and it was liberating to come out of hibernation with a t-shirt on. Lily has hit the park over the last few days with only a sweatshirt - so she is even more agile when it comes to collecting bits of nature wherever she roams. Unfortunately yesterday, the second we got to the playground my daughter made a beeline for every single piece of trash in sight. First it was a shopping list, then a popsicle wrapper, then a juice box. Not sure Woodsy Owl would be pleased - of course Lily was drawn to their color and shine - but I found myself overjoyed to fish leaves and sticks and pebbles out of her mouth because at least they weren't trash. I love NYC but I don't love the carelessness with which people throw wrappers into the street, toss cans and bottles into bushes. I remember Alan berating me for berating a man in Times Square for littering - it took me a few years to understand that in New York City, people aren't all approachable and that confrontation can take a life if you're not careful. But when it comes to the playground it saddens me to see it - Lily saw a plastic bag flutter toward the play structure and while it did have its own beauty as it floated through the air I didn't want her chasing it. On the subway recently some teenage kid glared at me and told me to switch seats and yesterday I sat next to a foul mouthed girl on the train who was proud of her attitude and seeming toughness. All of the sudden I am now regarding the world through the watchful eyes of a parent and I'm even less in love with what I see and hear. Grit is fine, dirt is fine and I love that this city is overflowing with color and music and plenty of unusual and dimensional personalities. But my child is defenseless, and a sponge for all that she sees and hears. She is beautifully undescriminating and I have much to learn from her. But I often feel like a mine detector these days, constantly on the look out for danger ahead. It is a joy to see her fast asleep at night, arms sprawled over head, one knee bent and flopped to the side, the other leg carelessly hanging between the rungs of her crib. In her most quiet moments it is a relief to see her so free - wandering safely in the confines of her dreams.

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