Our family recently moved from suburbia to the city. We cut our living space in half. We gave away furniture. We tossed old toys. We sold a kid. Just kidding. We kept all of them. Our goal was threefold: 1. Live closer to the boys’ school and our new community of friends; 2.) Live simply; 3.) Have a home that is wheelchair accessible, with main floor living quarters in case Bret needs to use the wheelchair in the future.
All of three of these reasons bring many changes. We left my parents, who lived 5 minutes from our old house, along with many friends we adore. We gave up our relatively safe neighborhood with places to run and roam, with a large home and yard, and we bought a 1900s house with a little yard to run and roam.
We become urban dwellers. But among all of the changes, the one that has surprised me the most has been the sound. Yes, the city has a different sound. A cacophony of sirens and city buses and train whistles. Lots of train whistles. Trains that are at least a mile from our home, but sound as if they are rolling down tracks in the backyard. Trains that become louder and more frequent around midnight to 3 a.m. Several friends have assured me that it will soon become a sound I will come not only to enjoy but maybe even find lulling like a sweet lullaby. It will soon give me a sense of peace and serenity. A sense of home. I’m not sure about that… but I’m willing to open my mind to that concept.
The simplifying part of this move is met with mixed emotions. The space we lost is adding up to some creative solutions for storage, while the walking and riding bikes is a sweet relief to being in the car 2-3 hours a day. When we woke up for the first day of school, after our move, the boys carried their chains and locks along with their backpacks to the garage and we jumped on our bikes for the ride to school. What a joy to be outside for a 5-minute ride versus a commute through traffic conducting peacemaking efforts. And again, when I walked to school later in the day, I was filled with gratitude that I could have that 10 minutes to walk through the city and experience the sights of different people, places and things, even if those different people are standing outside the liquor store with brown bags.
When I walked up to the school to pick up the boys. I was met with enthusiasm at the opportunity to ride home. “Let’s get gelato at the corner market before we go home,” I said.
“Yea!” they responded. “What’s gelato?” It occurred to me that they didn’t care where we were going, they were simply relishing this new adventure we had taken as a family. We rode to the market as it started to sprinkle. We tested about five different flavors of amazing gelato and finally settled on one just as the skies opened up. Savoring our gelator, we watched our bikes drip with the falling rain.
Undettered, we finished our treat and boarded our bikes to head home. We rode as fast as we could. I’m still not sure if it we were riding our bikes to avoid getting completely soaked… or pedaling fast just because we could.
As we tripped into the house, trying to avoid the maze of boxes, we went about our normal routines. And that night as I got into bed I recounted the day and laughed at the sight of us riding through the puddles with abandon. But just as my eyes were closing, I noticed a bright light coming from the alley. I peeked out the window to see a police car shining his spotlight in our backyard. For a few seconds I felt unsettled. But after making sure the alarm was set, I got back into bed and fell asleep just as I heard a soothing train whistle somewhere out there in the city.