The day this photo was taken was one that I shouldn't soon forget. But just in case I do, and just in case you guys might never know how hard it was for your mother, I'm going to write about it now. As native New Yorkers you will grow up faster than most kids. That's just the way it is. For one thing Cash, we got rid of your stroller right after your second birthday. I'll admit, the motivation was purely selfish since I just couldn't lift and carry that stroller (with you in it!) up and down the flights of subway stairs anymore. I was done. But then along came Grey. New baby means new stroller means two more years of back breaking work. However, Grey you are about to turn two years old and we are again gearing up to ditch the stroller....after we get in a little more practice.
There is no elevator at our subway stop, nor is there one at 86th street where we get off for Cash's preschool. So unless graced by the kindest of a stranger, I must carry Grey in said stroller, often times with laundry and groceries hanging off the sides, up and down four flights of stairs twice a day. When you were just a couple of weeks old Cash, Aunt Gail and I fumbled through the unfamiliar process together. Since then, I have been doing it on my own for a solid four years, remarkably only throwing my back out once. But don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. If anything I might be bragging a little because I want you guys to know what a badass your mother was. That's the pedigree of NYC mothers - hardcore to a fault, self-reliant and willing to put up with the most challenging travels and travails in order to live and raise our children in this city. Outsiders scoff at us, finding it utterly crazy, but we merely consider ourselves members of a resilient brood who can make it through anything in this great metropolis. It's like a rite of passage - these years of schlepping our little urbanites - that we can forevermore relate to with one another, especially days such as this.
Well Grey, the beginning of our no-stroller commute went quite well; it was the return home that was a whole different story. You were cranky and wanted to be carried and when I refused, you threw yourself onto the grimy sidewalk, burying your head in your hands. Cash and I waited for your tantrum to pass, but yours tend to stick around awhile. So I picked up all 30 pounds of you and carried you to the subway, biceps screaming. Once inside the subway station your mood improved and you started to run around with your brother, who is by now a novice subway rider. But you have yet to learn platform safety so I had no other choice but to pick you back up. I tucked you, wailing and flailing, under my armpit like an oversized football, and walked with Cash into the crowded subway car. After directing him to the only available seat, I leaned against the subway doors and closed my eyes. Sometimes that's all you can do as a mom. Just tune out. I rolled my shoulders back and used every bit of my strength to hold you the four long stops until 125th street when people got off and seats freed up.
Once seated next to your brother, you stopped crying and that's when I took out my camera. I wanted to capture snippets of the aftermath and the sheer craziness of it all.
Cause it is crazy. Raising young boys in New York City is a wild ride sort of like the MTA. We don't always run smoothly and may have some delays here and there, but we always manage to get where we're going. We just find a way, simple as that.
Boys, undoubtedly there will be many times in your life when you feel like throwing yourself onto the grimy sidewalk, kicking and screaming. But hopefully you grow into resilient, courageous, patient, thoughtful and tenacious men...
...always willing to lend a hand to a mother with a stroller.