After being so sure I wanted to bring up our kids in New York City, I’m now wondering whether it’s such a good idea. I don’t think my concerns are the usual ones that drive people to the ‘burbs when they have a family, and I certainly can’t bear the thought of moving to some suburbs. It’s just lately I’ve seen a lot of kids around, kids 7, 8 or 9 years old, and they appear so jaded. They’re so stylish, girls especially, and they seem to have a very distinct look on their face. A very adult look. And when I’ve seen them my heart breaks to think that could be Minna in seven years, over it all already, childlike joy beneath her.
Moving away of course is not the answer. There’s no guarantee children are more joyful and less jaded elsewhere. I know I’ve read lots of things about tweens being all grown up already, cultural pressures, TVs influence, etc. etc. etc. If there’s any solution — and there may not be — it’s in the parenting I hope. In our ability to keep the experiences special and meaningful, to steer clear of brands and designer clothes and pressure to buy the next thing, and to focus on time outside the city as a family. Nights collecting fireflies in Vermont and learning the constellations. Hiking in the White Mountains and spending the nights bunked in a hut. Skiing at Mad River with friends and family. And finding great experiences to share right here in Manhattan as well.
I want to say that as long as I show enthusiasm for things, my children will join me. But sadly, I can almost hear them already, saying dismissively, “Mom, that’s so lame.” Hopefully that won’t be until 2020 at least.