Wednesday, August 31, 2016

First day of school

I have never been a fan of New Year's Eve. Something about all that forced excitement and anticipation just never worked for me. But the first day of school? That still makes me tingle with hope. Here in Rhode Island, I've started to see yellow school buses again. Kids in new clothes. Even cooler temperatures. A new year. For me, I'm starting anew in many ways. After seventeen years, I've moved from lovely 1792 Colonial home into a loft in a renovated factory across town. On the snowy April day in 1993 that I moved from NYC to Providence, unfamiliar with its neighborhoods, I chose an apartment in Fox Point because I could walk everywhere and it looked slightly shabby. But it had loads of trees that blossomed that May in a burst of pink and white. And all those Colonial homes in between triple decker and small aluminum sided houses. I raised my kids there, and I often think I can still see Grace's footprints on the path to the playground. I walked that path every day, Sam and Grace running ahead of me, our puppy Zuzu tugging on her leash. Now Sam is out of college pursuing his acting dreams. Zuzu is a blind and deaf but still zippy fifteen year old dog now. And Grace, my funny smart little girl, is fourteen years gone from us. I walked that path with Annabelle too, Zuzu beside us. And now Annabelle is in middle school, my French speaking, book a day, traveling buddy. In so many ways it pains me to leave that house, that street, that neighborhood. But life keeps throwing challenges at us, no matter how hard that is, and we can choose to have them defeat us, define us, or help us grow. Once again I've chosen the latter. A marriage ending. A farewell to my home. A new start. At almost sixty not many people have the opportunity for that. Annabelle and I are unpacking boxes, choosing furniture, eating dinner on the coffee table, and looking forward to an exciting future. Our new neighborhood is more urban, more gritty, with new restaurants opening at a rapid rate and a new bookstore coming in November. Books are on shelves. Art is waiting to be hung. And school starts tomorrow.