We move in less than 2 weeks, and I could not be more excited. More space, quiet neighborhood, good schools. What’s not to like?
But I am also sad to be leaving a neighborhood and community I love. I love it for its beauty and its congeniality. I love it for its character and for its uniqueness. I love it for its walkability and convenience.
I have lived on Capitol Hill for almost 8 years. Before that, over in Georgetown/Dupont Circle for 10 years. And before that I was in Boston. I have been a city girl for 20+ years.
But I consider myself a DC girl. I was born here, and even though my parents moved to the suburbs when I was just a toddler, I consider myself “born and raised” in DC. My girls were born in DC- 2nd generation DC kids! That is rare.
Our community is a “walking community”. Everything we do is within a 10 block radius. There are parks and stores and restaurants and bars. There are community gardens and front porch gatherings. There are sidewalk meetings and greetings and neighborhood café get togethers.
Going to the park my daughters make new friends, run around chasing bubbles, playing pirate, and sharing soccer balls.
There are walks where we admire front gardens, take pictures of the colorful flowers, and laugh at the lawn decorations of pink flamingos, silver alligators, and painted “metal men”.
Our commute- factoring in dropping kids off at school first- is 15 minutes. That means, getting in the car, driving, taking kids inside and signed in, driving to work. 15 minutes. And that is factoring in the inevitable tantrum or other less than cooperative behaviors.
So this weekend I took it all in. We visited our local pretzel bakery, which has been mentioned as one of DC’s Best for their breakfast pretzel sliders. They also have crazy good Italian ice in the summer. And kick ass coffee. We also stopped by Curbside Café on Friday for cake pops. Yes,we walked there. They happen to be right next to my daughter’s day care, so we decided to pick her up. You know, while we were there.
Saturday we took a long walk and went to no fewer than 4 local parks. I got home and realized that I was missing some ingredients for dinner- I just walked the 4 blocks to the grocery store.
No, no, no. I am not trying to talk myself out of leaving the city. But I am lamenting the loss of a big chapter in my life. Don’t anyone throw out, “when are you getting a minivan?” because that has already been asked and the person was sufficiently silenced with my stony glare. It may have been because as they were asking I was about to hand them a glass of wine and stopped and wouldn’t give it to them until they took it back.
So yes, I will miss it.
But there are also things I won’t miss. Like the constant sirens. The incessant buzzing of the street light outside our bedroom window. The smell of gas, which our neighbor uses to kill weeds and I think as an insect repellant. The constant knocking into each other as we try to make our way past each other in our way narrow hallway from the kitchen to the living room. It’s actually not even a hallway- our house isn’t big enough to have a hallway. It’s just a…way. And it’s not big enough.
“Not big enough” is really the key here. When we first moved into this house, it was ideal for a couple. 2 bedrooms, 1 used as an office. An eat in kitchen, perfect for quick meals after work. A back patio great for having friends over.
Then came kiddo #1. The office went and a nursery came.
The eat in kitchen now had a high chair.
But the patio was still awesome and we could still have friends over. As long as it didn’t rain. If it rained, well, we’d just cancel.
Then kiddo #2 arrived. The nursery was now the space next to my bed. Then the 2 kiddo’s shared a room.
The kitchen, well- we eat in shifts most nights.
Friends can come over, but they’ll need to stand.
In our new house: We have a dining room! I asked my daughter if she knew what that was and when I told her it was the room you eat in she said, “no, that’s the kitchen!”
We’ve got our office back and the girls each have their own room. Though Mahlie said she’s going to sleep on the floor in Sarah’s room every night to “keep her company”.
We’ve got a backyard where our kids can get as dirty as they want- or as Pi will let them.
So, closing chapter “city living”, starting chapter “in the suburbs”.
Here are some picks from one of our final DC weekends.
Have a great crazy day!