i adore nyc. i came here on my own at 21 and have been here nearly 30 years. this place has excited me, confounded me, tormented me and changed me beyond measure, but it has never bored me. i came to new york with ridiculous girlhood dreams and only this crazy city could have made them come true! whether i was a downtown party girl or an uptown mom, i’ve always found a way to make this my home.
i will say that one revelation was new and most difficult for me.. i was most frustrated though to learn what nyc can be like at your most vulnerable. when i was pregnant and as the mother of a child, nyc presented an entirely new side to its once tough, but romantic demeanor. i suddenly noticed how the same brusqueness and narcissism of its citizens that i found wonderful and liberating, seemed so completely inappropriate when perceived by a child. and it wasn’t just the natural vulnerability i felt with a small girl by my side, but an active distaste and rage toward her existence. any nyc mom can attest to having burly business men push their toddler aside to win a cab or random strangers whacking their children with their $3000 handbag and then screaming at them to f*ck off. this is not a life for the weak or sensitive. or childlike. and very early on, i heard my little one remark to me about some adult behaving badly, and that they needed to go back to kindergarten because they didn’t know manners. despite this reality, this is the closest city to home that i’ve ever really had. and because it’s my home, i am comfortable that i know how to raise my child here. it’s a very tough town, but yes, it’s the devil i know.
therefore, i am utterly unsurprised to find that as i am now in another vulnerable position – cancer patient, there is not only a total lack of support for our needs, but a curious lack of understand when we reach out for resources. despite the best medical care in the world, unlike most other cities, it is impossible to find a social support group for young children whose parents are dealing with cancer. it’s such a tragedy. especially when there are such good models around the country for helping people cope and there are such wonderful places for treatment. i would think they would make some effort to accommodate the needs of people’s families.
between hospital and school and everything in between, people in nyc are not all that eager to cut you a break. even if you are a 6 year old who has a mom with incurable cancer. they are pretty impatient and uninterested in how they can help you along this path. for that reason, i am very glad we are leaving nyc and spending a month in israel, if only for a little while.
anyway, ironically, in a nation haunted by terrorism, my little one actually has a better opportunity to experience just being a kid. and receive the warmth and support of family, friends and, yes, even strangers. so we are truly looking forward to this break.