“You have to just forget how terrified you are. Then it’s a lot of fun.”
Those are the words I imagined myself saying when I imagined somebody asking me, ten or fifteen or twenty years down the road, how it was to raise kids in New York City – trekking around on buses and trains, walking through neighborhoods I know nothing about, catching the stares and comments of dozens of strangers.
And that is the truth. You have to forget.
As I’m going to bed at night, as I’m getting ready in the morning, I briefly remind myself that this is no easy task, it’s nothing to take lightly. There’s serious stuff that goes on out there: kids getting hit by stray bullets, people getting bumped off of train platforms, unthinkable things, things that make you want to lock the door and open it for no one.
And then I take a deep breath and forget about it.
Because there is a little boy who has his heart set on seeing the dingoes at the zoo, and another one who wants to see how many times he can dribble the basketball. We can go to the museum and play “I Spy,” we can go to the park and chase squirrels, we can find new playgrounds on which to battle other children for the spot at the top of the slide.
But what we can’t do is be paralyzed by the fear of what could happen, or what has happened to someone else. We have to forget about it and live our own lives, challenge our own fears, conquer our own demons.
And if we’ve done that, and done it well, we’ll be left only with things we want to remember.