I’m trying to feel all warm, fuzzy and thrilled for Mrs Woog as she flits around New York - she’s been sponsored to fly there by Garnier for BlogHer, a conference for female bloggers. But the truth is I’m a little envious. OK, slight understatement. I’m deeply, bitterly resentful. Yes, that’s closer to the truth.
Every day there’s another dizzy-with-excitement blog in my inbox, raving about The Big Apple. Yesterday, Mrs Woog wrote about visiting the gourmet deli Zabar’s, on the Upper West Side. That one really hurt. It’s where Husband and I would go to buy ridiculously cheap cheeses on our weekly date lunch while the Sprogs were at pre-school. Then we’d head over to Lucky Brand and Club Monaco for a spot of window shopping. Sometimes we’d eat at an amazing restaurant nearby called Telepan, with its seasonal, produce-driven menu and delicious prixe-fix specials. Ah, those were the days …
Thinking about it makes my chest hurt with longing. Which is pretty ironic, considering thoughts of Sydney made my chest hurt when I was living in New York. Are humans genetically programmed to think the grass is always greener, or is it just me?
Other bloggers are madly tweeting about the restaurants they’ve visited and the fun they’re having. Geez it’s making me cross. How dare they. Meanwhile, I’m mooching through all the New York blogs I wrote for Wondertime, reliving my 10 months in the city.
Here’s one that shows my talent for remaining bleak while doing the most amazing things (there obviously is no pleasing me, I’m starting to understand - after 20 years - why I drive Husband so mad):
“I am so homesick. My family (mum, dad, my sister and nephew) have been visiting us for the past two weeks. They flew back to Australia on Tuesday, but we are still here. New York is grey; the trees have lost their leaves and the air is bitingly cold. My mood is equally bleak. It doesn’t seem right that everyone has gone home without us. Returning to our New York apartment from the airport didn’t feel like coming home. It felt like being on a holiday that was starting to drag.
Sprog 1 is missing Australia too. “I want my cubby. I want my trampoline. I want my doll’s house.”
On the positive side, our New York get-together was a huge success. My mother has rated it as her best-ever holiday. We kicked it off with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular – a dazzling extravaganza filled with Santas, coloured lights and the high-kicking Rockettes. The show held everyone, even the two-year-old, enthralled for 80 minutes. We also went on a horse and carriage ride in Central Park, ate burgers at Ellen’s Stardust Diner and were entertained by singing waitresses, visited the legendary Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village for a night of jazz, and sipped pinot grigio in one of the coolest bars I’ve ever seen, The Buddha Bar in the Meatpacking District.
Remembering all those amazing moments makes me feel a little embarrassed to mope – after all, I’m living in one of the most exciting cities in the world. But I can’t help myself, I miss my old life. It didn’t involve many trendy bars, but it was nice, easy and comfortable; filled with friends and family.
Last week was Thanksgiving. It’s a pretty big deal in the United States – the highest air traffic holiday of the year. Everyone makes an effort to gather with their extended family to give thanks for all the good things in their lives (or something like that, I’m still a bit hazy on the finer details).
Soon it will be Christmas. We were supposed to be spending the day with my husband’s family at a rented holiday house on the NSWSouthCoast. Nine little cousins would have been running around joyfully together. Instead, it will be just the four of us in our apartment on Christmas morning.
It will be six months before my parents see their grandchildren again. They’ll miss Christmas, Easter and the two-year-old’s third birthday. They probably won’t notice much difference in the five-year-old when we finally meet again, she’ll still be the same headstrong kid. But the two-year-old will be vastly different – she’ll be a chattering little girl, not a bubby anymore.
My dad kept a stiff upper lip when saying goodbye to the kids, but I think he was pretty shattered to leave them (despite the spectacular barneys he had with the five-year-old during the holiday, culminating in an ugly battle over a tub of tomato sauce on their last day together).
I feel terrible about keeping them apart, but I know that much good will come of our time away, too. I spent five wonderful days with my husband and kids over Thanksgiving. We went to the movies, had a playdate with another young family, got together with new friends for Thanksgiving dinner in New Jersey. My husband has more university holidays from December 18 to January 19. It beats working 40 hours a week and spending another 10 hours transporting kids to childcare.
We’re growing closer as a family every day. And that really is something to be thankful for.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I wasn’t.
Wake. Slap. Up. Slap. To. Slap. Your. Slap. Self.
I’ve had a great life, filled with so many amazing adventures. I might not be in New York right now, but I’ve got it pretty bloody good.
Doesn’t stop me resenting Mrs Woog. Lucky bitch.