Dawn M. Roode, Editorial Director
I was a little girl who didn’t play with dolls, a young woman who never dreamed of having a traditional family, a college grad who was for a long time much more than content to focus on my journalism career, have fun exploring the city and the world, and be part of the family I grew up with—my mom, my brother, and my grandmother.
Then one day the word “family” took on a whole new meaning for me. I had my OWN little family, with my darling baby son at the center and my husband and me encircling him with love and warmth. A single unit. A family that I never dreamed of as I was growing up, but that I was fortunate enough to discover, and that has easily (thousands of times over) surpassed any of my notions of what a family could be.
I came to motherhood late-39, to be exact. You know, I was one of those choosy types who “refused to settle” and met the only man I knew I really wanted to spend the rest of my life with later than most. Even my mom had long ago stopped believing she’d have grandchildren by me (and she was more than okay with that, as long as I was happy!). Then it all happened. And our lives changed forever.
My son is now 2 years old, and the light of our lives—a happy, energetic, funny, and hungry little boy with personality to spare. I am lucky to be able to work part-time in an office so that I can spend a great deal of my time connecting with him, rediscovering my own childlike nature, and just having fun and relishing the grand responsibility of parenthood. Plus, I get to cover the world of parenting from the inside, meet amazing parents through my work, and continue to feed myself as an individual through my career, something I hope my son will someday be proud of.
We currently live in the city (revealing some borough pride: Brooklyn), but every other day I wish I lived in the suburbs. I grew up in a house with a yard, in a NY town with great public schools that you needn’t apply to, and it was easy to find parking (we had a driveway, after all). On alternate days, though, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere other than this great diverse city with everything at my son’s fingertips—culture, museums, music (he “went to” 12 live concerts while still in my belly, and has been to numerous already at which he has danced in person, not within my womb), not to mention proximity to my job, so I can actually kiss him goodnight on the days when I work.
I could argue the case like a dogged lawyer for either side on any given day and win, only to overrule myself the next day. So, for me, “suburbs vs. city” is a major current running through my life these days. I wonder where we’ll end up. I know I’ll always see the virtues of both…and I guess I am just waiting for something to tip the scales in favor of one side or the other. (A new baby—suburbs; hitting the lottery—movin’ on up in the city; bedbugs—suburbs, and quick; free year-round parking space, reconsider NYC’s virtues…). And while I’m here at NYMetroParents, I figure I get to write and read about the best of both worlds, and we as a family get the scoop on where to visit with our son no matter where in the region we live. Exploring, but not yet moving…
If I have one regret about becoming a parent later in life than many, it is that my own mother—my role model, my beacon, my inspiration—passed away when my son was just three months old. I don’t have words to express how much I wish she were around to give me advice, to see my child’s milestones, to laugh at the absurdity and overhwhelming nature and wonder of motherhood. To say thank you…and that now I get it more than ever. And to watch her interact with her grandchild. But, if I hadn’t waited, my son wouldn’t be who he is, and that would be tragic. And as I say to him often, he has the best guardian angel out there.