You Can Take the Girl Out of Brooklyn by Secrets of a Momaholic
Growing Up in Brooklyn
I was born and raised in Canarsie, a small neighborhood in Brooklyn. It was the kind of place where store owners greeted you by name, where if you did something wrong as a kid, your mother would know by dinner time. Our block, 95th Street, was filled with kids. Summer days and nights were spent outside playing tag, manhunt, red light-green light…We had the life.
Growing up, I never imagined I would trade my concrete jungle in for greener pastures. I moved to Long Island in 2005, the year I got married. My husband and I were living in Howard Beach in Queens prior to our move. The housing prices in this area were way out of our price range, so we had to look elsewhere. We had lots of friends living in Long Beach so decided the surrounding areas would be a great start. We fell in love with Oceanside because of its close proximity to the beach. We also planned on starting a family immediately so schools were important. Rumor had it that the schools were fantastic in Oceanside.
Raising a Family on Long Island
I love it here. I do. However, I can’t help but feel my children are getting short-changed for not experiencing what I did growing up in Brooklyn. There are hardly any kids on our block. The ones who do live here mostly play in their own backyards.
Playing with friends now involves scheduling a “play date”, a term I was unfamiliar with before moving to the ‘burbs.
The memories I have of being a kid, growing up on the block I did, are some of the best I have. I want that for my children because of how good it was. A firefly hunt just isn’t as much fun with only your sibling in the backyard. Twenty kids deep on a stoop eating Italian ices, coming in filthy from a long day of play, now that’s a childhood.
I’m not sure if my childhood exists any longer so it’s not fair comparing. It’s not just my location that has changed, times have changed as well. Today’s Brooklyn wouldn’t be the Brooklyn I knew and loved. Kids don’t play outside like they used to because of safety concerns.
My kids are happy, healthy, and they are thriving here in suburbia. As much as I miss Brooklyn, I am happy here. We love our backyard, feeding the ducks on our block, and don’t let get me started on the parking! After seven years, I’ve acclimated to my suburban lifestyle. It took a while to throw down some roots and it feels good to be part of the community, not just a visitor. I now run into people I know at stores. They even know me by name at the pizzeria! These are the things that make me feel like I can call Oceanside home.
Living on Long Island is different and I knew it would be. Change isn’t easy, especially coming from such a special place. Although I know Chloe and Max’s childhood will be different, a mom can only dream it will be just as good–if not better.
Ever since Tara Lotufo was a little girl, she dreamed of one day becoming a mother. She’s now lucky enough to have fulfilled her dreams–twice! Chloe and Max are the heart and soul of everything Tara does, she says, including the inspiration for her blog, SecretsofaMomaholic.com. Visit Tara’s blog as she shares the love of feeding her kids healthy foods, even if they don’t always know it!