I love New York City. I have never loved a city more. I grew up in Tallahassee and have a deep love for its rolling hills and canopied oaks and its sweet southern people. But given the choice, I’d move to New York. Tomorrow. I wouldn’t leave my family, obviously. And I wouldn’t do it against the wishes of those important to me. But a girl can dream. And my dream is to live in New York.
I grew up in the aisles of public libraries. And in those aisles, I once put my hands on a Madeleine L’Engle book. After that first one, I put my hands on all of her books. I’ve never read another author that punched my gut more, struck more chords, or created more relatable characters. She was the voice of my dreams. The words of my unfolding childhood. The Small Rain. Camilla. A Wrinkle in Time. The Moon By Night.
As I fly home from NYC, I have Becoming Madeleine in my lap. It is her story, written by her granddaughters. Her story unfolds like the dream I once had for myself. But sometimes goals and dreams don’t line up. I never want to miss my life for my dreams. I can’t risk looking away from what’s been entrusted to me–and from the One who entrusted–to gaze at the what-ifs. Maybe even the what-shouldn’t-bes. Dreams can relocate. Dreams can change. Dreams can be deferred. Life can’t. If I get to the end of my life and never get a single page published but my kids are gathered around me, I have succeeded exponentially. I would have no regrets. On the other hand, if I get to the end surrounded by a career but having missed the point of the beautiful people, my regret would be the final chapter, likely read by nobody special.
For now, I’ll continue walking the lighted path in front of me, reading anything L’Engle, satisfied that I managed to create in 4 young people a love and respect for the colors and energy of New York City on a trip I will never forget. For now, that is dream enough and far more than I deserve.
But if fortune plays a different hand someday and I up and disappear, you can find me on a rainy day in Times Square. I’ll be the one looking a little confused and carrying a cheap umbrella.