Today is NK’s third birthday, and we are going to Furuvik, the animal/amusement/culture park that her grandfather is retiring from this month. We went a few weeks ago, and she loved the rides and the jumping, a real little kid, not even much of a toddler, at least on that day.
All three year olds are big kids, of course, at least to their parents, grown so much in so little time. But NK’s birthday actually makes me realize how young she is. Because her birth, that day in that horrible hospital with the horrible doctors that ended with the highest joy, seems forever ago.
Three years ago, we lived in a rambling old Victorian in Port Jervis, New York. I was a newspaper editor who drove to work and was away for 10 hours. My wife had not had a chance to get a job, a drivers license or fix up the house as planned. We lived near no friends (not even at my job, Port Jervis on the far edges) and no family.
Now, we live in Stockholm, and NK has a younger brother. I am a communications consultant who has taken close to a year of paternity leave. E has a good job and has also taken much leave. We live in a small apartment with no car. I take the subway to work. We just bought a summer house out in the forest and have had a steady stream of visitors. NK will have her birthday party on Saturday, and it will be all family, both American and Swedish.
Port Jervis could not seem farther away. But my girl is only three. We fled town when she was one.
How did we get from there to here?