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Feb13

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By Alice Bradley
Three years ago, my family and I moved from Brooklyn to New Jersey. I hated it here. I thought I was going to die. Henry hated it, as well. He told me he thought his heart was going to blow up. Scott was too busy commuting on the weekdays and mowing on the weekends to have strong feelings about it, but when pressed, he admitted that he preferred the city, as well.
For that first year, I cried every day. Henry cried every other day. I think I saw Scott tear up a couple of times. That might have been from seasonal allergies, though. But occasionally, when I wasn’t crying, I had pockets of time that were less painful. Even enjoyable. Spring came, and summer, and Henry splashed around in the kiddy pool while I chatted with the neighbors over the fence. We made friends who invited us to even nicer pools than our inflatable one out back, and we made mojitos and sat on the porch, and I thought, well, this is fine. Then I cried some more. But over time I had to admit that I kind of liked it here.
Two years ago, Isabel invited me to write for Alphamom, and I happily accepted. But after a couple of columns, I decided I was in way over my head. Where did I get off, writing about current events? What did I know? Who ever told me I could write about anything going on outside my living room? I didn’t think I was smart enough, frankly. I was sure I wasn’t smart enough, and that some expert was going to come along and rip me to shreds. Maybe a whole team of experts. I told Isabel I should probably write about something I was more qualified to address, like narcissism, or fine cheeses. But Isabel encouraged and prodded and encouraged some more, and somehow I managed to write and keep writing.
I wrote about evil breastfeeding devils and instructive gifts for girls and health insurance. I heard from smart and passionate readers who cared enough to respond to my feeble jokes and occasional attempts at sincerity. (I also heard from a few humorless types who didn’t appreciate my skillful use of irony–but no matter.) I actually felt like I knew what I was doing.
One year ago Scott and I realized that although we’ve come to appreciate so much about our new neighborhood, it never felt like we were home. We missed Brooklyn, and the family and friends we had left behind. Although we were only a short commute away, we wanted to be right in the middle of things, complaining about the noise and the soot and the obnoxious neighbors. What can I say? We’re natural gripers. It’s too quiet and polite here. So we started the long and sometimes painful slog toward selling our place, and we told our now-beloved friends and neighbors that we’d be returning to the other side of the river.
So: here I am, in the present day, and you’re there, wondering what in hell Wonderland and my imminent move back to Brooklyn have to do with each other. Well, there are going to be changes around here as well as in the rest of my life. This will be my last column for Wonderland. I’ve got too many projects on my plate, and too little time. And while I’m paring down our possessions, I also need to pare down my responsibilities and focus on the next big thing. Whatever that next big thing might be.
It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to New Jersey, and it’s hard to say goodbye to Wonderland. I am deeply grateful to Alphamom, and Isabel, and to the faithful readers who brought so much to the conversation. Thank you so much. And think of me while I’m packing boxes.


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About the author

Isabel Kallman

http://www.alphamom.com
Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of Alphamom.com.

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


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19 Responses to “Changes”

  1. Sarah Feb 13 at 12:26 pm Reply Reply

    Alice, I’m happy about the move (No! Sleep! Til Brooklyn!) but sad that you’re forsaking Wonderland. I very much hope one of your other projects rhymes with “forsook” and starts with a B, because you are one of the most talented and entertaining writers that ever wrote the writing. I know the craft can be a struggle, but the results are just too damn good to not beg for more.

  2. Jamie Feb 13 at 12:28 pm Reply Reply

    dude, bummer. good luck and enjoy your move!

  3. Amanda Feb 13 at 1:01 pm Reply Reply

    Bummer McCrappinuts. That sucks. I love this column! But good for you for following your path! I’ll miss seeing you here.
    Rats.
    And best wishes! :)

  4. Cass Feb 13 at 1:02 pm Reply Reply

    I’ll miss your writing here. The last topics you chose all seemed so relevant to my life right now. Good luck on your next big thing!

  5. bessa Feb 13 at 1:05 pm Reply Reply

    Fridays won’t be the same. Are you keeping up with Finslippy?

  6. Alice Bradley
    Alice Feb 13 at 2:13 pm Reply Reply

    Bessa: Yes, finslippy will continue! As soon as I get my act together and my head out of this box of styrofoam peanuts.

  7. MomVee Feb 13 at 2:40 pm Reply Reply

    You are an example to us all, both in pointing out that the suburbs aren’t the best fit for every family, and in having the guts to cut your losses and move back. I really admire you and Scott and wish you a painless move. I know that’s an oxymoron.

  8. Shnerfle Feb 13 at 2:48 pm Reply Reply

    Alice,
    Congratulations on going home. And kudos for picking your battles and finding some focus. I hope. :-)
    Best of luck in The. Next. Big. Thing.

  9. Just wondering Feb 13 at 2:54 pm Reply Reply

    Alice, I wish that at some point you would explain why you ever moved to the burbs in the first place. What were you looking for exactly? What made you think you ever had to leave Brooklyn? I wonder if you just thought that’s what people “have to do” when they get older/have kids/whatever. Does it all come down to that???

  10. Alice Bradley
    Alice Feb 13 at 6:02 pm Reply Reply

    Dear just wondering, I keep meaning to write a long post on finslippy about it, and I promise I will sooner rather than later. But yes, I think it boils down to thinking, “that’s what people do”–you buy a house in the suburbs, because it’s best for the kids. Also at the time we had sold our apartment because the school we were zoned for had problems, and we couldn’t afford to buy in a better zone in Brooklyn and rents were outrageous. When we saw this year that rents had gone way waaay down in Brooklyn, we realized it was time to make our move.

  11. suburbancorrespondent Feb 14 at 12:57 am Reply Reply

    We’ll miss you here! Is someone else taking over this space?
    ______________________
    Unfortunately not ;(
    -Isabel

  12. Holly Feb 15 at 3:40 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks so much for all of the Wonderland columns! They have been a part of my weekends for the last couple of years. I will miss them, but I am so glad to hear that you’ll continue writing at Finslippy. Best of luck with the move!

  13. amy Feb 15 at 4:37 pm Reply Reply

    miss you already

  14. Marcy Feb 15 at 10:26 pm Reply Reply

    I have greatly enjoyed this column, and love finslippy as well, so look forward to still getting to read your writings over there. I will chime in with the chorus here, agreeing that you are an extraordinarily talented writer and wish you the best in whatever wonderful projects you’re dealing with now.

  15. RLJ Feb 16 at 6:55 am Reply Reply

    Alice
    Thank you for all your posts here. You are a very gifted writer and I have thoroughly enjoyed checking in here every week for the chat. Good luck for the move “home” – it sounds like the right thing for all of you.
    Looking forward to more city exploits on finslippy. And wishing you every possible break on the book deal(s).
    Your No. 1 fan in Iceland.

  16. PB Rippey/sleepless mama Feb 16 at 11:17 am Reply Reply

    I don’t know how mom bloggers do it with more than one: one blog, baby, dog, cat, 1 cup of coffee and possibly no nap, etc. I’ll enjoy just checking in on Finslippy now and even feel a little vicarious relief as you pare down. Thanks for Wonderland–your posts were thought provoking and a pleasure to read because you didn’t come across as an expert, but as a mother learning as she forays deeper into parenthood. Hope your move goes smoothly.

  17. Fairly Odd Mother Feb 17 at 11:01 pm Reply Reply

    I will miss your writing on Wonderland and hope Finslippy doesn’t go anywhere (you can take it to Brooklyn! Oh wait, I think you started it in Brooklyn). Just today I got stuck in the Clark Street subway station turnstile, and while I am a lame suburbanite at heart, I can understand the love for the city. Happy moving and may great things await you.

  18. Sarah @ Ohana Mama Feb 19 at 4:11 am Reply Reply

    Darn, my first time reading Wonderland (I know…where have I been?) and my beginning is the end. Damn.
    Best of luck on everything!

  19. heidi Mar 13 at 10:49 am Reply Reply

    Sad to see you finish here. Enjoy the results of the move. And I’ll keep enjoying finslippy. Thank you for sharing you thoughts and words with us.

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