My boys live 100 miles from Brooklyn, but sometimes they come visit me there (even though I live in Manhattan) because we can all hang out at auntie Sarah’s place (much bigger than my book-lined and cramped batch pad) and play in the playground in Fort Greene. Because the guys like Sarah so much, they have the best of all possible associations with the whole idea of Brooklyn.
So I was very excited to show them a new childrens book that’s come out, The ABCs of Brooklyn, a beautiful photographic tour of the borough with alliterative entries like “C is for cute children concentrating on Coney Island beach” for each letter of the alphabet and the numbers 1-10. (And, yes, that was my first plug as a dad blogger! I feel so official!)
Reading the book to them made me think back to one of my favorite memories of them, one that again underscores how different siblings can be (and in this case how much Louie and Otis parallel me and my brother, who’s 3 and a half years younger). So we’re in the crowded city playground, and I ask my little one, Otis, whether he liked having so many kids around. He told me, “Yes, Daddy, I like playing with them.” Then when I asked Louie the same question, he said, “Daddy, I like it when there are no kids.” “Why?” I asked. “Because they get in my space.” Them’s my boys! Yes, that’s them in a nutshell, the almost-4 extrovert and the pint-sized, six-year-old Schopenhauer. One day I’m sure that Louie will realize, as his dad did only recently, how important other people really are in one’s life and how much much much better life is when you let them in. He’ll have to learn it on his own schedule, but, having gone through that myself, hopefully I can help him learn a little faster than I did.
And so we return to the Brooklyn theme one last time, because guess who showed me, really, that you can lean on and depend on other people? Good old Auntie Sarah. Now we just have to find a first-grade version of her to introduce to Louie!