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Hooray! :-D Boo! :-(

By Heather Herrick

So, our family is getting ready to move. This partially explains my absence from Segullah as of late. I miss you though, my dears!

After six years in NYC we are heading west, to Colorado. We’ll soon be within a day’s drive of our families. We’ll have a car, a washer & dryer, 3 whole bedrooms (with a closet in each room! My sister reminded me that’s normal, and I reminded her, “Not for me!”), and 2 whole bathrooms. No more bikes parked in bedrooms, moving the dinner table in and out of the corner in order to sit the whole family at once, or hauling laundry down the stairs, the street, in any kind of weather to spend $20 a week at the laundromat, only to have to haul it back up and then do it again the next week. No more dodging dog poop on the sidewalks or running on sticky summer mornings past blocks of stinky trash waiting for pick-up. No more neighbors above my head dancing to Latin hip hop and partying until 3 a.m., no more crowded train rides with tired kids, or unpacking a loaded stroller to fold it and get on the bus, somehow balancing the child and everything else that was in it with only two hands. No more buying only the amount of groceries I can carry and having the bags cut into my hands as my arms burn while I make my way home. Hooray!

But also, no more playdates at the park with dear friends, running in sprinklers, traveling to free city pools, no more mom chats on the bus, or playgroups and pre-school co-ops with people who have known my kids since they were born, no more babysitting swaps and school pick-ups with surrogate family, no more gourmet baking ingredients at my fingertips, no exploring central park, or authentic Thai, hand-made chocolate, world-class donuts, no more affordable public transit that can get me all over (no insurance or gas costs), no more free summer concerts, Shakespeare in the Park, swing dancing under the stars in front of the Metropolitan Opera House, cheap Broadway tickets. No more world-class museums, incredible zoos where we get in almost free on pay-what-you-wish days, or ward musical numbers by amazing professional musicians. No more runs across the George Washington Bridge to see the changing leaves of New Jersey Palisades in fall, no more magnolia and dogwood trees bursting into color at the Botanical garden in spring. No more frequent craziness that connects me to humanity every single day! Like the Laundromat owner who comes and chats politics when I’m waiting to cross the street at the corner in front of her store. Or the deli guy who gives my kids free candy and knows just how to make my turkey provolone sandwich while he updates me about the state of safety in the neighborhood. Or the bird man who puts out forty pounds of bird seed on our block every day for the pigeons, to, ummm what did he say it was for again? Oh yeah, to save us from some sort of government conspiracy. No more New York. Boo!

I am excited for the change and yet so sad! I don’t know quite how to get through this time, all the conflicting emotions. I am trying to relish the weeks we have left, but it feels like ripping the band-aid off slowly. You just feel a little bit of pain at a time instead of all at once. It’s still there though. People are great. They’re trying to help and be encouraging. They say, “It’ll be great; you’ll be fine; think of this or that and how nice that will be, etc., etc.” And I do think what they’re saying is probably true. And I fully anticipate getting through this and loving our new home and the friends I’ve yet to meet. But there have been days over the past few weeks when it literally feels like bits of my heart are getting squished, twisted, ripped, and there is actual physical pain in my chest. Thoughts of a washer and dryer just can’t make it go away.

And so I have been trying to turn to my Father in Heaven more. Seeking the comfort of His spirit. Reading the Book of Mormon. That’s helping . . .but it’s not instant. I have to travel through this change and feel what I will feel and be grateful that I have a Father in Heaven to turn to.

Any other ideas that will help? How have you weathered change successfully?

About Heather Herrick

Heather currently lives in the center of the universe (she’s not being egotistical, it’s true—ask any other New Yorker). She loves NYC, but misses the mountains of Utah where she grew up. Heather and her husband are glad that the baby from her poem now sleeps alone; baby two spoils her mama by having the cutest dimple ever, and hopefully will not become a kicker like her sister.

34 thoughts on “Hooray! :-D Boo! :-(”

  1. I'm not going to lie. I'm sad to see you go. It's also hard to see someone taking a step forward in their life in the direction they want to go when I'm so stuck in directionless land. It makes me happy that something good (though not easy) is happening in your life. From one who weathers hardship and change terribly, my advice is to cry a lot and eat junk. Hmmm…yeah, my ideas really aren't that helpful after all. But I do want you to know that I love you and really feel a loss at your move.

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  2. I'm feeling that same way–torn-in-half, bitter-sweet–about our impending move from San Antonio next year. So much I'll miss, and so much I won't.

    Good luck on 'starting over'!

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  3. Congratulations on the move! We've been in Colorado for 10 1/2 years and we love it here! In fact, we're trying to sell our house right now, so if you are looking…. 😉 (we are staying in CO, just need more space. my declaration of love for the state sounded weird followed by a statement that we're selling our home.) We have beautiful weather, sunshine 300+ days a year, mountains, great parks and lots of family-friendly things to do. It's not NYC, but I think you'll come to love it eventually 🙂 Welcome, and good luck!!

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  4. I heard a quote in Sacrament meeting a few weeks ago, but I don't know who said it:
    "Change is VITAL to our growth."

    Last Saturday night at the wedding reception of my 4th and last son to be married, in walks my friend from our neighborhood of 20 years ago. I screeched with delight and dove into her arms. Then we sat and reminisced about our years together when our children were small and we were both poor. Those were such happy special unique days of our lives. I remember the day we left our neighborhood, I was so sad, and crying and my Mom said, "What do you want…both lives?" She was right…I did! I treasure those days, just like you will always treasure the special days you are about to leave and move away from. Go ahead and cry all you want. But remember, there will be many surprises just around the corner!

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  5. "no more free summer concerts, Shakespeare in the Park"

    Where are you moving that doesn't have those things? Even in a small city in mid-Missouri we have them. Maybe you should just stop 2/3 of the way to Colorado….

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  6. Welcome to Colorado!

    And what JrL said… even our small town has Shakespeare in the Park and free concerts all summer long. Plus, if your kids participate in the library book program, you can get free tickets to Lakeside (the most wonderful run-down amusement park ever)!

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  7. We are really going to miss you guys. But I'll admit, I'm totally perving on your impending washer-dryer situation. I h8 laundromats, hard. I'm sure that you will have plenty of good to report when we see you in the fall. 🙂

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  8. Dear Heather my highschool friend,
    I read your entry and it made me tear up. As far as advice I can give you is to cherish the friendships that you have made in NYC. I have moved a lot in my adult life and I never miss the things that each place has only the people. NYC would be quite an adventure but you can visit the city again. Keep in touch with your friends, remember birthdays and holidays and traditions you shared together and make the extra effort to keep in touch with them. Relationships are what really matters. Good luck with everything in Colorado. Maybe you will be lucky enough to connect with some of my friends I left behind there. I know they would be lucky to have you.
    Love,
    Adrienne

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  9. Heather, I didn't know you were moving! This was a beautifully written post—you captured the sights and delights of New York perfectly, and you made me wish I had lived there.

    When I was sixteen my family moved from Emu Plains, Australia to Fresno, California. I remember feeling conflicted—I would miss my friends and our house and the country that had been my home for nine years, but I was excited to go back to America, where I would go to an American high school and date American boys and associate with other LDS kids at school. I look back now and marvel that I made the move so easily. I think I was too young to appreciate the significance of the move, for one thing (and I wonder now about how my mother must have felt during that move—it must have been so much more difficult for her). I wished, after we'd moved from Australia, that I'd savored our last few weeks there more, that I'd hugged my friends more, that I'd let myself cry more over leaving.

    Anyway, the only advice I have is to be gentle with yourself through this move. Let yourself grieve over the things you miss, give yourself time to get used to your new surroundings, and be patient with yourself and your children as all of you adjust. And savor New York as much as you can before you leave!

    I hope the move goes well, and that you'll feel settled in no time. =)

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  10. I feel every word, Heather. And thanks, everybody, for the encouraging words. And yes, we know there is culture and interesting places everywhere….but does your free Shakespeare in the Park star Meryl Streep or Al Pacino, and is your free summer concert, the NY Philharmonic…? Sadly, no. The best of everything is really here…..but we will love what we get all the same?

    ….and a washer/dryer may make up for all of the loss.

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  11. What makes you think that you can't find authentic Thai food or hand-made chocolate or awesome museums or a host of the other things you mentioned in Colorado? Sounds like you picked up some of that stereotypical New York City snobbishness during your 6 years there.

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  12. Heidi,
    I'm not sure where that came from. That was wholeheartedly unkind and uncomfortably close to the line of our commenting policy.

    Moving is hard. New places are hard. This post has been very generous to both the good and bad of going somewhere new. There is absolutely nothing snobbish about it.

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  13. Heidi, ouch!

    Moving is hard, no matter where you're coming from or going to. It's always easy (and normal) to opine and remember the greatest things about our homes. And it's normal to feel anxiety about the unknown newness of change.

    Heather, I hope this means we'll get to see more of you, and don't worry – the Lord loves you and there will be a lot of great things about wherever you land.

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  14. While I admit that New York is pretty amazing (the restaurants! The shows! The culture! The food! Sorry folks, nowhere else really compares except maybe Paris or London. Maybe LA. Maybe), I would have to say that although there are some nice people there, I really love smaller town life and having that friendliness and day-to-day politeness that seems to be missing in most big cities.

    I love the relaxed lifestyle and lack of keeping-up-with-the-Joneses that less mainstream places offer.

    I guess I just like to focus on all the great things there are where I am moving to. If I start to think about things I miss I just tell myself it's the price I have to pay for a better climate/bigger house/better job, etc.

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  15. Sweet baby, call me too much of this world, but I don't know how one ever recovers from leaving New York. It's a singular place, kinda like heaven in some ways. Maybe not so much in others, but you'll carry it with you–the lovely and grotesque–for a long time, I bet. You may love Colorado, and I hope you do cause there will be lots of beauty and wonder there too. But it won't be New York, as Moscow, Idaho is not Caracas for me, and you'll miss the way the light shone there and something heavy will come and sit on your chest. It is the price. But it's a sweet price, in some ways, one that means you lived and loved. Good luck through this, angel. Light the dark with that glorious smile.

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  16. "a washer & dryer, 3 whole bedrooms (with a closet in each room!"

    Heh. Funny how people who don't live in NY (which is most everyone, I know, but I'm in Brooklyn), take a washer&dryer and closets for granted.

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  17. Run around the city one last time taking pictures doing all your favorite things and seeing all your favorite people and then take the photos and turn them into a photo book. When you feel sad you'll have those memories at your fingertips. Good luck with your move.

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  18. I grew up in Colorado, and I know you will grow to love it. Of course it will take time, but eventually, you will LOVE it. Summer thunderstorms, bright blue skies in December, the most amazing clouds and sunsets . . . I miss it!

    I just moved to D.C. in October (from Utah), and even though I was pretty much only excited to move, it was still difficult. It takes so long to feel at home and to feel comfortable and to make friends. It kind of sucks. But it gets better every day. And thank goodness you can always visit NYC! (Believe it or not, there ARE things that Colorado has that NYC doesn't!)

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  19. Oh! This is a particular "leaving New York" feeling that I've yet to experience in any other situation. We moved to Idaho from Manhattan four years ago and I remember writing a blog post that eerily mimics your last paragraph – incredibly melodramatic, but so, so true. I felt like my world was possibly ending! Now that we're getting ready to leave Idaho for Washington D.C., you know what? I don't feel it at all.

    (What worked best for me was denial. Pretend like you're not going anywhere, and then once you're there you'll be so out of the habit of grocery stores in cars and laundry rooms in houses that you'll be temporarily distracted.)

    Good luck!

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  20. ". . . and you’ll miss the way the light shone there and something heavy will come and sit on your chest. It is the price. But it’s a sweet price, in some ways, one that means you lived and loved."

    The way moving feels, every time.

    Heather – I'm right there with you dear. Moving means that I'm continually managing conflicting emotions. But I don't count myself poorer for the experience. In any way.

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  21. you are a wonderful writer, and i love this essay, though (as you know) losing you (geographically) is painful to contemplate…that band-aid will be history in just a few weeks.

    please tell matt that eventually i will just think of him again as "matt, a great husband, dad, singer," not "matt, the man who stole heather from nyc." 😉

    and no, a washer/dryer is *not* a substitute for seeing me all the time on the Bx7. xxxooo

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  22. We moved to Colorado nearly five years ago, carpooling on the way. As we took the freeway exit to our new home, my wife called me on her cellphone and said, "Look at the mountains! We get to look at that every day!"

    My most practical suggestion to a Colorado newby is to drink lots of fluids. The altitude makes it easy to get dehydrated quickly without your ever getting thirsty. My wife had to be hospitalized twice for dehydration before she finally became acclimated. We both make it a point now to keep something to drink close by.

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  23. When I was living with my parents for a few months before my mission I passed a billboard on a church that said "all true change requires a temporary surrender of security". For some reason that phrase stuck in my mind and has ever since comforted me. I think it's the 'temporary surrender' that helps. We've been married for almost 9 years and have moved seven times. We finally bought a house and hope to stay here for good. Moving is hard–I remember reading once that it's high on the list of major life stressors–after deaths of loved ones and divorce. When I look at photos of fun things we used to do, I still feel some sadness over what we gave up. Yes, we now have a garage, yard, and washer/dryer. But not those friends or some of the other things our old town had.

    So I guess my only advice would be to remember that you're not alone. Don't beat yourself up or tell yourself that you 'shouldn't' feel sad. You have to mourn a little in order to move on with your life. And, when you get to your new place, try to embrace it without too much comparison. It won't be New York, and it doesn't have to be 'better' or 'worse'. Just different.

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  24. These are wonderful, wonderful, encouraging sentiments and advice. I love knowing some of you are right there with me; I know I'm not alone in feeling that moving is hard. Grateful for that. Always makes it easier. Matt keeps telling me, just enjoy your friends; enjoy the city; do the things you love; don't worry so much! I am trying.

    Even your comment to my post is beautifully written Brit. Thank you!

    It's funny Heidi, even while writing this I thought to myself, someone out there is going to accuse me of thinking, "the world revolves around new york." Before living here I had similar thoughts when I'd met some people from New York. They thought everything they'd ever need or want was right at their fingertips. And I'd think to myself, "But no mountains, no west coast sunsets, no wide open spaces. They really don't know what they're missing."

    But I put my love for the city out there all the same, because I have deep roots here. Roots that reach into the hard Manhattan schist due to everything we have experienced here from bearing children to ending up downtown in a rainstorm with babies and toddlers and laughing under the safety of a grocery store doorway. Roots from finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie and being able to share it with family when they come to visit, even though it's not on any tourist's map. Stuff like that.

    I know there will be new places to enjoy and my life will become intertwined with the people I will come to know, serve, and love there. But like I said, it just doesn't make leaving this any easier. So off I go, with tear-stained cheeks each day. Until it feels better, whenever that may be.

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  25. I loved this post. You captured so well the excitement of change and possibilities, and at the same time the heartache leaving what is familiar and cherished.

    I’ve moved more times than I can count. I have a couple of suggestions:

    -Summertime is a perfect time to get out and explore the mountains and community. Make it a goal to fall in love with at least one activity or place this summer, the farmer’s market, a great picnic spot, a hiking trail, a bike path, a breakfast cafe. Finding a place that is yours connects you to the community.

    -Go on a quest to find whatever it is that will give you a little piece of New York. Is it the perfect doughnut or pizza? Great Thai food? An art gallery? Whatever it is, go on a quest to explore the nooks and crannies of your area until you find the best replacement you can. The quest itself will help you get to know your area and along the way you’ll discover things about your town you probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

    Good luck with the move. Change is hard, but it’s also an opportunity to experience a whole new world of good and different things. Be sure to post after the move and tell us about your new place!

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  26. Heather,

    Thanks for your kindness to us as new, New Yorkers and for involving us in the playgroup co-op while we were in Washington Heights/Innwood. New York will miss you! Safe travels.

    xo,
    Julianne

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  27. We are moving from Japan to. . . you guessed it, COLORADO! in 2 weeks after living in theis beautiful country for three years.
    I do have one tip that carries me through as a woman who moves every three years. I have a wonderful network of friends who also lived and have lived here. We have made plans to meet up one weekend this fall. We don't know where YET and we don't have exact dates pinned down, but it truly helps me deal with the finality of moving. Knowing that in a few months I will at least get to see the people again, maybe not the place. But for me, the people are a huge part of the place.

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  28. Heather!

    Oh my…I can't believe it. It just wouldn't be NYC without you guys. It's funny because even though we left a year ago, my heart still aches when I hear other families are making the move as well….so I can definitely relate.

    I have to say that I still miss NYC. However, I also like our new home. It's not an either/or, it's a both…yes I like it here, but yes I miss NYC too. Having grown up in Colorado I know you'll probably love it, but of course it's no New York. I think knowing that you guys really lived it up while you were there and trying to squeeze your last minute 'things to do in NY' before you leave will help. Other than that, I say cry and let it out. No one really wants to feel the sadness, but feeling the sadness and not repressing it will help. Oh, also B made a book for me of our 4 years in NYC. He did it through blurb and it was just a huge photo book…I love having that. Good luck!

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  29. My, what a large fan base you have! I just wanted to say that you really never know what the new location will hold in store for you. It will be full of treasures–places to see, amazing food, new people that you would not have met elsewhere, new perspectives that other people show you, etc. So be excited for the treasures waiting for you to discover in CO. Of course nothing will replace your experiences and friends in NYC, but how wonderful that you get to have another adventure and expand your repertoire of corners of the US! You will be richer in experiencing life for moving on.

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  30. I lived in New York for 22 years, then San Francisco, then Boston, and we moved to Salt Lake last year. There is NO place like New York. I miss it every day. My strategy is to seek out the New York-type places in SLC and patronize them to show my support for non-chain restaurants, creative boutiques and independent bookstores. I'm sure Colorado has those too, and if you find them, support them, and share them with friends you will be bringing the appreciation of the world that you learned in New York to your new home. Good luck!

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  31. "I have to travel through this change and feel what I will feel and be grateful that I have a Father in Heaven to turn to."

    Wow, this statement resonated so strongly with me and brought me much comfort- thanks. While I'm not facing a move, I've been through a major life-change recently and I've finally come to see that the only way through it is through it. It truly is darkest before the dawn, but fortunately I'm seeing those first peeks of light 🙂

    I wish you all the best with your move and can only second what others have said about making your new town your "own" as quickly as possible by seeking out the many treasures which I'm sure you'll find there.

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  32. Heather,
    My heart is heavy for you right now. Leaving people and places that are familiar and wonderful and unique and amazing is not an easy task. You have had the comfort of knowing that those things you have come to love and appreciate were just down the street or around the corner or a train ride away, just…. there waiting for you. And now they wont be.

    Trying to fight or ignore the pain of letting go would be futile; it’s just not that simple. All you can do is take in all you can, and even then don’t expect it to be painless because you will be thinking, oh……..this is the last time to see this or do that, you may even shed a tear the last time you jog past that stinky garbage on the street. 😀 Hey, I do the same thing when I just visit New York, I look around and take a deep breath, try to soak it all in and engrave it into my memory and every time a tear or two falls knowing I have to leave.

    Who knows all the places God has in store for you on your path. I suspect however you will go wherever it is he wants you and you will do it with all of the abilities you so beautifully posses. Not a lot of people can do the things you have done like living in New York City, thriving with such grace all while creating and raising your wonderful family with Matt. Will it be hard yes, but you have clearly shown that you can do hard things and do them so very well…. and when you look back at what you have truly lived and accomplished there you will smile knowing it happened.

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  33. I lived in Boston for 8 years, and as I drove away for the last time, it was wrenching, for all the reasons you described. But when we moved from DC, after only 2 years of living there, it was just as wrenching. I finally decided it was good thing—how awful would it be if you lived somewhere for 6 years and hated every minute? The fact that it's hard to move means that you lived a full and exciting and fun life while you were there, that you took joy in the journey even as you struggled with the laundry (can I echo the H8 laundromat comment? Not until we were married for almost 6 years did we get a washer dryer. Heaven.). I am always perversely glad when I am sad to leave someplace, because it meant my time there wasn't wasted, that I lived a good life and made the most of where I was.

    So rejoice in your sadness—if that doesn't sound too weird :). And remember that you have great friends in Colorado, you just haven't met them yet.

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