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Brooklyn Nights: And Other Things Parenthood Stole From Us

We used to move through the evening shadows like leopards loose in the city. My wife and I, long before the two kids and this latest pregnancy, we used to get showers to go out at like, 10.

As in: 10 at night.

It didn't matter which night either ... Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays. Hell, I doubt we even knew what night it was half the time. We'd pull the heavy steel front door to our apartment building open and spill out into the Brooklyn darkness smelling like nice six-dollar body wash and cigarette smoke and girly shampoo and maybe a hint of red wine dangling from our breath to get things started.

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We'd walk where we were going, down past tightly packed houses lit up with Christmas lights, or down past the August stoop-sitters laughing among themselves, to the Thai places a block or two away or to one of the 50 bars within a five-minute stroll of our tiny home.

We never really talked about children too much back then. But in a way, I guess we didn't need to. We both knew they were tumbling down the pipeline even as we glanced at each other across the familiar bar. We knew, without even saying so, that there were already kids out there floating in space, ready to land in our world whenever we sort of decided that everything was ready.

Now, of course, they're here/they're still coming.

Having kids is no joke and it's no lie either. It's been beautiful and life-affirming and all that stuff that they say it is, too. Seriously, it has been. But I'd be a lying sack of s*** if I didn't confess the truth about how much I miss our Brooklyn nights sometimes; all of that freedom dipped in chaos and lust and pale ale; all of those hipster jukeboxes with Television and The Ramones and Johnny Cash; standing on the curb out front the bar, smoking with my friends, staring at the crystal-clean shimmer of Manhattan as she stared right back at us.

It isn't easy. No one said it would be. Blah, blah, blah.

And so now what?

Now what do we do?

We were young and free and in the greatest city on earth. We were married and unsure and in love but uncertain.

Now where do we go?

I'm not complaining, so don't jam your righteous shiv into my side. All of this is a free form requiem that I'm spilling out here, you see. This is my soliloquy for parents everywhere, I think, because if you are doing this whole thing right—if you are living your life in the name of love now—then I expect you have given up oceans of yourself in a small amount of time.

It isn't easy. No one said it would be. Blah, blah, blah.

Most nights now, Monica and I either end up in bed, exhausted by 8 p.m., or, if things are really popping over at our place, we might watch an hour-and-change of TV on the couch. We laugh and all, too, of course, but she'd probably agree with me when I tell you that it isn't really the same anymore. Watching the goddamn TV, feeing like a fat, buzzed Kobe beef, our bellies pounding at the backside of our skin with hammers made of evening beer and spaghetti. So much about us—about our lives—has changed.

And yeah, nothing will ever be the same again.

How could it be?

Once upon a time, we were spinning across a Brooklyn night together, just me and her. We did that. That is still ours and we're going to keep that forever, too. No matter what.

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Now, though, we have all of these other evenings we have to spin across from here on out. They're not too bad, either. We've got evenings filled with life and spirit; and if you need me there's a damn good chance you can find me playing kickball in the living room.

They suit us, I think, these tired early nights. Even as we fade away behind anchor eyes and fall asleep remembering how we used to claw the belly of the night wide open and feast upon its quivering heart, I pretty much know why we did what we did.

We made the right choice. I have to believe that. And I do.

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