Nina In New York: Bye For Now

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

By Nina Pajak

Well, the time has come. This baby is due in a matter of weeks, a fact which is in no way supported by the state of my house or my life, for that matter. But time waits for no (wo)man, so this kid is coming whether we’re ready or not. And given the rate of this baby’s growth, I’m hoping for a (slightly) early arrival.

So, as I so often say to my toddler, all good things must come to an end. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t stay good. With 90% of the blood that once went to my head now diverted to my unborn child (that’s science), skyrocketing temperatures and hormone levels, an increasingly needy toddler, and a rapidly expanding belly that makes even walking to the drugstore a feat of strength, I fear I can no longer scrape together the requisite brain cells to string together a coherent, original sentence on an interesting topic. Actually, I think I just cashed in whatever was left on the above. Monkey pineapple Andy Cohen c-section ham sandwich naptimezzzzzz yep! That’s about all I’ve got.

It’s a strange thing bringing a life into the world in this day and age. We are mired in violence, hatred, and an unprecedented level of interpersonal disconnectedness. I’m sure that every generation has had its concerns about their children’s futures, and in many ways we’re better off than those who came before us. But it’s hard to feel optimistic amid all of the open, unrepentant vitriol that seems to have dominated our national conversation (and beyond). It’s almost as though the more communication is facilitated by technological progress, the more it’s abused and twisted into something either completely hideous or totally isolating. And it’s easy to worry that we’ve lost our decency, our safety, our way.

Hang on one quick sec while I have an anxiety attack, okay? Okay.

But then when you zoom in a little, things start to look a little better. Well, hang on, because first you hit the community and parent Facebook pages, where people spend their days fighting with strangers and neighbors about syntax and parenting decisions and opinions on restaurants and accusing people of either racism or political correctness whenever and wherever possible. But avert your eyes, take a deep breath and keep going. A little further, you’re almost there. Now! Now you’re seeing people holding doors open for pregnant ladies with strollers. You’re saying hello to familiar faces on the street and in the park and behind the counters of even the most faceless of faceless corporate chain stores. You’re asking the person at the table next to you in the coffee shop to watch your computer. In the few years I’ve lived in my neighborhood in Queens, I’ve made a Rolodex full of friends whom I’d feel comfortable calling at 2AM in a pinch. People still care about their surroundings, about local business, about one another. When I turn off all my devices and focus on what’s directly in front of me, I feel reassured. I remember why I want to be a part of this community, and why I’m happy to add another person to the soup.

And then zoom back out—we just nominated our first female presidential candidate. Our country’s first black president is wrapping up his second term. Another young, white man just got away with rape, but on the other hand, the general public is pretty unanimously and vocally outraged, including our Vice President. Things aren’t fixed, but we’re standing for less and less garbage. The good doesn’t negate (or even outweigh) the bad, but that’s no reason to dismiss it. Like a burgeoning campfire, we need to take these sparks of positivity and a collective desire for improvement and nurture them, feed them, until they can fully breathe and expand. I like to think of our children as the kindling in that flame. Or, wait, maybe they’re the starter kit? Something like that. METAPHORS ARE HARD FOR ME RIGHT NOW, OKAY?

But you get where I’m going with this. And I can’t wait to meet my next little spark. I’ve got high hopes for him, for all of them, for all of us.

Also, more immediately, I’ve got high hopes for a margarita. It’s so damn close.

Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!

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