Helping your fourth and last child move into his first apartment after graduating college is both exciting and depressing. Thrilled that he will be paying his own bills and living independently, sad because he will be 8 states away, which means 1,200 miles, or a 20-hour drive, or a 4-hour flight (plus the two hours you need to be at the airport prior and then the one hour bus ride into New York City from JFK) so, actually a 7-hour flight away. (You can see I’ve given very little thought to this!)
It took us three trips to secure an apartment: Trip 1. We had to consider different areas of the city, then find a realtor that specialized in that area. Trip 2. We checked out apartments the realtor found, decided on one, then began the mountains of paperwork required to rent in NYC. Trip 3. Finally! We moved my son into the apartment only to discover all the things we didn’t think about when choosing a place in the city, like insects and security issues. Each trip my son auditioned for jobs, connected with friends in the business and spread the news that he had completed his BFA in Music Theatre.
Moving to NYC has been a lifelong dream of his. For him, moving to New York gives him the opportunity to become an employed actor, contributing his talents to new works and entertaining the crowds. That is what has driven him since he was 8 years old.
After a long day of travel and shopping, we sat cross-legged on the floor eating deli sandwiches from the bodega across the street, drinking wine out of mason jars, a wine that cost me $7 more for the same bottle than I pay down south, looking around at the IKEA boxes and a used mattress surrounding us as he begins his dream. The non-stop sounds from outside- sirens, cars with enhanced mufflers and busses’ diesel engines will hopefully fade into background noise over time.
The next day, his real bed and a pull-out couch was delivered. Also, the $800 worth of Bed Bath and Beyond items we purchased (including ear plugs and a fly swatter) was delivered for only ten bucks! (You gotta love NYC…It would have taken us fifteen trips on the subway to get all that stuff from mid-town to up-town!) His roomie (who is currently out on tour) had already acquired an apartment sized table with four chairs which will just have to do for the two over-six- foot-tall actors.
We prepared for battle. On all fours, with a screw driver in hand, singing to the “Dear Evan Hansen” soundtrack, my son put together his six-drawer dresser. I’ve never seen him happier (even with all that swearing and damning of drawers going on!)
I, on the other hand, began scrubbing the kitchen and bathroom. Let’s just say there was no "too early" to start drinking wine that day! It took us a total of four days to get most things delivered and set up.
My girlfriend showed up on the last night and put her interior design degree to work rearranging furniture for efficiency in the small but much appreciated apartment. Surprisingly, we only went through one bottle of wine as we put together two book cases and a night stand while my son was out visiting friends and going to a show-it’s all about networking, you know!
The following morning, we packed up and prepared his room for a friend who was going to sub-lease it for the next few months. Wouldn’t you know it, my son’s first professional job after college turned out to be in our home town in Florida!
Kyle Ann Robertson
Chief Writing Officer at Ifcorkscouldtalk.com and BBWalsh.com