Dormans really deserve more respect and recognition. Not only do they receive our groceries and Amazon delivery, they have learned to notice every detail of us, they are regular visitors to our exposed lives and they never forget who we are.
This weekend my family is ready to move back to the city that we have called home for so many years as we walk down Memory Alley. Although we walked many times with our kids to our first apartment in Manhattan, this time we decided to enter the building and show their deepest feelings where our eldest child spent the first two years of his life and where our second son was and also spent the first few months of his life. I never imagined that when we entered the lobby, after thirteen years, the doorman would not only remember our name but would quickly take out the apartment we lived in.
I was in mourning. Literally, I’ve struggled for words that try to process how he can probably remember us thirteen years later when we’ve only spent a year and a half there.
When we got out of this building, we moved across the street to a new complex built by the same management company. In this second apartment, our daughter became pregnant and we finally spent another year and a half. Similarly, when we visited the lobby, a former porter recognized us and greeted us cheerfully. He even remembered the unit we lived in eleven years ago. How could they remember so much about us when I didn’t even recognize their faces?
They remembered our names, our apartment numbers, the interests of our little ones. Thousands of tenants walked out through the revolving doors of both buildings, but somehow they remembered us.
Although I can’t remember these two specific people, I clearly remember the two doormen who were particularly interested in our family and had a big impact on our hearts. I remember being grateful to the doormen in the beautiful building who treated our children with such kindness and love. I have vivid memories of our son’s first Halloween in one of these buildings and even met down the hall with our neighbors with whom we have been friends for the past fourteen years. Our eldest son celebrated his first and second birthday on the roof. Many memories were created here to share. It struck me that the doormen of our past that we encountered this past weekend are also part of this memory. In fact, we have memories of them that we do not have.
I have been thinking about this experience for the last few days. Although I tried to enlighten our former doorman in the light of our recollection that he suggested donating his brain to science, I was deeply touched. I wonder how much she remembers my life in the early days of my motherhood and when trying to navigate my new journey. In fact, Dorman is one of the few people in our lives who sees us every day. If they were able to remember if we lived in an apartment number, I think they have access to my memory as a newborn mother that I can’t even access myself.
Even today, we have a very close relationship with our doorman. In our current building, where we have lived for eleven years, our doorman met me when I was pregnant with our third child. They have observed that our children grow from newborn to twins and teenagers. They gave us love year after year which we have easily repaid since then. One of the hardest things I did when I left New York City was to say goodbye to the doormen who had made a huge impression on our children’s lives and on my own.
I’m not kidding when I share that saying goodbye to my doorman will be as hard for me as closing the front door for the last time. There’s a doorman in particular from whom I can’t think of being particularly isolated. Leaving him means giving up stability in my life প্রতিদিন a cheerful greeting every morning and a regular witness to my kids ’childhood days. Saying goodbye to him means saying goodbye to all the years my kids have been spinning in our lobby – first in the stroller, then in my new hand, step by step, step by step, finally on the graduation wheel in two, finally on the tricycle and bicycle. And nowadays they move freely and independently without my need. He has seen them at every stage of their lives. She has shared my deepest struggles over time and how quickly our children have grown up. As the father of older children, he gets me. He mentions almost every day “how fast they grow” and in the same breath “how bad they feel when they leave you”. Leaving her, and this lobby means leaving behind my little ones who are now almost young adults, has taken me one step further in that part of life that “feels bad when you leave”, but this time she won’t be there to talk to me. Through this. In San Diego I can’t encourage him every morning and he won’t see the growth they will endure for the next few years. Saying goodbye to him means leaving a huge part of my life in many ways.
As soon as I close the front door for the last time, my next step will be to say goodbye to our doormen towards the lobby and all the years we have spent with them in that safe place. When our time in this building repeats itself in my mind, it’s like watching a movie that was recorded for eleven years turned into an eleven second short film. It’s all a blur and really a push, but perhaps closing the door means leaving behind those beautiful memories that leave me in tears because I literally hurt so badly for those days. Closing the door means opening the new and looking ahead. Saying goodbye to places that hold our memories means making room for a new level. Saying goodbye to our doorman is really saying goodbye to a huge part of our lives, a part that I know I can’t get back to no matter how hard I try. Closing the door means moving on from the excruciating pain that our children will not have forever. Now that they have begun to increase the speed of lightning, it is time to close the door on unsatisfied hunger to cling to the past, even if it means leaving those incredible doormen who constantly remind me of how fast our lives are being cut short. Perhaps it’s time to open a new door to a new place where there are no ghostly memories of the capital’s hands and stupid laughter and calls for mom. And whenever I ask again for these days, I will always ask my New York City doorman to restore memories with me because they were there.