laura packardNew York City is starting to feel like a second home. And for this Georgia Peach, it requires a fair share of adjustments.

You see, our oldest daughter has wanted to model for forever and a day and a half and a handful of minutes. We made her wait until she turned 16. Little did we know she was dead straight serious about it. It helped out a lot that she ended up measuring in at an inch shy of six feet.

Actually, the thing is though, she did it all our her own. Last February, Livi started an Instagram scouting page. By spring break, we were up in New York interviewing agencies and she signed with one a great one as soon as we got home. This summer she was back up working on her book and by the end of August we were in the city again for New York fashion week. On September 9th, she walked in her first show for Olivia Palmero in collaboration with Banana Republic.

She is still 16. And she is fearless, y’€™all.

I am still 45 and I am not. Fearless, that is.

For one, if you are germaphobe, like me, Gotham City can be challenging. Entering, descending, paying and eventually riding the subway and staying upright and on your two feet is no easy feat. Especially without touching something. And when you do, because there is no other way to descend, pay and ride without doing so and arrive at your destination with some money left in the bank, one grip of a rail is the equivalent of shaking hands with 100,000 people. And I am not even entering in the two to three people you will never see again who coughed on you.

And if you have to find a bathroom, forget about it. But if you are so lucky, after you buy a 12-dollar muffin and a bottle of water, it’s usually three flights of steep stairs up or down the carcass of a building, so after you wash your hands to make it back outside and upright you have again shaken hands, unintentionally of course, with another have a million strangers.

There is also a lot of yelling. Most of it into a phone or at the back of a missed train or a random taxi. And to make things even more of a struggle, Livi’€™s office is on the corner of West 41st Street and 7th Ave. The good news is that when you emerge from the bowels of the underground and pop your head like a sewer rat back up towards the sun, there is a giant red lobster of the Red Lobster brand there to guide you. The bad news is there are also 5 thousand other signs in blinking lights, car horns and strangers that swell up to greet you . . . well, more like run over you. See, it is a place where two Elmo’€™s can get into a fist fight in front of a seven story H&M surrounded by a pack of break dancers and an oversized boom box the size of a sofa and no one bats and eye. It’€™s called Time Square. And if you don’€™t lose your ever-loving mind to sensory overload, it’€™ll be from eating your weight in cannolis from Carlos’€™ Bakery and being asked 13 dozen times if you’€™d like to board the bus with the top off of it that runs around the city even when it’€™s pouring rain that’€™ll do you in. It’€™s like Disney without the street cleaners and Fast passes or manners for that matter. But still there is something oddly seductive about it which leaves you even more confused in the end.

One of the true struggles for me was eating. See, I do this particular activity pretty slowly. I enjoy sitting for a bit and just soaking everything in. Evidently, this is an unusual thing to do In Manhattan. Five minutes in, eight different waiters will begin trying to remove your plate no matter what kind of dent you’ve made. The first couple of times, I tried to tell them I was still picking. This is a foreign language that is undecipherable in the Big Apple. It took me awhile, but I finally figured a few things out and changed my vernacular. You have to say, and firmly at that, you are still working. Even eating, along with every single other activity in NYC, is considered hard labor. In the end, you just have to go with it all. Even if it is at neck breaking speed.

Only, the strange thing is, the more time I spend there, the more I fall in love. Maybe because there are so many similarities to home.

It’€™s a place that seems old and new all at the same time.

It’s a place where everyone came from somewhere different but carved out their own niche and identify like a giant cluster of sprouting saplings that emerged together as the heartiest of trees laid out in front the sturdiest of buildings.

It’s a place people are proud to call home.

My heart belongs to the south but I will always “€œheart”€ New York for forever and a day and a handful of minutes. And I thank you sweet Livi, for that. We will see you soon.