A Little This and That
This is our spring break week. One day, the kids and I headed into the city. We’ve usually driven in the past but this time we took the train. And, much to Henry’s delight we got a double-decker train. With a STAIRCASE. After departing the train (and surviving the human stampede through a very narrow escalator), we broke through, into the city.
Both Abby and Henry paused when we hit street level, readjusting to the sunlight. Their eyes took in New York City and the barrage of noises, people, smells and sights. I had to prod them a bit to get them to start moving. Then, we hoofed it. For many of the 50 blocks, I had one if not two hands, in mine.
From 32nd all the way up to 79th, and half-way down again (I finally put us on the subway at 59th–we were wiped), we walked. We walked through Times Square. We walked to Carnegie Deli where we ate incredibly huge sandwiches and gazed the star-covered walls. We walked to the Museum of Natural History and greeted the dinosaurs.
When we left the museum (our planned destination), we walked to Central Park. This was, of course, the highlight of their day.
The early April day was warm–almost hot. Cobalt blue skies soared overhead and the hot sun shone. It looked like every New Yorker was in the Park–it hummed with sun-deprived Northerners after a very, very long winter. Daffodils bobbed their heads in the soft breeze. Birds celebrated, dipping and swooping about. Runners ran, bikers whizzed by; one runner and one biker had a near-accident and had some New York-flavored words, to, uh, work it out. My mild-mannered, suburban children watched their interaction with awe.
We strolled and dallied while eating ice cream from a street vendor. Shouts from a softball game punctuated the soft air. We spent a lot of time exploring the rocks.
As beautiful as this day was, of course not everything was picturesque. It was a day with two children and their mother–we all took our turns with frustration. In addition, Henry touched everything possible–the cement walls, the ground (that’s when I yelled, “Every dog in New York has urinated there, Henry!”), the sticks, the trashcans. When he rested on one park bench that smelled just like a urinal, I asked him if that smell was familiar. He looked at me quizzically and said,
“People go to the bathwoom on the benches?!”
If I could’ve bathed him right then, I would’ve.
But, despite these regular blips, contentedness prevailed. We made it back to the train station (first time I navigated from the subway to the train station without the aid of a seasoned New Yorker!). Henry sat on my lap for a bit and his heavy head rested in the curve of my neck. The kids watched as the outskirts of the city gave way to the suburbs. As the terrain switched from urban to forest, the trees indicated that we were getting closer to home.
As we drove home from the train station, I asked both Abby and Henry what they liked most about our adventure. Henry cited the rock climbing in Central Park. Abby agreed–with a close second being the street-vendor soft-pretzel. I, however, had a different take. For all of those 55 block we traversed, both of my children held my hands. (I wondered, prior to this day, if I’d ever hold Abby‘s hand in public again.)
A day with both of them within arms reach and the solid weight of both of their hands in mine will forever be the highlight of this day.