Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Small Town Kids, Big City
Today was the day that Brian most fretted over. His babies were hitting NYC. He has been there before, knows that it is just as safe as Kansas City.. but in his heart ,it's the big scary city that is going to devour his precious children.
Because of his nerves, I had to play it up cool.. " they will be fine... don't worry!" But I did, a little bit.Not his Master Worrier level, but typical Mom Worry. Our Host, my room mate from college and her family, was our official tour guide. It had been far too many years since I had ventured into New York and even then, I needed exact direction about where to go. It's just not my favorite city.
There, I said it. I don't entirely Heart NY. Growing up in Connecticut we ventured down there fairly frequently. I've been to shows on Broadway, seen the Christmas show at Radio City, spent weekends in hotels and with friends who lived there. I just never got the warm fuzzies that others did. After college I even dreaded the prospect of finding employment there. So bringing my kids there sounded fun, the the actual leading around was best left to someone more qualified. Enter Sharon. This made Brian slightly more comfortable. But the night before he was still giving me Overly Protective Parent hints. " Do NOT let Luke out of your sight" " Have Luke walk in FRONT of you". " If Luke has to go to the bathroom, stand right outside." Apparently Luke was his biggest concern, and, truth be told, mine as well.
We took the train from a commuter station in Maplewood NJ. The good thing about having kids who don't leave our little town much is that the bar is set pretty low when it comes to new experiences. The train was a huge thrill and Luke had the jaded commuters smiling over their laptops and newspapers as he announced " I will never live in New York,Kansas City is perfect for me. I can't imagine living here."
As they emerged from Penn Station and stared at the Empire State Building, the kids were hooked. There was no small town kid hesitation, no trepidation, no shyness.. they dove right in. Asking questions , oohing and aahhing as Sharon pointed out sights. They wanted to go to the places they would have heard of as kids -- Toys R Us,Times Square, Hard Rock- and Sharon our willing guide led us. She added a few stops that they were happy to see-- St Patrick's Cathedral,Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall. They saw 5th Avenue and the Garment District.We had a very simple route that allowed them to experience a taste of New York without overwhelming them.
Luke was not shy, talking up sales clerks, buying things off the street, being quiet when quiet was necessary. Bek soaked it all in. At this point in her life she wants to be a writer when she grows up and as the day went on I could imagine her living for a time here. gaining experiences that would color her work. I had been so busy worrying about them, I didn't even stop to think how they would react. We all happily delighted in our reactions to the sights, sounds and smells.
At the end of the day, we went to see the Statue Of Liberty.. not from New York, but from the state of our Hosts. We drove out to Liberty State Park to end our NYC experience gazing at Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. Our view of the statue from that side of the river told our futures of New York: we will be back.