we didn’t mean to go to new york city, not really.
i’m beginning to suspect maybe that’s how good things happen.
anyway, a couple weeks before thanksgiving, we heard through the britz grapevine that andy’s brother, ben & his wife, elizabeth, who live in new york, were moving. andy said, “it’s too bad we never got out there while they were still there.”
to which i answered without thinking, “maybe it doesn’t have to be.” now, let’s get something straight. i’m not a drag-the-kids-across-the-country sort of mom. heck, i’m not even a risk taker. over christmas, i read an article detailing 13 things successful folks do. i got to “be willing to take calculated risks” & slumped inside. & then my heart took a deep breath, shook itself off, & postured a little. i might not be, but i’d like to be. this post has had a hundred working titles, not least of which was andy’s “a week without wal-mart”. i find this picture just a little bit irritating.
after facebooking back & forth, we penciled in a few days with ben & elizabeth. & i tell you, we had a glorious time with them, who, by the way, created & write a site called “the Anti-Tourist”. i suppose you can figure out the sort of new york view we got, yes? without further adieu, i give you new york city, britz-view: the kids’ first subway ride. times square. also, how kieran saw most of the city. bagels. because of course. in ben & elizabeth’s cool, minimalist, place. we left no panache at home. a dragonfruit, from chinatown. thank you, Aunt E. you never fail to inspire us. hotdogs on coney island. . . . . .& kieran chasing seagulls. we got to the ocean, & he just took off running, not looking back. yes, yes, that’s it. the kids saw the ocean for the first time. & my soul opened up. i felt it. i wish i could have you at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee to tell you all the amazing things we saw, how the kids wowed at times square, but how they really dug the toys ‘r us there with life-sized storm troopers. how i was surprised by the beauty of the parks, & what amazing cooks both ben & elizabeth are, feeding us exquisite vegan fare all week. i’d tell you about the best grocery store on the planet that had every organic & natural brand all lined up for my wondrous eyes to partake, with a view of the statue of liberty out the back door, & i’d tell you how the kids loved the train, & about the most fantastic in-the-air park called the Highline, that is an old train track converted into a walking park. i’d probably be a little breathy in the telling; it’s still a happy tangle in my heart. photo credit: ben britz. then central park, where the kids frolicked as kids do. that building behind? that’s the MET. which they cared nothing about. to be a kid. if you were sitting at my table having coffee, i’d also tell you the million ways our trip went awry: the jumbo snowstorm that holed us up outside chicago. my complete failure to remember water bottles on any day-trip. the head cold andy wrestled with for the better part of the week. & toddler travel, which is a volume in itself. (suffice it to say, i can now bench press a mack truck.) but the Goodness, as it always does, far surpassed the trials. there was ny-style pizza, & ny-style cheesecake. ben & elizabeth taught the kids how to use chopsticks. i ate my first pork bun. (thank you, ben. i had no idea.) we drank bubble tea in chinatown & ate pizza in little italy. & the Lady; we saw her. & then, after a full week, & so many amazing conversations, we left ben & elizabeth & headed north to our friends, the Buckners, in upstate new york. where again, Goodness prevailed. as did sandy’s cooking. & kind hospitality. & a trip to the most amazing children’s museum. in the short while we were there, sandy & john & sarah blessed our socks off, too. sandy & co. only live 3 hours from niagara falls, so we headed that way next.
because andy is a man who loves a new road, we went through lower michigan en route home. we drove across the mackinac bridge, that 5 mile wonder between lake michigan & lake huron. the next morning we went to see if we could see the sault ste. marie locks, to see the barges moved. because we are that folk, we went without research & saw no ships, the whole place having shut down just 3 days before.
we did, however, medicate with hot cocoa & chalked it up to stretching our ability to roll with things.
we stopped off at andy’s folks on the way home, being only an hour out of the way,
(don’t ask about the sombrero fest; i just don’t know.)
& then just as quick as we were gone, we were back home again. only a little different in the having gone.