This was one of those moments that for a split second you wished you said no. Weeks ago, before the trip to Alabama and Tennessee, before Greg’s two business trips and before the fatigue of travel and sleep deprivation set in it seemed like a great idea. My niece’s college in upstate New York had a bus trip to Manhattan and she and her boyfriend along with her sister and mother took advantage of the cheap tickets.
It was hard waking up and getting out but once we were on the train headed south, we were glad we said yes. Recently it hit me that Grace is fifteen. Fifteen. I am so lucky that she loves family, loves being with family, loves the holidays and wants to be home. Even if she does not go away to college, things will change around here in the next few years as the girls mature and this year it hit me to hold on hard to tradition and to make the most of all holiday opportunities.
What we did not expect were the crowds, crowds like I have never seen in New York. Throngs of people making their way down 5th Ave and moving in masses in Times Square. My girls are very sensory sensitive and the smell of chestnuts roasting on an open food cart and people bumping into them and strollers running over their toes and the heat in one store and the cold outside and the glaring lights and blaring music, the dancing Salvation Army volunteers and the beeping horns were all just too much. We found peace where we could, in the restroom lounge at Greg’s store, tucked in a corner table at 5 Guys, or huddled on a side street making plans away from people.
We strolled through Bryant Park, watched the same street performers we saw years ago in Central Park perform on the steps of the library, visited Greg’s store and office, lunched, admired the tree, sat on a bench in Times Square and told the creepy characters to stay far away from us, oohed and aahed at the windows of Saks, and took some great photographs.
While my girls are almost jaded by the lights and sights of Manhattan, my nieces are not and it was magical to see the joy in their eyes during the day.