This past week I brought along my two girls, Eden, 10 and Alia London, 8 to New York City. I had been there dozens of times for business; but this time was for them. So for six days, we did New York: Serendipity, Mathilda on Broadway, Empire State Building, Sony Wonder Museum, and a even a carriage ride in Central Park.
The trip was supposed to expand their horizons and I am sure it did. But what I did not know was how it would expand my own.
Do you know how long the subway doors stay open in rush hour? Why are taxi drivers not considered strangers? Why does Elmo in Times Square ask for money? They asked questions that I never contemplated and that I did not know the answers to. They forced me to realize “I don’t know a lot, and I need to ask more questions.”
Our best moments were not pre planned ticketed activities. Our best moments were collapsing in bed after a long day, watching Big after dancing on the piano in FAO Schwartz, trying on lipstick in the hotel bathroom. They enabled me to play more and plan less.
Lastly, I walk fast. I talk fast. I even type fast. They don’t like it. And they told me to slow down, often. It was hard at first to listen. I wanted them to experience everything in our limited amount of time. But then I realized I was missing the mark. The goal of our trip was to find moments of true connection that would make lifelong memories. If hurried them through, the connections would never happen and the memories would never be made. It took a while to slow down, but eventually I did.
This past week I was their guide; but they were mine as well. It was humbling. It was enlightening. But mostly it was hopeful because with their help I still can become the parent I dream of one day becoming.