I'm pressing pause here to write a bit about our trip to NYC before our ordinary days pull me too far downstream. And that happens pretty quickly. In fact, I find that actual happenings in my life almost never get blogged. I write about thoughts mostly. Things I've learned. Things I'm mulling over. But those actual real life details are tough to make happen AND then also make happen on the blog. So here goes...
NEW YORK CITY!!!
Paul surprised me on Christmas with an already set-up (I didn't have to worry about care for the kids or flights or hotel rooms) trip to NYC for New Year's Eve plus a few days which ended on my birthday (which he and my mother-in-law pre-planned as a day for Paul and I to enjoy at home alone). There is only 1 type of surprise I like and that's adventure surprises. I was so shocked and excited & I still am actually. Paul really went big this time.
I absolutely love how magical the new year feels. NYE is my very favorite. I just love the promise of a new year. I love thinking back on all the things that happened in the year that's closing and all the things ahead that will happen-- some because I'll be hustling and working hard for them, and others because life surprises us in sprinkles and splashes.
When we landed and got in a cab, the city was just starting to close streets for the NYE party down on Time Square (where our hotel was). So we climbed out of the cab right into thousands of people walking all over streets. Literally on the streets because there were several streets only open to foot traffic at that point. Pulling our luggage through the throngs of people from all over the world---that will always be one of my favorite travel memories ever. The energy was visceral. It was pulsing. And even though that was NYE and so it was amped up a bit, that's how NYC felt to me the whole time. Big. Exciting. Energetic. Electric.
I love traveling. I love going away and coming back, new. Changed. No one else can see it, but you know it like a tiny golden secret. Forever with a bit of your heart tattooed in the shape of a far away city. New York City surprised me. It didn't feel rude or pushy or overwhelming or snobby--not sure why that's what I expected. It felt like an open door. A happy place. A space for everyone. This was my favorite thing about the city. It's so special because of the nature of things, the history, the physical layout. It's welcoming more than anything else I can put to words. And once you're in, you feel absolutely alive!
Walking through Central Park. <swoon> How a park (in the dead of winter mind you) can be so wonderful, I just don't understand. Parks, the outdoors, places with trees...that's my thing. But I've never ever been to a space like Central Park. There is something truly special about it. I love how the skyscrapers line up like guardians on all sides of the park. I love how much people connect there. Runners. Bikers. Walkers. Tourists. Residents. Casual walkers. Loud talkers. Thinkers. Photo-takers. Coffee drinkers. Health nuts. Conversations over here and there and behind you and whizzing past you. Everywhere you look, there's more to see and take in. If you twisted my arm and asked me for the #1 thing you can't miss in NYC, I would say it's Central Park. I really hope we will get to take our kids there someday so I can share it with them too!
Okay. Let me just throw out some other stuff we did really really quick because I'm losing you at this point...
+ 9/11 Memorial -- Very moving. Must see. They've done a beautiful job. It's very intimate and respectful and something that just needs to be visited. Also, the new Freedom Tower is so freakishly tall. I could not look up at it without getting dizzy. Do I sound like I'm from a small town or what?
+ Comedy Cellar -- Easily, easily most I've ever laughed in my life. Awesome well-known comedians. We got seated right in the front. This was something I wanted to do so badly, and I'm so glad I made sure we went.
+ Les Halles -- I wouldn't say I was blown away by the food in NYC like I was in Charleston, SC (the food there---life!), but I had a meal at Les Halles that was the most balanced, beautiful dish I think I've ever had. It was some sort of fish on a bed of ratatouille with lobster sauce.
+ Uber driver chats -- Thank goodness for Uber! Cheap, efficient way to get around the city. And I loved the conversations we had with the drivers... except the sexist Russian. That was awkward. (Paul kept me away from the subway, so I never got to see that pizza rat that went viral or undercover famous musicians dressed up like hobos that I'm just sure were down there waiting for me to spot them. I also didn't get interviewed by HONY, so you can really see how my NYC trip was far less than perfect. ;)
+ MOMA -- [Museum of Modern Art] -- I love a good art museum and this really had me feeling all the feels--and on the 1st day of the new year no less. Except for the super contemporary stuff. That had me feeling like a really confused 5th grader who wasn't paying attention in class and just got called on. There were a few pieces that Paul and I were just like "mmm, no" to. Paul loved the Picasso stuff. I loved all the stuff, even the stuff I scratched my head at. We both loved Pollock. I took a ton of photos for what reason I do not know. I think I got called a beach (alternate pronunciation) because I took too long staring at Starry Night which was much different than what I thought it would be.
+ Chelsea Market -- Foodie heaven! Lots and lots of shops that satisfy the appetite. I've never actually wished I would have overeaten except for when we left Chelsea Market...because there were just so many awesome things to try. We didn't overeat though at all. We ate a taco and a danish. First time I can say I felt like Scarlett O'Hara at the picnic undereating so as not to look like a pig. What a loss.
+ The High Line -- Elevated railway turned park. Pretty cool. Not a must see. Or, maybe a must see if you were there on a warmer day and/or you were also going to see the Whitney...which we would have totally done (yes, even though we had already spent two and a half hours at MOMA) if we would have had more time.
+ The NYE ball -- We didn't actually do the real deal down in Time Square squished in tight with people who keep bumping into me and I've been standing here for six hours but can't get to a bathroom so I just peed myself party, but it didn't matter much. We did hang out on the streets for a while. The ball was in sight from our hotel and it's really pretty in person (even though it looks really far away and just white in the photos) but then we mostly just had a blast partying out at the hotel bar and talking to people and feeling sorry for the suckers out on the streets. I passed out thirty minutes before the ball drop in true mom fashion of which Paul caught on camera and will never let me live down... as he shouldn't. Still so much fun!
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We are so grateful that our parents (both sets) have been generous and gracious with us, that they've watched our kids so that we could take trips away. We are excited to take lots of trips with the boys more and more as they get older. But this season the past couple years, post twins... I'll keep this discreet, but suffice it to say it is much needed and even more appreciated that our parents have helped us make special trips away happen so we can reconnect and feel grounded and make special memories together just the two of us. It's a radical act to cut into life as a whole family and run off with your spouse, but I think it takes some radical acts sometimes to do what's right for your family and every family is so unique in what that looks like. This trip away blessed and reinvigorated our relationship so much. I'm deeply grateful. I'm also glad to be back home amidst our ordinary days and doing all that normal work at home loving on these guys, making small things special right here moment by moment and day by day.