Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Take Me Back to Manhattan

 I miss Manhattan. When I 
wrote the post below, my daughter hadn't yet begun college, and I had no way of knowing our trip to Grand Central Station "just because" would be the first of many trips in which that train station played a prominent role. And that same girl who had trips abroad in her sights has since spent part of a summer in London and a semester in Ireland, in addition to side trips to other countries and a recent whirlwind jaunt through Europe with a like-minded friend.

Meanwhile, I haven’t been to NY since Covid. I think I’m overdue.

I'm a Jersey Girl but I must confess: I'm a child of the suburbs. I grew up a mere fifteen minutes from Philadelphia, but ventured across the bridge only infrequently and in the company of city-savvy friends. Relieved of the opportunity of knowing where I was and where I was going, I was free to enjoy my surroundings and all the city had to offer. 

I was in college before I grew to love New York, and it took me much longer to become comfortable there. As an adult and a parent, I was unwilling to relinquish control to someone else, and decided it was high time I got to know the city if I planned to spend time there.

As with so many other things, practice makes perfect. Our early trips to the city were on bus trips, then the train. I introduced my husband to Manhattan when we were dating, and we introduced our daughter more than a decade later. Early on, it was easy to go to the same places, to do and see the same things.

Maybe that's why my daughter took to the city so easily. Never a big fan of change, she nevertheless enjoyed the vast difference between our suburban neighborhood and Manhattan. A weekend in New York quickly became her go-to birthday request, and a Christmas without seeing the city lights seemed to be missing something.

Over time, we began to expand our horizons, discovering Bryant Park at Christmastime and finding my favorite Christmas tree not at Rockefeller Center, but at the New York Public Library. We moved past Broadway and Times Square (though most of our trips still include a show or a concert) to visit the 9/11 Memorial, the United Nations and Grand Central Station "just because." For me, each trip includes a new destination on the wish list. It's a wonderful place to visit.

Interestingly enough, in the process, we've raised a child who's unafraid to push the boundaries of her own horizons. She starts college tomorrow five hours from home -- a drop in the bucket for some kids, but not the norm among her friends -- with trips abroad in her sights and Chinese on her course schedule. It's not that she's unafraid. It's that she's not willing to let that stop her. 

Funny the things we learn from our kids.

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