How in the world did it get to be June 23rd already? When I landed in New York City a week ago, it was as though an eternity stretched before me. A whole week in New York. Just like everything we look forward to for a very long time, the days elapsed oh so quickly.
I had a fantastic week, and this in spite of the fact that this was all for a work assignment. I did work very, very hard all week long, and have tomorrow left to work with this client, here in the city. But, I have also taken every opportunity to play very, very hard, too. I am so happy my daughter got to spend the whole week with me, and her hubby a few days, too. Living on separate coasts has been difficult, as we have always been extremely close. The distance and the time apart haven’t changed our relationship at all, we were able to pick up right where we left off, as fantastic friends, as mother/daughter, as two people with a great deal of passion for similar things.
Sometimes I think my daughter is actually a clone and not my daughter. Actually, we don’t look much alike at all, and yet, we constantly have people come up to us and tell us we look identical. I have an oval face, she has a round face, our noses are completely different, as are our mouths, our eye shape, and our brow. We have very similar mannerisms, though, and I think this is what people see. We react to things in a very similar fashion, often at the same time, usually at the same thing. Clothes and shoes, flowers, architecture, nature. We also share a passion for language, for expression and for the written and spoken word. We both seek to be understood and find writing an excellent vehicle for self-expression.
We both share a passion for life, for fun, for incorporating experiences into our ordinary day. We both share a desire and a passion for an extraordinary life. Here we are in New York City, together, for a week, and on a budget. We did splurge on one Broadway show and one museum (MOSex – the Museum of Sex), but other than that, we looked for ways to enjoy the city on a shoestring.
Mission accomplished. We took the (free) ferry to Staten Island and enjoyed the view of the Statue of Liberty. We visited as many parks in a day as we could from Battery Park to Central Park, using the Subway to get us from south to north. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and back. We took a million pictures of flowers (mostly begonias) and buildings. We shared meals at restaurants with different cuisines. On the night of the “super moon”, we sat in Central Park with our reusable water bottles filled with red wine and talked and talked and talked by the light of the moon. We ate cupcakes and ice cream sandwiches and other treats, then ran in Central Park on Saturday and Sunday mornings as penance. We planned out silly videos to upload to Vine and YouTube. We decided to incorporate carousels into our sightseeing venue and rode Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn, the Central Park Carousel and the Bryant Park Carousel, all within a twenty-four hour period. We walked around town, from Brooklyn to Central Park on Saturday with mimosas in our “water” bottles. We stopped by Starbucks on Fifth Avenue, on our way to run in Central Park, early on Sunday morning. There, we bought our coffee, a croissant and a banana to share, and ate down the street, leaning against the building, in front of Tiffany & Company’s flagship store. Yes, we had breakfast at Tiffany’s, in honor of Audrey Hepburn and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, one of my daughter’s favorite actresses and movies.
My son and I share quality time together as adults, too. Our favorite thing to do is to set aside an evening one a month or so to try a new pub, or maybe a tacqueria. We sit down, more as friends than as mother and son, we enjoy a couple of interesting beers, a bite to eat and many stories. This is our time and we both look forward to it and cherish it.
The special time I spend with my kids as adults is reminiscent of things we did as kids were growing up. Just little things that made daily life interesting, special, unique. We added these little activities to our daily routine like a chef uses an uncommon spice, an unusual seasoning, a secret blend of herbs to make his/her dish extraordinary. We used to play a word game in the car on long drives called “My Little Green Martian”, we learned the game at Girl Scout camp one year and played it as a family for years to come. When my children were in elementary school, we lived in a suburb with an old “village”. In the village were the school, homes, a park, an old-fashioned hardware store, a coffee shop and a bakery. One memorable tradition we had was our Friday afternoon routine. I would walk over to meet the kids after school. We’d walk home together, stop at the bakery, buy a “hindber snitter” cookie which we’d enjoy in the park, then play on the swings and slides before heading home for the evening. This ritual cost me three dollars per week, twelve dollars a month, $144 a year. For the price of a few video games, or cable TV for a month, we shared valuable time together and created special childhood memories that will never, ever be forgotten.
It doesn’t take much, a little imagination, a little creativity. My kids remember those little things, and I’m betting my daughter and I won’t soon forget our shoestring adventures in New York City.
Couples, friends, brothers and sisters, anyone at all, can find ways to add a little spice to their daily lives and to their relationships. We don’t have to succumb to the monotonous routine of work, household chores, mundane meals, sleep, repeat. There is something we can do, every day even, to make life as memorable as “hindber snitters” and swings and slides in the park on Friday afternoons, as memorable as riding three carousels in New York City in twenty-four hours, as memorable as playing silly word games in the car on long drives. I even look for these opportunities for spice and style in my day when I travel alone. Life is what you make it, lack of time, lack of money is no excuse. Your only limitation is your imagination and your desire to change life for the better, and both of those are easy to fix. Why would you choose not to change your life for the better?