Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
- Helen Keller
I woke up a few weeks ago, went for a run, came home, decided that the day was young, that life was short and that we should all hop in the car and drive to New York City. The kids didn't have school, Jeff was ion a flight to NYC for work, my mom was there, it was her birthday and Noah and Kristi had just (three days earlier) had their new little baby. Why shouldn’t I load up all the kids and drive to NYC? I was giddy and excited. The kids were confused and thrilled. Hazel asked incredulously, over and over, “Mom, are you sure?” “Mom, I can’t tell, are you joking?”
I wasn’t joking. Not one bit. We packed things up like crazy, got the oil changed and were on the road by 9am. Sure, we didn’t have everything we needed, we didn’t know how long we were going to stay, but something about the spontaneity of it all made those things not matter very much. There is something beautiful about not planning too much…..no lead up stress, no agonizing over getting ready….just going and dealing with what comes your way. I loved it.
It was crazy. It was totally out of the blue and spontaneous. It was spur of the moment, living on the edge and it was delightful. For that day I felt much more like the mom I envisioned myself being before I had kids. I felt free and full of life. All the love that I’d grown for NYC when I lived there years ago flooded back in as we got closer and closer to the city and I realized that I haven’t been there with my kids for a while…..I started to get pretty darn excited about sharing it with them now that they’re old enough to love some of the things that I love about that big crazy beautiful city. That’s when Hazel worried out loud that she thought I might be so excited I would crash our car. They did love it. They were filled with wonder at all the interesting things they saw on every corner. They noticed things I’ve never noticed before. They drank it all in. It was extremely satisfying. I love having these little people that I can share things I love with, and I love it when they love those same things with me. It is one of the greatest joys of motherhood (when it works out right).
We didn’t tell anyone that we were coming. We just drove. I called Noah and told him that I was sending my mom flowers for her birthday to make sure they were all around. We bought some lilacs from a corner store (oh, how I love those corner flower stores!) and I sent Hazel to the door alone as the “flower delivery person.” Noah said for a minute he had to figure out how on earth Hazel got to NYC without me (he was a little sleep deprived with that new baby). It was so great to see my mom on her actual birthday and to meet little Jacobson when he was still so new to the world. Charlie was thrilled to spend so much time with McKay….and McKay was thrilled to show us all about “his world” of NYC. We spent the afternoon at a park by Noah and Kristi’s. There is really nothing quite like spending a perfect spring day in the city. It’s not that I even really like to do a lot, or see a lot, I just like to be there. There’s something about the new spring green mixed with all those buildings and the air and all those people and the wind that winds through the streets. Emmeline loved the different playgrounds we visited. There are so many packed into that city. Jeff met up with us after work and he and I took all the kids over to the West side to Shake Shack. So that my mom and Noah and Kristi could get some down time to drink in that little baby.
Noah and Kristi’s good friends were out of town and so they let us stay in their apartment overnight (I am so thankful for nice generous people like that!). Jeff’s brother John came over to hang with the kids and Jeff while I went to Noah and Kristi’s to celebrate my mom’s birthday with some awesome take out Thai food presented all fancy by Noah in their awesome little apartment. We laughed and talked late into the night. I loved being able to celebrate my mom and that new little baby all bundled together.
Jeff worked from the New York office on Friday and I spent the day with all the kids and my mom. It was so much fun, it was mellow and filled with serendipity. We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of my favorite places ever. We watched the crowds of people sitting outside on the steps, we listened to a fabulous Jazz band play and then we went through a big chunk of the museum, playing I spy and looking at all the quirky, interesting modern art. The kids all did really well, and when the boys and the little ones had had enough i took them outside to a playground while my mom took Hazel on her own little date through more of the museum. I was so thankful that they were able to connect over their mutual love of art.
We had a great little picnic lunch in Central Park before walking back home. Little Hazel took Lyla under her wing and read to her for quite a while while Charlie and McKay played in the trees, Emmeilne wandered about and my mom and I chatted. It was heaven. Truly. The little girls even fell asleep in the stroller while we walked to the Castle in the park and saw all the turtles in the turtle pond. And, Charlie and Hazel made it walking all the way back (Charlie cheated a little with some piggyback rides from grandma…..I need to get my kids walking more!)
There is something so perfect about things that happen spontaneously. Spontaneous experiences aren’t burdened with any expectations. You’re just living, taking things as they come. Enjoying the present. I need this kind of spontaneity in my life a little more often, my kids have it naturally and I snuff it out with all the routine and to do lists…..time to bring back all that Spontaneous Delight.
(sorry about all the iphone pictures….a big fancy camera doesn’t really mesh with spontaneity)