two birthdays, one city1:31 PM
I so badly wanted to throw papa bear some huge 30th birthday party this year. In fact, I even had a pinterest board I had been curating for years dedicated to that occasion. But life had other plans, very good very exciting plans, but ones that made it impossible to plan such a thing. Between trips to Atlanta to scout for housing and the actual move as well as papa bear's work schedule it just wouldn't work. So I thought long and hard about what could be just as good but less stressful. Vegas? It would involve committing to tickets... San Fran? Same and we would need more than a weekend... And then I thought why not our beloved NYC? I threw it out there and we both decided it would be ideal. And just in the nick of time I scored a deal on dreamy hotel in the East Village and we were off!
We arrived on a hot Thursday morning (the day of my birthday) and began our weekend of joint birthday celebrations with lunch at Gemma. After lunch the heat was still showing no signs of letting up so we ran up to our room, changed into some breezy outfits and headed out hand in hand. We just walked and talked, took in the views, the scents. When a city gets this hot every scent becomes sharper - tires and asphalt, cologne or body odor (with some it's hard to say which one is worse), overripe melons roasting on green shelving outside bodegas, halal carts and cigarettes. And though the smells are mostly bad the sounds I love. The tinkling of bicycle bells, the faint and sometimes not so faint sound of a car horn, the buzz of conversation, the sound of music emanating from an open door or fire escape, the clap clap clap of feet on the sidewalk and the whoosh of air conditioners beneath it all. I like that you can travel to so many different cities and yet when you close your eyes they all sound the same, that standard hum.
By the evening the sky had grown dark - a deep shade of gray. We hurried back to our room after dinner and caught the first few drops as we rounded the corner where our hotel was. It turned into a perfect summer rainstorm - loud, threatening and absolutely torrential. We ordered up some coffee and took a bath (I love having the opportunity to really enjoy a rainstorm, napping during one is even more delicious!). Finally, right before the sun set the rain let up and the city looked like a sauna - all swathed in pink, steam rising steadily from the pavement. The forecast for tomorrow promised more rain so we planned to hide out in museums and restaurants.
Instead of rain, however, the next morning we were met with the coolest breeze and quiet city streets. We grabbed a bagel uptown, meandered through Zabar's and picked up some cookies from Levain. And just as the beautiful morning sky turned dark again, threatening rain, we jumped inside MoMA. It was the perfect place to wait out the rain and we left each having learned or seen something new. Later that evening we took in the fireworks show (all thirty minutes of it - good job NYC!!) and looked at photos of our baby because by this point we were missing her terribly. It's funny the way as a parent you can appreciate time away from your child and miss them horribly right in the same instant. We loved, loved, loved feeling young and romantic, holding hands next to flickering candles at tiny tables in dimly lit restaurants but we would often find ourselves saying "I wish Birdie was here" or "Birdie would love this," all the while knowing that if Birdie was there she would probably spit out the food we would try to feed her, demand a show on our phones and generally prevent any type of meaningful conversation from happening between us. So even the most wonderful of experiences are somewhat bittersweet without your child because you're having a great time but you also wish they were there (and you also know better! oy!!!).
But no matter how much we missed her we needed this. We needed to reconnect, to talk for hours, to sleep in, to hold hands, to be carefree and silly and have the luxury of focusing on each other only. We ended our trip by taking a row boat out in Central Park and it was the perfect cherry on top of a great trip. Something about this time in New York was extra memorable, extra meaningful. Perhaps it's the fact that now as parents we never take opportunities and experiences like this for granted or perhaps it was just a trip coming together even better than I planned, the surprises being pleasant ones and the memories simple but sweet. This quote I recently came across on Pinterest sums it up well:
"The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you."
The city was a beautiful backdrop but what I'll really remember is just how happy I was walking arm in arm with my love, laughing and sneaking kisses.