This was such a big day for Noah and it happened months ago. I wanted to write about it right away but then I got busy with this. And this. And then there were events that were ENDING SOON and I just had to share those too.
So here it is.
I had been eagerly awaiting the opening of Jane’s Carousel, named for the artist Jane Walentas – who, with her husband, bought it at an auction in 1984. A historic carousel built in 1922, Jane spent close to 30 years painstakingly restoring it to its original condition. I had seen some pictures of her work as it progressed and it looked amazing. In addition, the carousel was slated to make its permanent home in a glass pavilion designed by the gifted architect Jean Nouvel. I could just picture this vintage carousel, in a sleek glass box, perched on the edge of the East River between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.
I picked a mild and sunny Thursday to take Noah.
I was so excited just approaching the pavilion.
And Noah was excited too – he ran in and went right up to the glass panel to watch.
He had me pick him up and walk around so he could get an even closer look at the magnificently restored horses.
But when I suggested we take a ride, the answer was a firm, “No”.
I had a feeling this would be the case – my once fearless and eager-to-try-anything boy was showing a little more trepidation these days. A little more reserve. And yet I could see that he SO wanted to do this. So we watched for a while. We walked around the outside. I even bought our tickets and carried him over to the entrance. But each time he said, “No”.
Yet he didn’t want to leave. And I didn’t want to give up. So in one of those rare “Mom” moments of clarity, I suggested we sit in one of the chariots, thinking he would feel more contained and secure. And miraculously he said, “Yes”!
But I wasn’t out of the woods yet. Yes, he climbed in and sat right down.
But does this look like a happy face?
His hand firmly on my leg, we started. And while he never shrieked with glee – and was certain that he didn’t want to go around for a second time – I could tell that he was glad that he did it. I was SO proud of him and told him as much.
I spent the rest of the morning watching him explore the rocks around the water’s edge and chase pigeons (there were lots of shrieks now!). And as I watched, I really had to marvel at what it took this barely-three-year-old to put aside what were clearly some big fears, and just say “Yes”.
I thought about all fears he had yet to face in his life. And I thought about my fears – both big and small – and what it would take for ME to put them aside. Or even banish them completely, like my brave boy did. With no bribes. No cajoling. No reward.
We finished our morning with a nice little lunch in DUMBO and headed home.
Facing your fears can be exhausting.
There are truly no words for how over-the-moon in love I am with my little guy.