Last week, ala S.J.P. in the trailer for “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, I was lying in bed making the “list” when it hit me. This is Noah’s last year as a part-time school kid. Next year he’ll be in school five days a week, and from there it’s just a hop skip and jump till he leaves for college.
I panicked, big time.
See, I’m in such a strange place with this little guy. Having him now, after all these years, is like winning the gold medal of “do-overs” – I mean, who gets another chance at this? So instead of being a laid back, been-there-done-that mom, I’m the complete opposite. I’m so hyper aware of this gift – this fleeting, precious, gift – that I am often paralyzed with the fear of squandering it all away. I feel compelled to savor, drink in, squeeze out (I could go on and on) every single moment because I know all too well how quickly time passes.
So I decided that I would take one day a week to spend with Noah – just the 2 of us. No appointments, no play dates, no chores, no nap (!!!!). We will eat breakfast and hit the road. I became giddy with excitement and started writing down all of the places I wanted to take him to. I also made some promises to myself. I would not check my phone or call in for messages, and just try (as best as my type A personality will allow) to let the day unfold at Noah’s pace. He spends so much of his time going here and there with the rest of us, and even when it’s a destination with him in mind there is almost always an agenda, a plan, a “list” of things to do. I wanted to see what would happen if I let him take the lead, spending as much or as little time along the way as he wanted. I settled on Thursday as “our day” – which happened to be the day that Chelsea and I spent together on our summer outings. I liked the symmetry of that.
I put my plan into action last Thursday. I woke up to a torrential rainstorm – ugh. As we now needed to go somewhere indoors, I immediately thought of the Museum of Natural History. It’s one of my favorite places in New York City and Noah loves it. But then I realized that I wanted to stretch a little bit here – the museum is great but we go often.
I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art but didn’t know if Noah was ready – I took Chelsea and Conor when they were a bit older. But I thought, why not? Let’s just go for it! So we did………….
We started at the Temple of Dendur, always a hit:
Noah liked running around and peering into all of the temple’s nooks and crannies. But he eventually got bored and wanted to move on. We went into the contemporary galleries next. Eh. He was not into it and was starting to get hungry. I put him in the stroller and gave him a snack as we headed out. At this point I was getting worried – was our first outing going to be a total fail? What now? And then I bumped into a woman from my town who was there with her little girl. Jamie is someone who I had always admired from afar (she is beautiful, outgoing and fabulously stylish) but have only recently gotten to know. She immediately suggested the Astor Court, which sounded promising. We entered through a circular “moon gate” and I knew we struck gold. There was a serene courtyard and a lovely little koi pond nestled into a rock garden:
Noah was mesmerized for a very long time. It’s where I got him to stand still long enough to take this picture:
It was clear, at that point, that our museum time was up. Thanks to the abundance of windows all around us, it looked like the weather had cleared up too:
So we headed outside to the museum steps where we found “lunch”:
We sat on the steps and ate cupcakes (Noah shared his with the pigeons):
It was still early so I decided to head into Central Park. Noah immediately scrambled up a hill that had some large rock ledges. One was so high up that he was able to touch the underside of a small tree canopy. This fascinated him and we stood there for about 45 minutes while he marvelled at his new vantage point on the world. He then had a game of catch with a small dog who was thrilled to have a playmate while her owner ate lunch.
We walked a little more and found ourselves at the Alice in Wonderland Statue and the Conservatory Water pond, where we watched the ducks and the motorized sailboats. We finished the day at a nearby playground, along with dozens of kids who had just gotten out of school. Noah had a great time running around with them, splashing in a fountain and playing in the sand box.
From an auspicious beginning we wound up having the most wonderful day.
I know that I can’t stop time. I know that he will get bigger, be gone more than he is home, and will reach a point where spending the day with me will rank close to the bottom of his list of favorite things to do. The clock is ticking and there’s nothing I can do about it.
But I can take one day a week – one day just for us. And I couldn’t ask for anything better than a day spent with my little guy.
Except for the whole not-drinking-iced-coffee thing.
I was a little nervouse about including these posts in my blog – it doesn’t fit neatly in to any of the 3 “D’s”. But right next to “donuts, dresses and dirt” is “sharing what I am most passionate about“. And I am very passionate – to put it mildly – about my children.
I hope you enjoy reading about our weekly adventures.
And I’m curious – how do YOU attempt to freeze time when it all seems to be going by so quickly?