Gritty and Magical – For mom’s big week

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This is a big week for my family.

My parents are two homebodies. But mom has a bit of wanderlust about her. She’s always dreamed pretty big but never allowed herself the budget or the time to satisfy her curiosity.

Until this week.

Today mom and her best friend are traveling to New York City. It’s the first time for my mom and only one of a handful of times for her friend. They picked a beautiful time. The tress in Central Park are at their fall finest. Broadway just started a new season. I’ve read the Rockefeller tree is in place and though the Christmas bustle isn’t quite in full effect, I’m a bit jealous.

New York has become one of my favorite places. I love places that swallow you whole. I love places I can’t out-dream. Nothing can ever be big enough in New York and something about that spurs me on to a God that is bigger than any of us could fathom.

It’s all very gritty and magical. There are not many places that are both.

Mom is worried about the amount of walking. She’s worried about public bathrooms and catching the plague from the handrails down to the subway. She’s worried about a million things.

She’s excited about Time Square and Broadway. She’s excited about the city tour on those double decker buses. She wants to buy something fake – anything – in China Town.

I’m excited for her. For the woman who has given my brother and I not just what we needed but what we wanted too. We learned early on to stop mentioning shoes or watches or clothes we were eyeing as somehow they would end up in our hands, even if it cost mom a great deal. If I could gather all the money and things she gave us over the years instead of doing something for herself, it would equal hundreds of trips to New York.

We will start with this trip. Today.

Mom, I’m not an expert on the city, but here is what I hope for you:

Mom, I hope you meet the most interesting people. They may be ruder than our over-the- top southern sweetness, but they are good people. People with stories.

Eat the best food. Ignore the TGI Fridays in Time Square. Get pizza from a cart on the street instead. Trust me.

More of the same, stay away from the fake Elmo’s in Time Square. Really, stay away from Time Square completely. But I know you want to go. You probably need to see it once.

Cry if you need to. I sure did.

Eat brunch.

Let the creativity and energy of the city inspire you, not frustrate you. People walk fast. They have things to do and places to be. Don’t worry about it. Let them do their thing. Their things may be the very things that will be important to us hundreds miles away tomorrow.

Do something you never thought you would do, like skate on Rockefeller Center or stand on top of the Empire State Building.

Don’t worry about the crowds on Broadway or the bathroom lines. Just love it. Love the arts and how they can move people. But put your phone and camera away. The theater community doesn’t really love a lens – so I hear.

More than anything, I hope your heart expands a million times bigger than you thought. I hope the bigness of the city swallows you in the best way.

Love you mom. Have the best time.

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