Archive for September 26th, 2010

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It was a very nice day in New York. I joined Jamie, her parents and friend and we spent the day in typical New York fashion: window shopping, eating, taking a walk in the park and visiting a museum. I, of course, couldn’t put my camera down and tried to catch a bit of New York life on film. I love playing tourist. It was a very nice distraction to keep me from thinking about how I wasn’t with my son on his 19th birthday. (At least we spoke, he seemed to be having a good birthday, wrote a sweet message on my facebook wall and I’ll see him very soon!)

There are unlimited neighborhoods to explore in this city, all with their own unique feel. But there’s also the distinct, charged ‘New York’ air that flows through and connects it all. You feel it everywhere you go, from the World Trade Center site, through Midtown to the Upper East side. We wandered a few neighborhoods, had a great lunch (there are unlimited little restaurants to sample), then made our way into Central Park. It reminded me so much of London and all of our fabulous green spaces there, especially Hyde Park. From the families picnicking on the lawn, the kids rolling down the hill and the couples strolling hand in hand to the teens dancing by the fountain where so many movies have been filmed. It’s a gathering place for everyone.

We made our way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s a great place not only to look at art, but to people watch. We were lucky to discover the Big Bambu exhibit on the rooftop. It is an incredible structure that you can even walk on (if you take the guided tour, of course). And the view of the city is beautiful.

After some afternoon tea and cocktails, it was time to go – we all had planes to catch or hotels to switch. I was sad to part ways with everyone, but also looked forward to crashing into bed after the crazy, nonstop week. I think I need a weekend to recover! Only, with this road trip, I hardly know what a weekday or weekend is anymore. I’m lucky I know it’s Day 18!

So am I loving or hating New York? I’m in like right now, but we know that could change…

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I have a love/hate relationship with New York. It goes beyond the Red Sox/Yankees. I have been coming here off and on for years for work, so have had my chances to explore and get to know the city bit by bit, although I can’t yet play tour guide here like I can in other cities.

I never thought I could live in New York – too busy, too new and modern, too many skyscrapers, too many Yankees fans. Then when we were living in London and trying to figure out where to move next, Nick determined I am a New York person. I’m always busy and rushing, I have a new love for modern apartments, I’m always taking pictures of all different architecture and I can get really cheap Red S0x apparel in New York (last visit I got an Ortiz shirt for $4.99). He had other reasons too, but I wasn’t really convinced myself.

Then when I visited in March, I was smitten. So many stores that open early and stay open late unlike London, but also so many things in common with London like hearing all the different languages around you, fabulous restaurants and so many cultural things to see and do.  I don’t think you could ever get bored here, either.

Road trip day 17 , though, was a different story. While I was enthused to head out into the city yesterday morning (well, afternoon, once my head calmed down), it quickly wore off. People being rude and pushing. The complete lack of signage on the subway – not even telling you what lines are running or when they will be there. Or maybe they say that somewhere, but it must be a secret locals-only location or language. Needless to say, it made my entire day late. (Not that that’s completely unusual for me, but even more so.)

I was late to meet my old high school friend and family for lunch (so good to catch up – can’t wait for LA!), and then late leaving to get ready for the evening festivities, so went to Plan B. Forget the hotel, I went shopping. Bought a new Michael Kors black dress, new heels at Macy’s, new makeup at Benefit and finally, a new bra at Victoria’s Secret. I got ready in Victoria’s Secret’s bathroom, threw on some perfume and lotion on the way through the store and simply stuffed my other stuff in my back pack. Not exactly the purse of choice for an evening out, but I stopped myself from buying a giant new Coach bag, too. I have my limits.

The agenda for the evening was a combined guy/girl pub crawl, with a Southeast Asian theme, since Tamara and Kris are moving to Shanghai. We started at Bia Garden and made our way to a few other places – including two very non-Southeast Asian stops, one at Mikey’s for burgers and capping the evening off at 2 am with tacos.  We worked up the appetite dancing at the last official destination, Fat Baby.

It was there that the clock struck midnight and it was my son’s birthday. The first one I’ve ever not spent with him, and not made his cake (will be doing that next weekend when I’m home for his college weekend – can’t not do that!). I left him messages on his phone and facebook, and started to cry as Michael Jackson, one of his favorites, was blasted through the club. Luckily one of my old friends – he must have ESP – called at that precise moment and turned my mood around. (See other blog entry from earlier today for more on Nick and his birthday.)

So today I’m going to give New York another chance. Let’s see how it goes…

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I have to pause my regular blog updates to mark a milestone: my son’s 19th birthday. (Don’t worry – I’ll still fill you in on Day 17, but that will be a bit later.) Nick is a huge reason for my being on this road trip. Actually, he’s the reason for nearly every aspect of my life.

I got pregnant when I was 16. I hid it for the longest time and was in such denial that it was happening that I practically hid it from myself. With my closest friends I considered all my options, but never made any moves to do anything about it. In fact, it was someone else who told my mother: when I was six months pregnant she got a card in the mail with a beautiful beach scene on the cover and inside it said in big, red block letters: AMY IS PREGNANT. To this day we don’t know who sent it. But it was the biggest relief because we could then all face it together and my mom gave me the strength and inspiration to become a mother myself.

I gave birth to Nick in September of my senior year of high school. I was scared to death, but the second I held that little boy in my arms I was in love. I have thanked God every single day since for blessing me with Nicholas George. And I have prayed every day that he will be happy and healthy and safe and smart. For all of these years I have had a good deal of control over that, helping him, protecting him, seeing him nearly every day. But now he’s (in the eyes of the law) a grown up. He lives away at college. I am lucky when he returns my texts or calls. And his reliance on me is more emotional – I’m here for him any time he needs me, wants to talk, anything – and, of course, financial. I know he is strong and smart and independant. I am so proud of him, and know he’ll thrive and succeed at anything he puts his mind to, as long as he’s willing to work hard to make it happen. But…

It is so hard letting go. One of the things I wrote in a diary to him when he was born was how he was my new best friend and how happy I was that we had each other and I’d never be alone. I certainly wasn’t thinking about him growing up and moving out! The time passed too quickly, where did these 19 years go??? But I am so thankful for all our special times, our adventures, our time together in London. And I know we’ll still have those – he’s already got me signed up for family vacations with him, Alivia and my future grandchildren (hopefully way in the future) – but I know it will never be just him and me again, and that’s what’s so hard to let go of. And one of the main reasons for this road trip.

As I mentioned at the very beginning of the blog, I do believe this road trip is in part my denial of being left at home, alone. I moved out of my parents house into an apartment with baby Nicky. I’ve never lived alone in my entire life. I’m not even sure what the heck to do with any down time. Add to that no longer having my job (where I was quite the workaholic) or a fiance (broke up when I was in England) and selling my house (so no desire to remodel or redecorate), there didn’t seem to be anything (or anyone) needing me at home.

The road trip is definitely doing it’s job. I have been so on the go nearly every waking minute of the last 17 days that I really haven’t had time to think or realize (or face) all the major changes in my life. But today when the clock struck midnight, the tears started flowing. I called Nick and left him a message, and one on facebook too. Luckily, perfect timing, an old friend called right at that moment and cheered me up. 

So yes, I do know that at some point I will have to face all those things, but for now I am thankful I have this road trip so I can face them bit by bit. And I am so very, very thankful for every moment of the last 19 years and for the most wonderful son in the world. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and you, Nick, are the very best thing that’s ever happened to me.

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