As hard as it was to part from Sis #5, it was delicious to meet up with my daughter by the well known clock in Grand Central Station! Today is the one year anniversary of my daughter’s move two short weeks after her graduation from UCSC to NYC–and here she was, showing her mom (who is a native New Yorker) around town. I have no memory of having ever looked up at the beautiful ceiling of Grand Central Station before my daughter pointed it out to me.
From there we walked a few blocks over to the Union of Reform Judaism where my Sister #4 (back to her) works as their librarian. It was fun to surprise her and fortunately, she had time to sit and chat with us for a bit before we hit the pavement again. On to the main branch of the NY Public Library (you can see I love libraries) where there was an exhibit about children’s books that was very sweet for us to tour together, having read some of those same books during both of our childhoods.
Our last stop for the day was a trip up to Washington Heights to roam a small branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art called The Cloisters, “showcasing medieval art in a French monastery overlooking the Hudson”. I couldn’t have said it better myself! It was relaxing to walk around the quiet, cool rooms enjoying the art as well as to stroll in the gardens and look out over the river.
We did a lot of walking that day–with a quick stop to meet up with a fellow my mom had been fond of and who my daughter now feels the same toward. He and his twin eight year old daughters had been living in my cousin’s home in Washington Heights last summer when my daughter first moved to New York and used their place as a crash pad. I was delighted to meet the fellow who’d been so kind to my daughter! Because it was getting late, we were soon on our way to my daughter’s home…in Brooklyn!
That, too, was very sweet, having been the birthplace of both of my parents. As I walked around the neighborhood over the next few days, I saw both the current version of the old buildings as well as what they might have looked like a century ago. My daughter lives on the fourth floor, and we got our exercise each day just returning home. I met her three lovely roommates that first night and had the pleasure of taking them out for a super Cajun meal the next. When the waiter brought out our five main courses and three side dishes, I was certain we’d ordered way too much but by the end of the meal, every bite was eaten! Ahh, the appetite of youth…
My daughter and I spent the earlier part of that day mostly relaxing in her apartment. It was drizzly outside and we both needed a rest after all the activity 0f the previous days–she’d worked five days in a row in order to have the next five days off. I got to see where my precious daughter does her laundry (yes, she did a few loads), and where she buys her groceries (just around the corner), and how far the subway is from her place (a few minutes walk that she often talks to me on as she heads to work. Now I can picture her as she does…)
On Thursday, our third and final day alone together, we started out by walking the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the oldest suspension bridges, taking us from Brooklyn to the lower tip of Manhattan, blocks from where my daughter works. Again, this was another one of those adventures which I had somehow missed that my daughter introduced me to. The views of the city as we walked over the East River were wonderful but by the time we reached the city, I needed to sit down. All the noise and jostling of pedestrians going in both directions and staying out of the way of the bicyclists was more than I was used to. We found a quiet park bench and sat and talked for a bit.
Soon enough, we were ready to continue on our way. Shake Shack, USA. The place my daughter works was way more upscale than I’d realized, serving up a tasty looking menu of burgers, shakes and fries along with wine and other goodies to a yuppie looking crowd. There was a group of teenagers as well taking over a large table on the patio outside the restaurant. My daughter and I stood near the customers who were picking up their orders as she proceeded to wave and call over every possible co-worker of hers for me to meet. Everyone said the same thing. “We love your daughter!” “Can we get you anything to eat?” “We love your daughter?” Sorry, I wish I could offer more variety but…everyone loved my daughter!
There was more color than I was used to seeing, and having raised my daughter in a fairly white suburb, it was exhilarating to see her expanding her horizons, and once again mine. Ditto for her neighborhood. I missed her world when I returned home–her lovely, peaceful and comfy apartment where she and her three roommates hung out and played games together; her colorful neighborhood full of folks hanging out and talking with one another or striding purposefully somewhere; her easy commute into Manhattan where she gets to participate in all kinds of fun activities with her New York family and new friends (who love her! Have I forgotten to mention that?) Perhaps I wished I could just pick up and move into her world with her. What a great life she’s made for herself in one short year! And I might just be welcome, after all, when I left, one of her roommates hugged me and said, “Come back anytime! It’s nice having a mom around the place.”