I’ve been home for a few days and had some time to reflect so I wanted to put a period on this adventure along with a couple of confessions.
I’ve talked a little about my anxiety issues. Millions of people are affected by anxiety and handle it in different ways. And, it can be crippling. I know this first hand. I have not let it win. Three years ago I got on a plane for the first time since 9/11 and flew into Laguardia by myself. This was also the year I spent working overnight in a big building all by myself. It’s always there and the fears that come with it are real and no amount of talk or chemical assistance make that fear go away. I have to make the choice to face it and push against it. Getting on the train was frightening. Some people would find that silly but it was. It was unknown and unpredictable and, once it was rolling, was out of my control. However, once my bag was checked and I was in my seat and the train was underway I stopped being afraid. Part of it is an understanding that the entire situation is out of my hands at that point. The rest of it comes when I can normalize my surroundings and familiarize myself with what it is that is happening. In this case it’s who is on the train, how fast are we going, how do I move from car to car, what does the motion feel like. Once I was familiar I was fine. Oddly, the same process has to happen all over again going the other way. Different station, different porter, bigger platform. Again, once I was on and settled and underway I was fine. So the next time I travel this way the process isn’t scary. I will deal with the control thing. That’s the part I have to push against. So far, I’m winning.
With all of that said, I can honestly report it was one of my greatest adventures ever and one that I seriously needed. It’s been a rough few month of transition and I’m still traveling thru a great deal of uncertainty but taking the time to travel to New York and spend Christmas with my NYC family was the best thing I could have done. I will be forever grateful that they invited me into their Christmas traditions and allowed me to see New York all dressed up for Christmas.
A couple of confessions. New York is great but exhausting. Everywhere you go you are required to climb something – up or down and eventually up again. It’s a city made of stairs. And, getting anywhere requires a plan of attack and perhaps 2 or more methods of transportation and usually the ability to sprint. I like just getting in the car and going. I respect the goodness of public transportation and I really like Uber and I can see the freedom of not worrying about a car. But, gracious it’s a lot to keep up with.
I say please and thank you and I like space between me and the person at the next table. Maybe space is a little more restrained when it comes to meeting new and interesting people. I get that. I’m still a fan of space.I’m also a fan of manners. 95% of my time in New York over the last 3 years has been met with wonderful people and experiences. The little bit of the famed rudeness is truly something to behold. Whether it’s a New York thing or just an unpleasant person from wherever thing it’s really aggressive in a city of millions.
Last confession. About the time the train arrived in Birmingham on the return trip, the magic was gone. My dad sent me a text about then and asked if I’d reached the point where I believed that I could have walked faster than the train was going. I had. And, I wished that I could just get to my car. That last few hours was the longest part of the trip and it was only then that I began to feel that I was in a tin can I couldn’t get out of. With regards to the travel that was the only negative part. Probably expected.
I’m going to wrap this up with a sort of time line as much for my sake as for readers’. I want to remember it all – where, when, and with whom, I had every little moment. Here we go:
Dec 22, 2016. 7:00 a.m. Departed New Orleans via Amtrak Crescent bound for New York City. Traveled thru Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
Dec 23, 2016. 3:00 p.m. Arrived Penn Station, New York City (Chelsea). Greeted by Curt, Sellers, Grayton, and Henry. Had a beer. Henry hailed a cab for us and we proceeded to General Theological Seminary and the Kennington’s apartment on the Close.
Dec 23, 2106. Evening into Night. To White Horse Tavern with Curt for drinks. (Apparently this is where Dylan Thomas would go to write.) Continued the evening with Sellers and Curt at local brew pub in the East Village for wings and beer. Next to a piano bar called Duplex, also in the East Village for cocktails and music. Sellers retired for the night and Curt and I walked a block to another club, Marie’s Crisis, for more piano and singing – this time all Broadway. Ended the night at a diner close to the seminary. Finally home – where sleep came quickly.
Dec 24, 2016. Christmas Eve. Rainy, cold morning at home. Enjoyed homemade cinnamon rolls and movies with the boys. Curt leaves for church about 1:00. Sellers, boys, and I leave for church around 2:15. Attend 3:00 pm service and St. James on the upper east side. Beautiful service and church. Back to apartment to complete food for supper. Uber to Brooklyn (terrible driver). Curt arrived later. Spent evening with Meghan and Shannon, Lynn, Jesse, Maggie Rose, and Shannon’s mom. Dinner consisted of beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, homemade rolls, apple pie, wine, and champagne. Great friends. Beautiful night. Uber home across the Brooklyn Bridge. Boys to bed. Some Christmas morning prep completed and grown ups to bed.
Dec 25, 2016. Christmas Day. Up for Santa surprises. Opened presents and then stockings. My sweet brother and sister in law made sure I have my own beautiful stocking for future Christmas days with them. Lots of wide eyed wonder from Grayton and Henry. Breakfast. A little cleaning up. Naps for everyone. Facetime with Nanapapa (yes – that’s one word) with G & H when they wake up. More playing, Chinese food, friends over for a bit. Baths for boys and new pj’s. Everyone with popcorn and candy and curled up to watch Pete’s Dragon.
Dec 26, 2016. Grayton to doctor. Just a cold, thank goodness. Henry and Cebe organize his room for new toys and books and have some silly time. Sellers organizes – which makes her very happy. Grayton back. Down to chapel to play with Beyblades. (great floor for this). Dressed to go downtown. Cab to Radio City Music Hall. Witnessed my first cabbie argument. Hopped out early to walk remaining blocks. Finally entered the absolutely majestic hall for the Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes. Santa and music and reminding us all to believe. Beautiful Nativity played out in completion and without apology. Grand organs playing the Hallelujah chorus. Amazing experience. Off to Rockefeller Center, the Christmas Tree, ice rink, light show on the side of Sax 5th Avenue. Strolled down 5th to see the windows. Sellers and I picked out the diamonds we wanted at Tiffany’s. Marveled at the lights, the magic, and the crowd! Grabbed a cab back to Chelsea and their favorite – the Meatball shop – for dinner. Enjoyed venison meatballs and roasted brussell sprouts with apples and pecans. Finished with a bourbon and root beer float. Sellers and boys home for quiet time. Curt and I meet friends and head out in Chelsea for drinks and people watching. Diner again. Home and bedtime.
Dec 27, 2016. Henry’s birthday. Mickey Mouse waffles. Henry, Mommy, and Daddy outside for some time. Grayton and I had some time to ourselves. Played in his room. Loved hearing him laugh. My heart. Curt, the boys, and I head down to Lincoln Center to see Rouge One. Imax/3D theater – largest in the country. Amazing movie. Lots of excitement. Came out to the news Carrie Fisher had died. Ironic and very sad. Off to toy store to pick out Henry’s birthday gift and a treat for Grayton. Coffee shop next for a treat before dinner. Into the East Village for dinner at the Smith (Henry’s choice). Delicious food and special birthday treats for the boys. Late night. Home to bed.
Dec 28, 2016. Up early. Walk to 10th Ave to their favorite breakfast place. Back home to pack. Meet Sellers at Spice. Quick lunch. Big hugs and kisses. Curt and I grab cab to Penn Station. Run the last block. Get there at boarding. Final goodbyes with my brother. Train departs NYC at 2:15 p.m.
Dec 29, 2016. 8:30 p.m. Arrive in New Orleans and home to Jess and Philip’s and early bedtime.
Dec 30, 2016. Up early. Sweet time with Luc. Breakfast and packing. Home to Fairhope.
Full and very grateful. Thanks for coming on this journey. Happy New Year.