Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Manhattan Melodrama

You may well be asking yourself, "What in the world were you doing in a New York diner when your husband is unemployed?"  Well, for one thing, the trip had been planned for a number of months.  I even met with Mother's care team to make sure they thought I could go, and what the plan would be if she took a turn while I was away.  And, I did it the way all Red Blooded American Women do things:  I charged it.   Of course, that's more about how I came to be there, not really why.

Why is more complicated.  There are a number of reasons why.  For one thing, neither Marissa nor I have ever been.  For Marissa, that's not that shocking.  She's 20.  I've got a few years on her, and it's arguably the most dynamic city in the world, situated right here in our hemisphere.  It's therefore both more shocking and shameful that I've never been there.  But, I generally have traveled for one of three reasons, a) family, b) to seek out grand vistas and woolly four legged things or c) to follow my Steelers.  As a result, New York just never really fell into my travel radar.  No family members live there, no treatment centers we considered are there.  There is the Bronx Zoo, but for the most part, it's a concrete jungle, not a natural one.  And, neither the Jets nor the Giants actually even play in the state, and it was never a practical location for an away game.  But, it's on my bucket list.  If only so I can say I've been in the place where Ed and Lennie trolled for criminals.

The larger reason is that we are in the midst of our personal Mean Season.  That period of time that began with Mother's Day and will hopefully end with Father's Day when we were faced with those dreaded series of Firsts to endure without Kelsey and now without Mother.  May saw not only Mother's Day, but Greg and Kelsey's birthdays.  June will usher in Marissa's 21st birthday, Father's Day and the anniversary of Kelsey's death (which happen to be the same day).  I told a friend today, if we can survive this gauntlet, then we can say we did it, and we can know that we can do it.  Each subsequent year will, we therefore hope, get easier.  I have worried for a while, however, how to help Marissa get through her sister's birthday, so close to her own, without a major fall.  I had the idea that I would just distract her completely.  What better way to do that than fly her into New York and take her to a Broadway play.  And so that's what I did.  I had us fly in Friday midday, check into a little boutique hotel that was a converted brownstone, then attend Wicked that night.  Then we would spend the weekend being tourists.  If Marissa had time to think of Kelsey, it would be brief and it would be muted by the activity around us.  That was the plan anyway.

And, I have to say, it's not that it didn't completely fail.  Yet, it was a trip that affirmed the saying, "Wherever you go, there you are" as much as it did anything else.  Our overloaded luggage wasn't the only baggage we dragged up there and back.  One simply cannot escape the weight in our hearts or the absence of the individual who would have loved the pulse of the city most of all.  And there were moments when her absence was brought into sharp focus, as I will relate by and by.  But, we were distracted and busy enough to get through it in one piece.  And, while I can't speak for Marissa, I can tell you that I learned a lot about the city even in the brief time I was there.  And I learned a little bit about myself in the process.

I will share my tales of the city, but for now I need to get up early, so I'll leave you with some pictures.  A very small sampling of the over 400 shots Marissa and I took between us!  Yes, we might has well have been wearing plaid shorts, we were that quite obviously tourists.

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