Friday, May 8
It’s true! I really do love New York. To be more specific, I love Manhattan. Growing up in Southern New Jersey, I was afforded a lot of opportunities to visit The Big Apple and I’ll never forget my first time. It was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, back when catholic schools gave their students the day off (after all, it is a solemnity). I think I was in 4th grade and my best friend Dana and her family invited me to go up to New York with them. We skated at Rockefeller Center, that I remember. I was so young and the city was so big. When I was in high school, my theater director took our cast and crew to New York to see Guys and Dolls. It was my first time seeing a Broadway musical and I was hooked. The next year we saw Beauty and the Beast. After my high school graduation, my dance teacher treated a few of us to the New York City Ballet. I had never seen anything like it. While I was in college, my oldest brother Chris moved to Jersey City and attended the French Culinary Institute in SoHo. This opened up a myriad of dining experiences that I had never had before. Chris took me to see the Nutcracker at the New York City Ballet right after I returned from a semester in Europe. When the snow started falling on stage, I thought I was in ballet heaven. When The Hubs and I were newlyweds, I hopped on a train and met him on a business trip in Mid-Town for a few gorgeous September days in the city. I got to enjoy the shops and restaurants, walk in Central Park, and just take in all Manhattan had to offer at a leisurely pace while he attended meetings. Just a few months later, we spent his birthday with my brother-in-law on a frigid weekend in January. I truly had never experienced cold like that before. When my brother and sister-in-law got engaged, we celebrated in Manhattan and when Dave and Rosina got married, we trained up from New Jersey for the day to party like rock stars at their elegant nuptials. The point is, I have nothing but wonderful memories associated with New York City and now, I can add my 43 hour trip with my dear friend Elise to the list. Truly epic, I tell you. The most epic trip in the history of trips taken to NYC. Let me explain.
Elise is a friend of mine from college, but honestly that’s not really where our story began. We taught at the same school for a year and that year just happened to be the year we both were expecting our first babies. I don’t know what it is about expecting your first baby with a friend, but it sure does create a bond like none other. Since then, Elise and I have had four more babies each, and always around the same time. With each new little one, we had each other to turn to for support. Last summer, Elise was diagnosed with a form of breast cancer called ductal carcinoma. After a good hard cry and some “Why, God?” moments, I decided that it was time to show my support to Elise in a new way. I was nervous because this time, I hadn’t walked a mile in her shoes. I couldn’t say things like, “I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there and it stinks.” I wanted so desperately to show her through my actions that I was here for the long haul and wasn’t going anywhere. Words wouldn’t be enough.
Two of the many things that Elise and I have in common are our love for Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Spending time together means impersonations and recaps. Whether talking on the phone, texting, posting clips on each other’s Facebook Walls, Elise and I love to quote SNL and Jimmy. This trip together to New York would be wrought with laughter and silliness. Obnoxious? Maybe. But we think we’re hilarious. From the Target Lady to Ew!, our impersonation arsenal would be ready, should we bump into Lorne Michaels. I wanted so badly to visit with Elise, but I couldn’t get the idea of meeting her in New York out of my mind. A visit to her home in New Orleans would be wonderful, but a trip somewhere together would be a way for her to escape, and I’d get to escape with her. I reached out to Elise’s husband Jason and we started planning our super secret NYC getaway. We told her via Skype on Holy Saturday and well, the rest is in the books.
So here you have it: our 43 hour adventure in pictures and captions. Enjoy!
My sister Kathy surprised me and drove up to the city for dinner at Collichio & Sons followed by a private spontaneous and truly spectacular performance on the High Line.
We were moving so fast, Chris couldn’t even capture a still photo.
Have a lovely weekend with your families, First Communions, Graduations, Birthday Parties, May Crownings, Mother’s Day brunches… Whatever you do, live your life to the fullest this weekend and enjoy all the beauty that God places before you! Ultimately, that’s what my epic trip to New York taught me: live, love, laugh. We’ve all seen it a thousand times on inspirational posters, but it’s true.