After a gruelling 30 hour journey from our home in Ocean Grove, via Los Angeles, to our apartment on the Upper West Side, we were so very grateful we didn't have the girls with us! This was one of our first realisations at how different this holiday was going to be. There was no way we could have taken the subway from JFK airport to the Upper West Side after a long haul fight on a Saturday night with three kids and luggage. But, with just the two of us, we managed!
Our apartment on the Upper West Side (well, it was on the third floor,
but this was the entrance, your typical NYC brownstone!).
It took a couple of days to settle, but soon we were able to leave the apartment by 10am and spend the whole day sight-seeing, having slow, lazy lunches and dinners, and return to the apartment around midnight. We didn't have to look at our watches. We didn't have to make a million toilet stops that three little girls all needing to 'go' at different times creates. We didn't have to ensure that a menu catered for all five of us before sitting at a table. Oh the freedom!
Having lazy, slow dinners at bars – no kids in sight!
Do you know what else we got to do? We got to do one of the most basic of actions of a relationship – we got to hold hands!! I mean, yes, we both hold hands all the time but not – read, NEVER! - with each other! We have three little girls who grab hold whenever they can. It was strange to actually hold a hand that wasn’t soft, chubby and gripped as tightly as possible. It took a bit of getting used to, to be honest! But it was lovely, again, to do something that we hadn’t been able to do for years.
At the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park.
New York City is such an iconic place. Barely a day passes where you don’t catch a glimpse of New York via a movie, TV, the newspaper or a book. So many well known landmarks are in the one city! If you have been there, you’ll understand when I say that New York just has this vibe that you really can’t explain. It’s just an incredible place to be.
We are so grateful to live in a world with Skype and great telephone connections, and we were able to Skype or speak to the girls every second day. It can sometimes be difficult to have a phone or Skype conversation with young children, but luckily we only had one conversation result in one of the kids in tears. A few more of those conversations may have resulted in me being in tears though... oh, that dreaded ‘mother’s guilt’!
Radio City Music Hall.
Our days in New York were super busy. We walked, and walked, and walked. We averaged walking about 7-8kms a day. Some days as much as 15kms. So many times we muttered to each other that ‘we wouldn’t be able to do this if the girls were with us’. We knew how lucky we were being able to experience the amazing city that is New York without the girls slowing us down, and limiting our experiences. And we also know how much they will love it when we take them there one day when they are much older.
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge on super-busy and very w arm Memorial Day.
One day we took a day trip to Washington. This wasn’t as simple as it sounds… we were awake early to catch a 6.30am bus. The bus took 4.5 hours to reach Washington via Baltimore. We had a whole 5.5 hours in Washington before heading back on the bus to New York – another 5.5 hours of travelling. We arrived home to our apartment after midnight. That was 10 hours on a bus in one day. That is absolutely not possible with three young children. My dream of seeing Washington would undoubtedly not have happened had the kids been with us.
Washington Monument and the Reflection Pool taken from the Lincoln Memorial
(and yes, we did say 'Forrest!' a LOT while we were here!).
The Capitol Building.
Occasionally, we would go somewhere or see something that would really pull at our heart strings and make us wish the girls were with us, especially in Central Park and the Natural History Museum. However, just as many times we knew that would have been all we were to do that day if they were with us.
Our girls would have loved the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.