Thursday, September 25, 2008

Our Make A Wish Adventure

Anyone who has ever walked the streets of New York City can attest to this. New York City, at least Manhattan's South Central Park District (5th Ave, Columbus Circle, Ave of the Americas, Broadway...) where my daughter and I stayed during her Make A Wish Adventure IS an example of Chaos Theory in action. The streets are throbbing with constant movement, noise, and activity, flowing with concentrated propulsion. Somehow, this sea of people manages to function, even move from place to place without crashing into one another. It may look like pandemonium, but there actually is a logical pattern. There's a current, and when you're walking the streets you need to plunge in and ride it. If you hesitate, you'll get hit by a cab.

My daughter and I spent two days and three nights in Manhattan to see Laurie Berkner in concert at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The concert was amazing! Laurie Berkner gave a show even a grown up would enjoy. And the toddlers were screaming like she was Paul McCartney. "Laurie! Laurie! I love you, Laurie!" They were bashing in the aisles, moshing to the groove of "Laurie's got a pig on her head" and singing along at the top of their little baby lungs. My daughter laughed and grinned through the whole concert. I have truly never seen her so happy, not even when she got Barbie's Dream House for Christmas three years ago.

After the concert we went back stage to meet Laurie and the band. She is wonderful! She got really close to Queen Teen as if intuitively knowing Queen Teen needed that connection to understand what Laurie was saying. And then Queen Teen surprised me. She was wearing a bracelet that she had insisted on bringing to the concert. I thought it was a fashion thing, but it turned out she wanted to give it to Laurie. Her whole body shook as she took it off her wrist and thrust it at Laurie. "This is for you." Laurie took it gently and put it on. "Thank you. It matches my dress. I love it." Then she hugged Queen Teen. Queen Teen hugged her back, her entire being glowing with joy. I wiped tears from my eyes and tried not to completely lose it.

Laurie spent several minutes with us before she had to join the reception in the main room, but she invited us to the party. We stayed a few minutes, eating chocolate covered strawberries, but it was packed with people and Queen Teen was exhausted, so we hopped back in the limo (yes, we got to ride in a limo to the concert. We rode in five limos during the trip to be exact).

The next day was our free day when we travelled the streets of Manhattan. Surprisingly, the stream of people stepped aside to let us pass when they saw us coming. The whole current adapted to our presence, and once when we got stuck on the edge of curb a man in a business suit stopped and helped us, then quickly jumped back into the flow and was gone. Queen Teen has a problem with loud noises, and the streets of Manhattan are nothing but one giant noise, but she hung in there, really hungry to explore. We hopped from store to store for breaks from the chaos, and I made sure to navigate back to our hotel so she could get her bearings again. I was really proud of her.

We flew home on Tuesday and met our limo driver, Duke, who drove us all the way back home. As I sat in the back of the limo with Queen Teen asleep beside me, watching the tiny LCD lights in the ceiling of the car as we sped through the blackness of the night, I felt perfectly calm and safe. I knew Duke would get us home safely. I fell asleep.

Queen Teen went back to school today, weary, but excited and still grinning after her trip. She can't believe she actually MET Laurie Berkner.

Today, I'm playing catch up. A thousand emails and phone calls to make. Stacks of bills and dirty laundry. I don't mind. My daughter is happy, and I'm still tingling from Manhattan and the joy on my child's face.

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