One half of my posts on Kveller have been about my 10-year-old son’s issues with school, socialization, and auditory/language processing issues. A third of my posts were about my 1-year-old daughter, including her hospital stay, breastfeeding, and sleep training. The rest of my posts were general posts about taking separate vacations, why people don’t RSVP, and that time Dr. Oz ambushed me at the grocery store.
Of all of my posts, none of them have been about my middle child. Not one. He doesn’t make any waves or have any special needs. He does well in public school. He has friends. He’s an easygoing, smart, sweet kid. Our squeaky wheels have been getting all of the grease. I couldn’t help but feel that not only was he starting to get lost in the middle, but that specifically his relationship with me wasn’t as strong as I would like it to be.
While I was pregnant with our third, and subsequently nursing, my husband got to do all of the fun things with our boys. He would use our annual Disney passes to take them to the park for a few hours while I stayed home with the baby. He’d jump in the car and take them to the beach while I stayed home with our newborn. He took them to birthday parties, the movies, and the science center. Meanwhile, when they were home, I was the one who made them put their laundry away. I hurried them out of the shower when they were taking too long. I encouraged them to eat things they didn’t want to eat. I insisted that they finish their homework before playing with their friends.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful that my amazing husband is so hands on. I was thrilled that the boys were all having fun together, and I was happy to be home nursing the babe. However, I began to think that my boys didn’t know that I could also be fun. So, amazing husband and I came up with a plan that would serve two purposes. First–our “neglected” middle child would get some one on one time with me (and selfishly me with him). Second–I would prove that I can be spontaneous and fun, just like Dad.
The mission: take Aaron to New York City. I’m from New York. Older son Joey had been several times. Aaron has been wanting to go for years, and I’ve been wanting to take him. We planned a four-day trip over his spring break to The Big Apple. It was awesome in every way. Here are the top six things that happened on our trip.
1. This was Aaron’s first airplane experience. He asked me, “What time will it launch?” Once on the plane he said the following things to me. I actually wrote them down because I never ever want to forget them:
“WHEEEEEEEEEEE-this is way funner than I thought it would be.”
“So this is what airplanes are like? AWESOME!”
“Wait….. are we flying back too? YES!”
“If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t get to go on this trip.”
“I’m so lucky–I’m one of the luckiest kids in the world.”
Then he slept for the rest of the flight.
2. We went to see the Spring Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. It was one of the best theater experiences I’ve ever had, and his first major theater production. He loved every moment of the 90-minute show. I caught him clapping along and giggling at the mischievous Easter Bunny. He was enamored with the light up bracelets and the 3-D glasses. Well done, Radio City!
3. After the show was over I couldn’t get a cab, and I wasn’t familiar enough with the subway/bus situation to tackle that at 9:30 at night. It was late and we were exhausted from a day of travel and fun. A rickshaw driver approached us. Aaron’s face lit up. I asked if he traveled to the Village where we were staying. He said, “Yes–it’s $4 per minute.” Aaron had already climbed inside and was waiting for me. We got in and had the ride of our lives. We went down 7th avenue with the lights and people of Times Square buzzing all around us. Aaron saw the brilliance of New York at night in the most magical way. Twenty-two minutes and 88 dollars (plus tip) later, we were delivered to our friends apartment. Expensive ride? Yes. The highlight of his trip? Quite possibly.
4. IT SNOWED!! Thanks to an incredibly long and cold winter in the northeast this year, it was still cold when we arrived in late March. Aaron, who had never seen snow, had been talking about the possibility of it for weeks leading up to the trip. I had prepared him that we probably wouldn’t see any. I was happy to be wrong. We watched it fall from our friend’s 11th story window. It started to stick and covered the cars and the trees. He couldn’t take his eyes away from the window. He was a regular Al Roker commenting on how hard it was falling and what it was sticking to.
5. For the second half of the trip we stayed with one of my dearest friends in the world. Her son Eli is Aaron’s age. They had met several times, but never had any chance to get to know each other for an extended period of time. They became the best of friends. Eli taught Aaron how to make and throw snowballs. This was the best thing that ever happened to Aaron, besides that epic rickshaw ride. Watching the two of them become friends and listening to them giggle from Eli’s room at night was so beautiful for us to see. They were continuing our friendship, and we loved it.
6. After four long but incredible days of sightseeing and visiting with friends, we headed home. Aaron got buckled into his seat on the plane and said, “These were the best four days of my life.”
I vow not to forget about my middle guy just because he isn’t as needy as my other kids. I will make an effort to spend individual time with each of them, and encourage my husband to do the same. I will always be grateful that I got to take Aaron to my favorite city in the world. I’ll never forget those four magical days, and I’m pretty sure he won’t either.