Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Taking a whale for a walk in NYC

I already said I went to NYC and saw my first Broadway show. I guess the reason I haven't gone to shows is that I'm always at the museums. The occasion for this show was my son's chorus trip. They've gone in the past years, but we never went with them. Jonah brought the papers too late or finances were an issue. (They always want the money around the holidays.) But this was his last year to go, so we went and saw Phantom. Of the choices, I would have picked Lion King, but Jonah wanted Phantom, and it was his trip. The musical was in the afternoon, which left the morning in NYC open. We were being dropped off at 10 and had to eat and be back to the theater by 1:30. What to eat? What to do? We could go to a museum, but that would leave little time to see much and we'd still have to pay the $20 admission. I suggested walking to see the renovated Grand Central Station with its shops and restaurants. I also suggested walking up to Central Park. I tried to get Jonah to participate in this pre-trip planning. The most I could get out of him was that he would like either pizza, a barbecue joint, or chili for lunch.

I thought the excitement of the city would wash over him once we got there. I was wrong. Once we were actually in the city, Jonah was sullen. I don't like big cities. UGH! I used an analogy with my mother-in-law telling her it was like trying to walk a whale around NYC on a leash.

He eventally agreed to Grand Central Station after my iPhone indicated it had a bookstore. So I started walking quickly in the direction of the station. Jonah plodded behind. At one point I almost turned around and told Jonah to keep up, but then I had an A-HAH moment. Why should he keep up with me? This was his trip. We weren't pressed for time. I slowed down to his pace. It was hard. I like to walk fast. But I tried to look around and really absorb the city rather than getting ot my destination. Later, we opted for brick-oven pizza across the street from the theater. (Never my choice but I was able to get my favorite topping--eggplant.) I don't know if Jonah knows how I struggled to let him have the trip his way. Maybe he doesn't even think it was his way.

Day later, I heard a radio interview about mindfulness and how parents always rush their kids. I am terribly guilty of this one. It talked about present moment and teaching moments. The best way to show kids the power of now (a la Tolle) is to let them see you as a parent be totally immersed in the moment. If by totally immersed in the moment they mean running around like a crazy person shouting, "Let's go, we will be late! MOVE!" then I have it covered. I think I even rush my kids when we are ahead of schedule. Mark is the same. So, we have some work to do when it comes to teaching our kids to be in the moment. I think for me, it'll take a few more walks around the block with a whale on the leash.

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