Our final day in NYC was probably my favorite just because we focused on a great big park, a fabulous museum and dolls. We took our old friend, the subway, to the American Museum of Natural History (it has its own subway stop so you just arrive and walk right inside the building while still under ground). Museums are my happy places (well, probably not the Holocaust Museum though I’ve been twice) because they combine so much of what I love—knowledge, oftentimes marble floors and super old stuff. The issue I have with the big ones is that I get overwhelmed and turned around and then exhausted.
This time was different. Yes, the place was fantastically large but we knew what we wanted to do—dinosaurs, blue whale, gemstones, the Discovery room. Done. And, that’s just what we did and even in that order. We explored our focus areas, ate a delicious lunch (I’m not joking, the food was great) and moved on completely satisfied. This is much the same way we tackled the Smithsonian. It just makes sense for children and road-weary adults alike. Normally when I pay for something I want to “get my money’s worth” but this ridiculous road trip has taught me that dragging half-dead children through another tourist trap so they can pretend to smile for their photo-crazed father is just. Not. Worth. It. We’re interested in actual joy and happy memories. That means we sometimes don’t see it all and that’s ok.
We strolled through Central Park and I felt the tension of the previous three days just rush off me and down some city gutter. It was so peaceful and friendly in that green space. If I lived in NYC, I’d be in Central Park all the time. We heard a man playing a Chinese violin. We stopped for ice cream (you may have noticed that particular sweet treat is a regular occurrence in our travels) and we snapped countless photos. I did not want to leave that beautiful, thoughtful bit of tranquility but we had a train to catch (isn’t that just how it is in NYC?).
Danny and I surprised the girls with a trip to the American Girl Store. Their eyes lit up and Paige was quite honestly airborne for a good thirty seconds. Danny took his leave of us at this particular juncture (coincidence?), reminded me that we were heading back to Texas in a month and needed money for a house down payment and left to the hotel. He went to retrieve our suitcase and the girls and I faced the daunting task of investigating a three-story high doll store. We were up for the challenge, friends. Oh, we were up for it.
Boys are just fine. I like boys. I married a grown-up boy. They’re great. However, as a general rule, boys don’t love dolls and I love dolls and I’m such a girl mom, it’s ridiculous. My duo climb trees, play Star Wars, pick up bugs and run wild as much as I’ll let them. They’re not royally prissy but American Girl dolls reign supreme in our household and have for years. This was our Mecca. We were greeted by a welcome blast of air-conditioned coolness and to our right a LIBRARY of AG books and materials. I lost Reagan in there right away. Paige went to the left and entered the main showroom floor. Many of you have been in an AG store and this one is just like that but bigger and with more. Just so much more. I think the general idea is to separate parents from their daughters’ college fund in a smooth, pink-infused coma so you just don’t even realize it’s happening.
I won’t bore you with all the details but an hour passed before we even finished exploring. I got Danny’s text that he was on his way and we raced to make our final purchases before he came back with all his testosterone. A very good time was had by all. The girls beamed all the way to Penn Station.
We left the Big Apple and all its crazy and headed back to our RV life. I slept so hard that night with a kitty purring at my feet and no one yelling obscenities at a passing car outside. We are glad we visited. We are glad we left.