You didn't know this, but I was dreading this trip. It had already been five weeks since the last trip, and Elijah's exam was postponed due to sickness. My stomach churned at the thought of six weeks having passed without knowing what was going on inside him. Not to mention that there is almost always something: a new tumor, an old one growing, something.
In addition, Elijah is getting bigger, stronger, and more resistant to the things he doesn't want to do. I knew that, like any almost-one-year old, he was not going to just sit still for hours on a plane. I knew he would fuss and scream and thrash his body around while my weak back held on for dear life.
To look over and see your beautiful, excited, awe-struck faces made ALL the difference. Please here me say that again: it made ALL the difference. When I thought my back would finally give out, to have an offer of, "Would you like me to hold him for awhile?" Or when I needed to use the restroom, to have trusted faces willing to entertain him. To lug the hefty carry-on bags up into the overhead bins, or to share your tray with me so that I could have a drink without Elijah spilling it.
I'm not sure you totally knew what you signed up for (we rarely ever do). The long day of travel, often going without meals, and the nights where Elijah just won't sleep. Having to pick Elijah up and bring him to me in the night, buckling him in the stroller as he fights with all of his might. And how it takes all three of us to change this kid's diaper. :-)
Most moms, I'm sure, wish they could take their children on a trip where they can see and experience all that city has to offer-the major attractions, the sights. New York, perhaps more than most cities has so much to see and do.
But this wasn't that kind of trip. Not once, did either of you complain or even mention the things you wanted to do that we didn't get to do. From the very beginning, you had the mindset that this trip was about helping me with Elijah.
And so, to my sorrow, we didn't see many sights or explore the city much. But to my absolute delight, you got to experience THE VERY BEST of New York City: it's people. And some very good food. Rather than the top of the Empire State Building and its view of the city, you'll remember Joey having lunch with us and cutting your hair.
You'll remember stepping into an exam room full of amazing equipment and seeing a team of the best doctors in the world, all giving their attention to your baby brother.
Rather than a Broadway show (which I REALLY would have loved to have taken you to), you'll remember breakfast with Margaret, and how brilliant and kind she is. You'll remember the brothers at Cafe Luka, and how they have made kindness their business.
Rather than Times Square, you'll remember meeting the Kill family at the Shake Shack and riding the subway with the girls.
And rather than a fancy hotel with long nights of sleep, you'll remember freezing because I couldn't work the heater. You'll remember Peter and Dominique from the Ronald McDonald House, as well as all the musicians who give their time to play with the kids at the house. You'll remember Trucker and his mama, Miss Becky and her boy Nolan, and all the other families from the Ronald McDonald house who are fighting cancer, other illnesses or injuries.
The trip was so fantastic. The memories we made were not traditional for a trip to NY, but they are exactly the ones I want you to have-for they will shape you and grow the seeds of compassion. There are so many others that we missed this time-like Miss Janet and Donna and Dave....the list goes on and on. But you got a taste of what truly makes NY great. The people.
And the very best part of this trip for me, was looking over and seeing you two sitting next to me. Thank you. I am so proud of you both and honored to be your mom, and to have shared this trip with you. Thank you for being willing to help me. I love you Emma and Caleb.
Momma (from seat 20C)