When we set up our daughter’s “big girl room” we created a gallery wall of sentimental artwork. Many of the pieces were created or given by friends and family members, but there are also are a fewthat we purchased. Right in the centre is a monochromatic chunky beige painting of New York City in the rain. Our daughter often talks to us about the various paintings in her room and because of this particular one she has grown up always knowing that NYC exists out there and that someday we want to visit.
A couple weeks ago we did. The three of us flew down on a Friday and stayed for a long weekend. We had tickets to see Aladdin on Broadway and a list of many other activities we planned to tackle. It turns out we were a little ambitious in our list making, forgetting that travelling in a family means moving at the pace of the slowest member, which in our case is a slow eating, flower smelling, spontaneously dancing four year old. There were several big things on the list that we never even attempted (Central Park Zoo, Staten Island Ferry) and at first that was what I kept thinking of when people would ask “how was your trip?” But as I looked through our photos, and more importantly as I thought back and tried to choose one or two highlights for each of our four days together, I realized that we had wonderful but unexpected experiences instead.
As we were walking through Central Park on Saturday evening we heard someone playing the drums. My husband went ahead to see what it was and reported back that it was just a guy playing and it didn’t took like there was anything interesting going on. But as we approached, our daughter turned to us and asked “can I dance on a mountain?” It would be impossible to deny that request so off she ran, up a giant rock outcropping on our left, and as we watched she danced her heart out for close to ten minutes. She loves to dance and often will bust a move but this was such a joy to watch. She tried out new styles and danced with abandon. No one was watching except us, but it was clear that she was not dancing for an audience. She just wanted the pleasure of moving to the beat. That unexpected song was worth way more to all three of us than a trip through the zoo ever could have been.
Isn’t it lucky that life is full of unexpected moments like that?