I wrote this post a few weeks ago, but things got busy and I never got around to publishing it. Enjoy!
We spent last week in New York City. The City is a magical place chock full of scrumptious eateries, gorgeous architecture, shopping for miles, and the wonder that is Central Park. It is also, we discovered, a very difficult place to travel to with two little ones.
We arrived Sunday evening to our hotel with our luggage, the baby in the carrier, and a sick toddler in the stroller. The hotel was tiny, even by Manhattan’s standards, and I was already tired after 6 hours in the car, a half an hour on the Metro and a few blocks walk to the hotel. We asked the friendly guy at the front desk (Miguel) for a crib, and, after a blank look, he said “Oh, I am sorry! We do not have cribs. But, we have a 3/4 size cot, would that work for you?” Well, no, since my ten month old has no concept of tall furniture,and loves to nose dive off of everything, no it will not work for us. We requested a room with two doubles, and figured that Keilana could sleep on blankets on the floor.
So we headed upstairs to our room with two double beds. Except that it was a room with one king bed. After looking at each other and sighing, Lover headed back downstairs to get us the right room. Seconds after he left, Miguel calls the room. “Hello?” I say, trying not to sound irritated. “Ah yes, ma’am, so I know that you said you wanted a king size bed (we didn’t) but if you would like, I could put you in a room with two doubles if that would work better for you. (Yes, that’s why we requested that)”. So I say, yes, my husband is on his way down to get things worked out. And (this is my favorite part) Miguel says, “well, actually, ma’am, if you want to just come on down too, that would be best.” And so, still nicely, but less nicely, I say “well, actually I can’t do that because I have both my kids with me (one is a baby, remember? the one that needed a crib?) and all of our luggage so I cannot just “come on down”. In fact, there are very few situations in life right now where I can “just” do anything. My husband will be down in a minute.” And then I took a deep breath.
We got our room with two doubles. There was about a foot of space on each side on the beds, and a generous three feet at the end of the beds where the desk, TV and armoire were crowded in. We dumped our luggage and headed out for dinner. When we came back, I looked around the lobby/breakfast room and realized I didn’t see any highchairs for the kids. I asked Miguel if they had any. His response? “Well, ma’am, ah…high chairs? Well our highest chairs are the bar height stools there along the wall…” I think my face must have been scary, because at this point he trailed off. “For children,” I clarified, trying not to growl. “highchairs. Not stools.” “Oh, no, so sorry ma’am. We just have chairs.”
On the elevator ride up to our room, Lover and I just laughed. What else can you do? We tried to make the best of the situation. We put sick little Javi to bed in one of the double beds, made a bed out of blankets on the floor for Keilana, and jockeyed for enough space for two grown people in our double bed exactly one foot away from Javi’s bed. Have I mentioned that I am claustrophobic?
What followed was one of the worst nights sleep I’ve had in years. Keilana hated the floor, and woke up just about every hour that night. Javi had coughing spasms throughout the night, exacerbated by the ancient ventilation blowing years of dust into the room. At one point in the night I sat in bed, wedged next to Lover, nursing Keilana for the hundredth time, listening to my toddler cough uncontrollably, and prayed desperately for God to help me make it through till morning.
We did. And we made it through each long, hot day and five tiring sleepless nights. Because my toddler with normally boundless energy was sick, he constantly asked to ride in the stroller. This meant if I went out during the day, I had Keilana in the carrier. Hot, sweaty and heavy. The first two nights when we went out all together, to get dinner and walk around the city, it started to rain. Monday night, luckily, we were only three blocks from the hotel. Tuesday night, however, we were up on 60th st, right next to Central Park, and it was pouring. There wasn’t anyway around the rain, so we bought an umbrella for Lover who was carrying KK and proceeded to walk the fifteen blocks back in pouring rain. Fun times.
Tuesday night, as we walked, and walked, and walked in the rain, and I got progressively more soaked, I started making a list of things I was thankful for. It was not cold. Javi and Keilana were having the time of their lives in the rain. I was wearing sandals, not flip flops, so walking was easier. I would never, after this trip, have to stay in this hotel, ever again. And on and on. It made the rain a little easier to deal with.
It was one of the hardest trips we’ve ever taken. Keilana and Lover both got sick after a few days there, and I’m pretty sure I did too, but I was too busy taking care of everyone else to really stop and examine myself. :) But at some point in that first day or two, I remembered one of my favorite quotes:
You never see the hard days in a photo album, but those are what get you from one happy picture to the next.
And so I took pictures. Lots of them. Of anything that caught my eye. Of my kids being adorable. Of stunning buildings. Of New York’s quirkiness. I’ll be able to look back on these pictures and although I’ll know that it was a hard week, I’ll just have the happy pictures to remember it by. I shared a lot of those pictures on Instagram and Facebook, and apparently my strategy worked because a friend commented “so jealous of you in NYC! Looks like a good time!” and I just chuckled.