We were lucky enough to leave the city Sunday.All this talk about ‘leaf peeping’ and apple picking and pumpkins hunts and hayrides had me feeling like I was seriously depriving my kids of more iconic ‘All American’ experiences. How dare I.
More so, I think we were all ready for a dose of the country, which takes on a whole new meaning living in a place like Manhattan.
It’s the kind of feeling that you don’t really realize is there, until actually just removing yourself from the urban energy.
Things have been busy, we’ve been trying to establish new routines and focus with the kids at the school, and weekends have snuck up a bit, so with the exception of picking a day and securing a car, we hadn’t done any planning for the great escape.
Saturday night, hockey buzzing along in the background and beer filling our glasses, we did a highly focused search of ‘best day trips for leaf peeping from NYC.’ Surprisingly, searching with such a laughable level of sophistication returned exactly what we were looking for, and we settled on a route, with a few ‘maybe stops’ along the way, and leaving it at that. No tickets purchased, no timing set, no photo ops scouted- a car, a few towns, and a departure time.
Again, the level of intensity during the week, and some of my city weekends, for that matter, have forced me into more moments where only the absolutes (like lining up a vehicle) are tended to. Preservation of energy. We also agreed to bring the dog to also give him some country air (really?), so that added an element to consider. (And immediately, and thankfully, ruled out visits to farms, where he would have either attacked a cow, or been trampled by a horse, while we pranced through the fields of golden corn, and scraped cow shit off of pumpkins, and later, kid shoes. Not in the mood for any of that. No thanks.)
And again- it’s hard to say how much of the day was for us parents really, versus the kids (and don’t forget the dog). But we were sure to build in fun for them- collecting leaves, throwing leaves, hunting for ghosts, finding witchy playgrounds, eye-spying blazing red tree after red-tree, and procuring gummies for the last leg of the trip (after surviving a gag-worthy gas station restroom).
Still not sure how to navigate that line between ‘bringing them along’ on our fun, versus having their experiences and reactions driving things. It is of course a balance, and sometimes we get it right, and sometimes we get it horribly wrong.
I hope that when Nora writes in her Monday morning journal where they recall a favourite memory from the weekend she practices writing the brilliant colours of the leaves that we saw yesterday. But there’s a decent chance that she’ll write about how her ‘brother fell in the toilet last night when he was goofing around on the pot.’ Good chance that will win.