My family and I are travelers. I’m not talking get the kids in the car and go to Disneyland travelers. I mean long distance travelers. Before we had kids, We made the point of saving all our pennies and taking an overseas trip every year. We continued this tradition although limited, after we had the girls.
One night a few months ago I heard Madison telling Molly, “Mommy you won’t be around when I graduate from High school”. Molly played it cool but Madison’s comment really bothered me. I found out that she had misunderstood a conversation I had with her pediatrician the week before. Like I said (Daddy, can I catch cancer) kids are intuitive and have very sharp ears. I thought this was time for some quality one on one time and a great excuse for a father daughter trip! Destination….New York City!
I love NewYork. I love the energy, the people, culture, smelly subways, etc. After all I named my daughter after its famous avenue! I have been coming to this city once every other year or so since early 2000’s. Madison has always wanted to come with me, but I didn’t see the point of bringing her as she was too young and I stayed at my cousin’s non kid friendly bachelor pad.
Nima is the oldest cousin on my mother’s side. He is 5 years younger than me and when I left Iran he was only eight. Nima has always been very artistic, even when he was a little boy he could draw better than most adults. He moved to the Bay Area in the late 90’s but knew if he wanted to pursue his passion in fashion and art, he needed to be in NYC. So one day he packed his stuff and moved there. I have always admired Nima’s work ethics and determination. Not only did he become a famous artist (NIMANY), he also became the creative director for a famous jeweler in NYC known for his expensive oversize watches favored by hip hop artists.
I always loved visiting Nima. When I was with him I got to hang out with the A list, and go to famous hard to get in places in the city. You know those people who walk in popular nightspots without waiting while the other poor schmucks in line stare at them? He was one of them. Of course he is older now and these days he has little time for all night escapades. His career responsibilities do not leave much free time these days.
Last year Nima’s mom moved to NYC and moved into the same apartment complex as him. This made for a perfect scenario to take Madison with me to NYC. I could stay with Nima in his bachelor pad and Madison could sleep at my aunt’s place. We took the five hour flight from San Francisco and after an hour in the subway we were at their flat.
During our four days stay in NYC, Madison and I did everything. This was a good trip for me also as I had not done touristy stuff there in a long time. We went to Times Square, Central Park, Ellis Island, Statue of liberty, saw a Broadway play, had lunch at the Plaza Hotel, etc, etc. We tried to do as much activities as a little eight year old could handle. Everything was great but the high light of the trip believe it or not was getting a haircut.
One of the things Madison really wanted to do was to go to a hair salon in NYC and get a cool fashionable haircut. Nima and I chose a trendy salon in Upper West Side and after a little wait Madison was on a chair ready for her new doo. Since we had still not decided on a style for her, Nima and I passionately argued what would look good on her. We eventually agreed on a cute bob hairstyle and let the stylist go to work. Nima & I must have been making quite a scene there because all the hair dressers were pointing at and giggling at us. I didn’t think much of it at the time but had a major epiphany afterwards while walking toward the Lincoln Center. I had to confirm my suspicion with Nima who had left us earlier to go to work.
When we got back to my aunt’s later that evening, I asked Nima if he had noticed the constant giggling of the scissor sisters but before I could even finish my sentence he blurred out, “Yup…they thought we were gay!” Apparently all stylish gay parents in the city made sure their kids are up to date on all the latest trends.
To conclude the trip was a huge success. Madison did open up to me, and now she will ask any questions she has no matter how silly they might be. She also opened up to my aunt who herself is a long time breast cancer survivor. One afternoon they had a long chat about cancer, and seeing that my aunt had survived cancer for over twenty years this brought Madison both joy and optimism.
I really enjoyed this bonding experience with my daughter and plan to do it again soon. I suggest this to any father out there who wants to be part of their child’s life. It doesn’t have to be a big elaborate trip; it can be as simple as a day on the beach. You will learn a lot about these incredible little humans, and they in return appreciate the time you spend with them. I read somewhere when a group of successful dying men were asked, what was one thing they would change about their lives if they could go back? They answered unanimously…work less and spend more time with their family.