i’m in a new york state of mind

March 22, 2013 at 8:22 pm 3 comments

last week mini-me and i took a trip to nyc. it was her spring break and when we realized that it would fall a month or so after my younger brother and his wife had their first baby, we decided it would be a great way to combine a long desired trip to the city and a chance to meet my nephew.

let me preface with a little family background. my little bro and i are pretty close. at least as close as we can be given we so different from one another. in spite of only being two years older than him, in some ways i was more a mom to him for a huge period of our childhoods and we’ve always maintained that bond even if we go months without talking and sometimes years without seeing. and i really like my sister in law. she’s very sweet, and caring. but she’s also very fragile. throughout the course of their eight years together she’s had some severe emotional episodes that concern me but my brother loves her and in their own way they work together perfectly.

we got in late saturday night. midnight almost (almost forgot i need to write about dances with dirt which i ran earlier that day hence our late flight time) and hopped a cab to their place in tribeca. a quick peak at my adorable little nephew and we went straight to bed.

how sweet is he?

how sweet is he?

late the next morning after sleeping in best we all could with a newborn my brother took us on a short neighborhood tour. aka the best coffee and bagels walk. then soon after we all headed out to an art show. they (my brother and SIL) own an art gallery and it was great seeing some of their world and introducing mini-me to the sometimes dumbfounding works of modern art. that night we all had dinner along with my SIL’s mom who has been visiting (but staying in her own rented place) for the last month or so.

monday, mini-me and i ventured out on our own to meet up with my friend and former coworker HG for a bucket list visit to serendipity for lunch and the long-anticipated frozen peanut butter butter hot chocolate.

frozen deliciousness!

frozen deliciousness!

after indulging, we burned a few of the zillion calories with a long walk through central park before mini-me and i headed back to the apartment for a quick rest before she and i headed to bucket list item #2 ~ skating at rockerfeller center. mini-me is a skater. it’s her thing. and this was a dream come true. one we asked her uncle and aunt to meet us at but one they chose to forgo and just meet us out for dinner after instead.

IMG_1193

another little update. my brother and his wife are vegan. strict. i have no qualms about that. envy actually sometimes. but i also have a 12 year old who eats like a 12 year old. give her mac and cheese or chicken tenders with a side of fries and she’s happy. but take her to a restaurant where she doesn’t recognize much of what’s on the menu and it gets hard. add to this that i am so not a foodie. i eat to sustain. yes, i eat healthy (with the occasional splurge of the likes of the frozen goodness above!) but i don’t like spending money on eating out three meals a day which i was quickly realizing was going to eat up my entire nyc budget given the lack of hosted home cooking. so $30 entrees didn’t make me happy but we made do.

the next day a trip to the bronx to HGs house for a visit with her man and her little man who i haven’t seen since he was three months old. all day of chit chat, new york pizza and laughter followed by a fabulous home cooked dinner and a few beers. i almost felt guilty in that i was far more comfortable with them ~ and could see mini-me was as well ~ than we were with my brother.

they adored each other!

they adored each other!

the next morning i finally got out for a much needed run. as much as i love my trails, there was something oddly relaxing and magical about running in the city. maybe it was this view.

freedom tower

freedom tower

not long after i got back i felt things start to worsen. this was the one day my bro and sister in law ~ and the baby ~ were supposed to do the ny tourist thing with us. plans for the staten island ferry to see lady liberty and the 9/11 memorial to reflect and remember. but as we got ready to leave my SIL opted out. lack of sleep and just plain stress. i won’t lie. i was a little disappointed but i’ve been there so i understood and made the day fun for three . i knew the night would be redeeming. shosh, a mutual old friend of mine and my brother’s ~ newly married and pregnant with her first ~ was coming over for dinner. nothing spectacular (or home cooked). in fact the plan was gourmet pizza delivery and wine. but five minutes before their arrival my brother told me we needed to just go out. and by “we” he meant just me, mini-me and the guests. my SIL wasn’t feeling well. i was definitely not happy with things and embarrassed to make our guests put their coats back on as soon as they had taken them off, but regardless we still made the night wonderful.

thursday, our last full day, mini-me and i spent the morning out on our own. a quick stop back at the apartment then a times square adventure to buy that night broadway tickets before heading back for a shower and rest. but while getting ready i knew things weren’t good. my SIL was locked in the baby’s room with her mom and i could hear her crying and screaming. and not just a little. shrill. irrational. and soon after my brother came to me asking when we were heading out since he thought it best we leave early. mini-me wasn’t even given time to shower before we felt very ushered out the door.

i fully understand the stress of having a new born. lack of sleep, new worries and emotions. and company on top of it can be hard which is why we had spent much of our days out and on our own to be sure we gave them their space so i was definitely caught off guard by the extreme breakdown.

mini-me and i found a place for dinner ~ with french fries! ~ then headed to broadway to see chicago. mid act 1 I could feel my phone vibrating in my purse and at intermission i found missed calls and a text from my brother telling me my SIL was completely freaking out and that he thought it best we not stay with them that night. all compassion i had turned to shock and honestly anger. it was 9:30 pm at that point. on our last night. in an unfamiliar city. if it was just me that would be one thing but i had a child with me! MY child! she was very upset and worried about what we were going to do. it put a huge stress and damper on what was supposed to be our special night at the theater. so i wrote him back and told him to handle it. make arrangements for us at a hotel and we would come pick up our stuff after the show.

we tried to enjoy the rest of the night but we were both upset. after the show i had a text from him saying that things were calm and we should just come back. i wasn’t thrilled with that at that point but we had little option. when we got back, i went upstairs to see her and she apologized and i told her it was ok and i understood. truly i didn’t but I would never make her feel worse.

the next morning we had to leave by around 9:30 to get to the airport. i heard them awake upstairs at times. but at no point did either of them even come downstairs to spend a few minutes with us. finally I sent my brother a text saying we were leaving. he came down for a second with the baby to say goodbye but she didn’t bother.

i am trying to be understanding but it is very difficulty for me to comprehend her level of delicate and weak. i knew being there would be hard on a new mommy so we really did much of our own things. unfortunately these episodes have been scattered throughout their entire relationship. she is very very fragile emotionally. and I do find it concerning. motherhood is not an easy job and depression and emotional instability can be detrimental. i worry for my brother. i worry for my nephew. i worry for her. as far as we know she almost never left the apartment while we were there besides the art show, two dinners out and a hair appointment. she spends much of the day still in bed working a little and napping when the baby does. a maid twice a week does everything needed. i know i know i know, that not all can handle what i do. single parent, full-time career, ultra training, taking classes online. i thrive on independence and strength. she needs to be fully taken care of. i will never judge her for that. but the way things were handled and the stress it put on me and mine was not fair and i am not convinced that she is ok.

all in all it was a wonderful trip. there are so many more pictures i want to share but this post is already too long. i’m not a city girl. not big city at least. but there truly was something so invigorating about the energy and chaos that abounded. i wish we hadn’t had to endure the family drama my poor mini-me seems to always have to face ~ be it with me or with her dad. it’s dumbfounding to me how through 10 years divorced we have yet to come close to the dysfunctional we find on family vacations. how did we end up the normal ones? the stable ones? the strong ones? but at least we are the norm and they … her eccentric, extended exception.

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Entry filed under: family, life, parenting, relationships. Tags: , , , .

the plague yabba dabba do

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Floyd  |  March 23, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    A wonderfully PC post. I admire (or abhore my spelling is so bad) your struggle to adapt. On the upside – No city has even 1/2 the life of NYC. The energy and the vigor found walking the NY streets is magic (and the bagels rock too) hopefully your young un got an eye and a heartfull.

    Reply
  • 2. Miss Mile High  |  March 25, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Eek! I felt uncomfortable just reading that. I just wanted to grab her and yell “buck up, lady!” But I know that’s mean of me. I can’t imagine the stress of having a newborn, but sounds like this is much more than that.

    I’m glad you two had a good time anyway! I love the energy of NYC and even though I couldn’t live in that cold (or comfortably enough on that high cost of living!) I fantasize about moving there every time I’m even just near the city.

    Can’t wait to se more pics!

    Reply
  • 3. PDX Running Chick  |  March 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I don’t quite understand why such a fragile woman would go so far as to have a baby (and he is adorable!) and why those around her who know what parenthood entails would encourage it, but I try not to judge either. I’m glad you and your daughter were able to have a nice vacation in spite of everything else. I have never been to NYC but San Francisco is my energy spot. It’s necessary that I visit at least once a year to feel the charge and absorb the electricity.

    Reply

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