Day 2: Family First
We had a chill day and engaged in some much-needed girly girl time. It was a mani & pedi, grab a lil’ snacky snack at Breads Bakery, and wander around Union Square type of situation. My mom and I met Aijah and her other grandma at the nail salon. At first, it was hectic because regular manis & pedis were scheduled. But, of course we wanted extra because…. we just extra. When we requested upgraded manis & pedis, the salon receptionist did NOT do well with this new information. Hesitation and frustration were written all over her face and it stressed me out. Like, listen… we can’t be the first 4 ladies ever at a nail salon to request upgraded services… sooo, can we please just make it work? Despite the hiccup, she rallied up her ladies to accommodate us ladies. We had a blast, bonded, and congratulations were given all around. In the end, we all got fresh sets and it was a cute moment. All this extra self-love is just a basic necessity sometimes.
That evening, we had the big family dinner. Time for my daughter’s boyfriend to meet the family. Dun dun dunnn. Leading up to this day was a bit stressful for her, but I honestly don’t think it could’ve gone any better. In my conversations and interactions with him, I see a confident, loving, respectful young man, and I feel that she is safe. Seeing her in a healthy, balanced, adult relationship and experiencing real, all-encompassing love, is all I could ever ask for. And if I have to share my A1 since Day 1 with anyone, I’m glad it’s with someone who knows her value, balances her out, and holds love, respect, space for her. BOOM. BF meets the fam: CHECK!
Dinner was at Dudley’s on Orchard, where we shared all the amazing food, drank all the dranky dranks, had great conversation, and the meet & greets were flawless. After dinner, all of us, minus the boomers and the Gen Z’er, went to Smalls Jazz Club, with a quick pit stop at the legendary Stonewall Inn. And let me tell you…. being able to do all these things with my children is such a vibe. Playful, affectionate, and enduring love was served on the menu, and we just ate it all up.
Day 3: Our Presence is a Present
This day was a lot. Graduation ceremony, senior art show, and an afternoon picnic at Central Park were on the agenda.
All the sacrifice and unconditional love that we’ve poured into her for the last 23 years has paid off. It’s so satisfying to see one of my life’s greatest accomplishments blossom from being the cutest, sassiest, funniest, most entertaining, most loving little girl into an amazing, bright young woman. She moves with purpose and is confident, talented, compassionate, loving, kind, and insightful, while still keeping it cute, sassy, funny, and entertaining. We are all beyond proud and excited for her new journey. After the grad ceremony, we trekked over to her senior art show a few blocks away. All the senior thesis projects were intriguing, inventive, controversial, peculiar, because you know… ART. Her body of work made me so proud. And seeing her proud made me proud that she’s proud. Ya heard. Go ‘head with your adult self, baby girl!
After taking an abundance of photos, we ventured over to Central Park for a cute lil’ picnic situation. And boy was it a venture! Picnic duties were delegated to have all our bases covered – one person was assigned to get blankets or chairs. Okaaay. Another person assigned to pizzas and snacks. Roger that. Her dad assigned himself to get the drinks, which turned into a whole case of wine and champagne. Awesome! We later found out that he carried that entire case of libations from one end of Central Park to the total opposite end of the park. I mean, the struggle. In a custom bespoke suit and designer shoes, no less. Lastly, I assigned myself to bring my parents back to the hotel to change. Low key, I think I had the hardest job and I’ll tell you why. Getting to any part of Central Park requires some walking – we know this. Well, my cute lil’ momma, in her cute lil’ outfit, also has not-so-cute sciatica. So, she was struggle bussin’ it all the way to the picnic. We were already late and she had a rollaway suitcase filled with who-knows-what. In said struggle scene, this rollaway played the supporting actor. We were all trying to be patient and I could hear my dad questioning what was in it and why she even brought it in the first place. As she insisted it wasn’t the rollaway’s fault, I could see the pain on her beautiful little face. And the second I hear the parentals bickering, that was our cue to start speed walking ahead of them – like, who are these people? We don’t know them!
We finally get there and it’s all LOVE. From afar, it looked like a classic movie scene. Good music was playing, the sun was shining, and the grass was green. We were playing catch, snacking, catching up in conversations, and laughing. I met my daughter’s BF’s parents for the first time, I reconnected with a few friends from college that I hadn’t seen in over 15 years, and it was all LOVE. Pure, enduring, universal love that only family and friends who are family (“framily”) can experience.
And just like that… after a long short trip, we were “Going going, back back, to Cali Cali.” To say that we experienced several types of love and all the love languages were present in our trip to NY is an understatement. But, the most important love we experienced was God’s love. From LA to NY, we all just showed up. Present and accounted for. Showing up is half the battle. Showing up – being fully present, super intentional, and doing ALL the things for the people you love… is LOVE.
I love you if you read all of this. See you next time!