I am a small town girl. I live most of my life within twenty minutes of my house. I work from home. My ideal day is when I know I don’t have to go anywhere, and my kids are in the house with me. I like home. I like quiet. I like what I know. I like here.
But then I up and went to New York. (Which is just about the least small town, least home, least quiet, least what I know, least here place ever.)
Here’s how that came about. A couple months ago I was reading Bob Goff’s Love Does around the same time my church was doing a series called The New Artists. The series was setting me up to look at my life through more open, creative eyes and it led me to try an experiment of doing one new thing a day in May. So when I was reading Bob’s book and he talked about taking his kids on an adventure on their tenth birthday to anywhere they wanted to go in the world, I felt inspired. Better put, I felt nudged.
You see, I don’t do things like that. Yes, I set up overnighters for my kids. And I arrange birthday parties. And I take them to get their driver’s permit. And we occasionally go roller-skating. And I feed and clothe them. (Okay, I clothe them.) But adventures? Hardly. I’m not an adventurous kind of mom. They drew the short straw with me in that regard.
But a quick trip with each kid seemed doable and kind of cool. So the next step was to talk to my friends to get their opinions. They were awesome and all said, basically, go for it; that it would be a forever memory.
So I approached both kids with a choice: a bit of extra money in their savings account or a quick trip with me. Jack took the cash, which did not surprise nor offend me. But Sara chose the trip: we were going to New York.
The trip was important for a few reasons. Like to prove to myself that I can be adventurous when I want to be. Like to build precious memories with my daughter who will be out of the home soon. We will always have New York. Like to get me out of my stay-at-home comfort zone. Things like that.
But I think the most important thing about New York was simply that I did it. On my own. I decided to go. I made the arrangements. I got me and my child there. I kept us safe. I got us to every destination we had wanted to go to. I didn’t need to ask anyone’s permission to do something silly and unnecessary and fun. I felt like a grown-up. I felt empowered. I felt joy. Even in the evenings when we were tired and lying in bed watching HGTV and eating room service dessert, I was doing it in a hotel room in New York City. It was different and new and not like me at all and I had gotten myself there. And for someone who spent her twenties and thirties utterly convinced she was an incompetent idiot, this meant something…this was healing.
I am taking a few women through a book study in my home this summer. These women – me included – have been in difficult marriages and are either going through or have gone through difficult divorces. There is a brokenness that we are learning to enfold into our lives. But the theme of the book we’re going through is reclaiming our hearts and going to New York was just another one of those moments when I put a stake in the ground and said, “My heart is mine and God’s. No human is here to hurt it, to tell it what to do or feel. And I have the privilege of deciding on my own what to do with it and where to take it.”
So I took my daughter and my heart to New York. And it was amazing.