Andrew spent the first hour of our time together on Saturday running up and down a series of pedestals and stairs. Over, and over, and over again. Finally, I called him back over to stand in line with me. I didn't want him to wear himself out. After all, this only hour one of eight we were spending together and I really needed him to be able to walk around the city with me, and manage it with as little complaining as possible. Because if anything can kill a good mood on a gorgeous day, it's a nine year old whining about how his feet hurt, and can't walk. But on the other hand, I didn't need to be chasing down an overly antsy kid all over lower Manhattan. I have to say that my mischievous plan worked out beautifully at the end of the day. But to be honest, I knew what I was doing. This isn't my first rodeo ... or babysitting gig, as it were. And in the midst of watching him run up and down those pedestals I had yet another realization, a vision, a great solid grounded knowledge, that spoke to me and said, you will be a magnificent mother.
This mother thing, it's not a new realization. It's something that I have known all my life. I was two when I told my mother that I wanted to perform on a stage. But I was only a few months younger when I knew that I wanted to be a mother. I know many people have their doubts, and most people don't voice them to my face (quite the smart move actually) that I couldn't possibly know that I wanted that at the ripe young age of 20 months, but I did. You see, I got a baby brother. My first of many (well, not many, but the first of three) and I got hold him, and share with him, and love him. An much to my surprise, over 20 years later, I still do two of those three things. He was a miracle. A chubby, funny miracle. And yes, having a brother, or several, before the age of 5 is an experience that I cherish and realize that not many people have, I knew it was special. I was introduced to a different side of myself, that I don't think most children are introduced to until they go to school. I was introduced to my nurturing side. I was younger than two when I started nurturing my brother, and I still continue to do that today. As I grew up, and got older, I eventually started babysitting, and took on my first babysitting clients at the age of 10. Yes, you read that right I was ten years old, and was getting paid to babysit small children while their parents were not home. I was mature for my age. But ever since then I have been babysitting on and off and making some spending money, or just making a friend's life easier. But this leads me to where I was on Saturday December 5th, standing in a ridiculous long line outside of the Museum of Feelings with an antsy nine year old who couldn't be more thrilled to be showing me one of his favorite spots.
I have to say, it's been awhile since I spent any time with a nine year old. Most of the time I am babysitting infants, toddlers and pre-k kids. Not that I mind, but Andrew's world is much larger than the small ones I'm use to babysitting, and he could carry on a conversation. But something that was consistent with the babies and the nine year old was the idea of surprise, or "peek-a-boo". He had been through the Museum of Feelings a couple of weeks earlier, and since I had not been he wanted to lead me through each experience and surprise me. "Keep you eyes closed! No peeking! Don't look until I say! It's a surprise!" He wanted to share the joy and wonder he experienced with me. It was an honor. Now, I had done my research, and discovered that this pop up museum was a marketing stunt for Glade. So, being the antagonistic New Yorker, I was honestly, not into the idea of becoming one of the many schmucks who got suckered into a "fake museum". But it was magical and wonderful. Because the effortless joy and energy that radiated from Andrew. We wore the 3-D glasses in the jungle of light, jumped around in the crazy light room, played with the prisms, had some fun making really cool designs in the kaleidoscope room, got a selfie in the room of fog, and finally got our "feelings" read at the end. (For the record I was "confident" and Andrew was "joyful".) As touristy as a thing like that can be, it was a lot of fun to see it through a child's eyes.
But on to lunch (pizza) and to watch a bit of a performance of "The Nutcracker" that was happening in the mall where we found lunch. After the Dance of the Snowflakes, we made our way out, and started walking a bit farther downtown to go see the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. (It's totally free, everyday of the week.) We wondered around, ended up on a floor that we were not suppose to be on, and got to crawl into a tipi and see some amazing artifacts and jewelry. But after we finished our wanderings, we were at a loss of what to happen on next. And being that it was the afternoon, and we had a few hours to kill before his mom picked him up, we decided a movie would be the best way to kill the most time.
We hopped on the 4 train and went up to Union Square to catch a viewing of "The Good Dinosaur". Being a Pixar film, I knew I would probably be in for a bit of a tear jearker. (How many times have you been to a Pixar film as an adult and no sobbed your eyes out at least once?) But it has been years since I saw a film in the theater with a child. It was an experience like none other. Seeing a Pixar film for the first time through the eyes of a nine year old, is an experience everyone needs to experience. It is a frightening, funny, and "feels" inspiring. The joy at the end is amazing and wonderful. He couldn't have been more delighted, and we talked all about it while we walked to Barnes and Noble and then sat a read for the next hour until his mom met up with us.
It was a long and fruitful day. And it was so refreshing to see the world through the eyes of an energetic, optimistic, nine year old boy. i reminded me that every day is an adventure that you make. Every choice can be daunting and exciting. Every day needs to be lived to the fullest!
London Griffith is an Alaskan born, Montana raised, Southern influenced, New York Actress. She occasionally writes about her life and experiences of being on the verge ...