Eight Hundredth: That Old Ache

I write about the ache every time Owen leaves. His absence surrounds me for a while and I feel so sad, knowing how much I miss between each visit and how happy his sweet face, voice and general demeanor make me feel.

After this trip realizing that being closer to him and the chance to be a bigger part of his life is a number one reason to be excited about the move to Baton Rouge. There are a million other things that are going to be amazing. And it goes without saying that where Shawn goes, I go. He is my main reason for everything. And he helps temper the hurt of saying goodbye after a fun, relaxing, BUSY week of vacationing in the city.

Not sure if I can chronicle everything ... but I do enjoy looking back on these vacation posts and remembering. Makes the photos somehow better/more complete with the words to accompany them. But I can do a quick hits post.
  • Tuesday was arrival day, and Owen took a nap. After that we went to Union Square Park, did some light shopping (first day of the new NYU bookstore!) and Lisa came over for dinner -- quiche and salad and cherries (we ate in WAY more than we ate out or ordered in)
  • Wednesday we went to the Chelsea Market -- where Food Network is. We didn't see any celebrity chefs, but it was good to say we'd been there. We also walked along the water and Chelsea Piers. Then, because Owen asked to ride the A train we rode up to Washington Heights -- 181st Street and the Little Red Lighthouse. It was SO not worth the trek and I cannot discourage you enough. Keep it OFF your list. Apparently there's a children's book about the little red lighthouse and big gray bridge (GW). Whatever the case, we saw it and walked for over an hour, part of that in a somewhat sketchy neighborhood, then a windy trail by the river with no signs and then trying to get BACK to civilization we wandered again without signs until finally we found a way to cross the West Side Highway. After the ride back and walk across the park, we collapsed at home and ate chicken fajitas (Fresh Direct FTW).
  • Thursday we went to Queens for mall shopping. We had our unlimited ride Metro passes, but we probably should have gone out to New Jersey for the full mall experience (PATH trains don't take unlimited ride cards though, so it would have been more traveling expense and we're nothing if not thrifty ... or something like that). After dinner at home (spaghetti and meat sauce w/ salad), Mama and Beth went to West Side Story. Owen and I went to Toys R Us and deliberated how best to spend his $20 budget. (We went with a cool only in NYC set that included a taxi, police car, fire truck and garbage truck.) Our boy's a good shopper! Then we had ice cream in Times Square -- nothing better than snacking under the glittering lights.
  • On Friday Beth took a train to Boston to visit her friend Crystal. So it was just us three. We went to the New York Public Library's main branch. Mucho fun for my mom the librarian, and Owen and I liked it too. We got a children's book about New York at the gift store and spent some time in the children's section, where the original Winnie the Pooh toys are. So cool! We went to FAO Schwarz (verdict: Toys R Us Times Square is much cooler) and rode the 5th Avenue bus home. After a rest we bussed to Tompkins Square Park and played for over an hour in the sand and water. We walked home through St. Mark's Place, gawked at the hipster people but didn't buy anything. We ate leftovers for supper and went to bed!
  • Saturday was the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn. I'd been looking forward to it for so long! Live Action Etsy was how I described it to my Aunt. I bought a cool headband that I want Beth to replicate (or teach me to sew so I can create more) and had a lot of fun looking. Mama got some earrings made of postage stamps. We got to ride the L train, which pleased Owen, and he got to eat some blueberry ice cream. But we had to walk around a lot in crowds, which did not please him. We were going to the playground near the fair, but Owen changed his mind. We ended up riding FIVE subway lines because of transfers and weekend service (when will I learn?) but finally made it home and walked through the Washington Square Art Festival booths. (Maybe someday I'll have enough dough to collect paintings ... or even have one!) We rested and then walked to the Washington Square Park Fountain, where Owen played for over an hour and the light hit the water just right to create a rainbow. So fun! Shawn came home just in time for hamburgers for supper.
  • Sunday morning, Mama and I went to church, leaving Owen and Shawn home for an hour before Beth arrived back from Boston (she was super tired!). After church we met for brunch (the only time we ALL went out for a meal, although the four of us minus Shawn ate some lunches while we were out), and then Owen, Beth and Shawn were off to the World Science Festival! I was sort of sad to miss it BUT was happy with what my mom and I did -- SHOPPING! We ran out of steam on Saturday to go to the World Trade Center (to be honest the MTA snafus took the life out of me and I just wanted to go home). But Sunday was a breeze and we made it, saw the construction site and all the progress being made. Then it was Century 21. We had WAY more luck than I've ever had there. We found some souvenir things, beach hats (hello cruise!) and the best smelling candle -- it's like birthday cake baking w/o the effort (or the calories!). We met back up w/ the science festival kids, who had amazing fun and won lots of prizes and saw cool things, just before it started to rain. We relaxed before dinner (bacon cheesy pasta -- no kidding around here) and then Mama, Beth and I went to Billy Elliott. Uncle Shawn and Owen had a good time together -- did a craft project (assembling a balsa wood airplane) and went to the Washington Square Park fountain again. We had nosebleed seats, but it was a good experience and a fairly good -- although LONG -- musical. On the subway we ended up talking to a couple guys from Memphis, one of whom grew up in Lawton. Small world, I guess. When we got home Owen was snoozing so we all went to bed too.
  • Monday was CONEY ISLAND. So fun. Beth put up some pictures on Facebook already (and of the World Science Festival too). It took an hour train ride to get there (and almost as long to pack everyone up). Despite the broken glass all around on the beach (major fail), we managed to survive w/o slicing our feet and had a really great time -- nice weather (not too hot), beautiful sun and softly lapping waves. Owen and I even got in and swam a little and made a new friend, Will from Puerto Rico, who gave me a whole discourse about Obama's policy on undocumented immigrants. Very weird, as he was no more than 10 years old. Owen had fun splashing with him though! The hour ride home seemed much longer because we were so hungry (the picnic lunch of bologna sandwiches and sweet potato chips didn't tide us over what with the surf and sand play!). When we got home and dropped our gear, we threw Owen in the tub and ordered pizza from Mercado. YUMMO. After Mama and Beth were so energized they went back out and did some last minute shopping at local shops. I was too tired (and can really feel the sand walking in my thigh and butt muscles today)!
  • Today we just woke up and lounged about. Owen played www.transformers.com (he says the entire URL each time he asks for it). They got packed up and I deflated the air mattress, cleaned a little and spent time drawing with Owen and trying to help him beat the blasted Transformer games. I'm not a gamer and never was! The car came around 12:15, and Shawn was back from work to see them off. I did my best to not cry, but let myself feel a little sad when I was back in my room alone. 
I don't think the ache is any less than past visits, but I will say that it is tempered by the knowledge that I can be home for Owen's birthday in late August (job or no job, although hopefully there's a job) and that they will come visit us for fall break and in general I will be a more regular presence in the life of Owen. One can hope anyway. This turned out way more detailed than I intended. We walked enough that I dropped another 3 pounds. Hope it keeps on coming off! I'm closing in on a big milestone w/ weight loss too!

Happy 800th post!

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