AJ and I have just returned from a trip to New York and Disneyland which was all kinds of wonderful. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to give AJ my time and undivided attention for nearly two weeks. But, I have to say it wasn’t an easy decision to take the trip without the boys and I did worry about how BJ would feel about us being gone for so long. It was the longest time we’ve been apart from him. Certainly his welcome on our return indicated he did indeed miss us a lot!
I have a lovely Qantas staff member to thank for the final push to book. We were using frequent flyer points for the flights and the online system wasn’t working properly. I phoned to make an enquiry and the Qantas staffer confirmed all the flights were available on points. I said “Thanks, I’ll check with my husband and call back.” She said, “You may miss out if you don’t go ahead now.” I explained it was quite complicated and mother guilt was playing a role in my hesitation as I was leaving my son who lives with a disability. She said, “You’re booking the trip to take your daughter aren’t you? Look what a lovely opportunity you are giving her. Why don’t I stay on the line while you ring your husband and see he’s fine for you to book the dates.” I did just that, Hubby said “Go for it!” and the rest is history.
Two weeks ago AJ and I flew out of Sydney headed for New York. We left with a long list of places, cafes and experiences we hoped to fit into our 8 days in New York. It seemed a little ambitious but we were prepared to hit the ground running. A delay at San Francisco airport meant we didn’t arrive at our hotel until 3am. After a good sleep between San Fran and New York we were wide awake and excited to finally be at our destination. So like a couple of mad tourists we checked in, unpacked our winter jackets and walked the streets. First stop was Starbucks for a hot white chocolate for AJ and a cup of tea for me which helped keep us warm in the below zero temp. Although known as the city that never sleeps, New York’s streets were fairly empty and it was a delight to see the city without the crowds. I’ve never seen Time Square so empty.
Buoyed by the sight of yellow taxis and well known landmarks we walked further than intended and found our way to Rockefeller Ice Rink. For my ice skater girl, who packed her ice skates in anticipation of skating the seasonal outdoor rinks, it was the ultimate sight.
We kept tiredness at bay until 6am but succumbed to the inevitable and climbed into bed for a few hours sleep before heading out again to explore some more.
I’ll be sharing plenty about the trip in the coming weeks. Although it was a mother daughter trip, neither one of us can turn off from accessibility. We found ourselves commenting, taking notes and photographing different aspects of accessibility throughout the trip.
While it always feels strange not travelling as a family of four, it was lovely to have time to nurture AJ’s interests and watch her blossom as she learnt to navigate the streets and New York subway. I’ve said before I believe sibling care is important. It’s not easy to do and takes a military style operation to not be around, but I know we’ve made lifelong memories both of us will treasure forever.