Two years ago I had my only experience with Black Friday craziness. My experience seeking Zhu Zhu pets at midnight at Toys R Us was enough to deter me from trying that again anytime soon. The thought of the crowds and chaos of Manhattan amplified by Black Friday was more than I could bear...so you can imagine my surprise to find my family standing smack in the middle of Toys R Us NYC at 8:30am the day after Thanksgiving.
My husband had this brilliant idea that the fact we are raising early birds might actually work to our favor when it came to getting a ride on the Ferris wheel inside the TRU store. I scoffed. It was BLACK FRIDAY in Manhattan. Had he lost his mind? Yet, after waking at 6:30, eating doughnuts from a street vendor and walking around for a while, we decided to wander by just to see. The store was quite empty--and particularly devoid of people young enough to desire a ride on the Ferris wheel! There was no line at all.
After marking that off the children's list, we walked over to Bryant Park in time for a morning of ice skating.After skating and lunch we went to see the fantastic Mary Poppins. It was everything a Broadway show should be--the costumes, dancing, singing, set, theater...everything was first rate! The only downside was that a very important football game was happening during the whole second half of the show. (LSU/Arkansas)
We found a terrific place for dinner (The Counter) that had the game on--and had ourselves an SEC football tailgate of sorts with burgers and football smack in the middle of NYC.
We took the children back to the hotel for bed and were able to enjoy a few hours out with an old friend and his fiancee.
This morning we woke up intent on making the most of a very small window of time. We walked back to Central Park and let the children explore until the Museum of Natural History opened at 10--then we tried to see as much as we could in 1 hour (which was about 4 exhibits on fast forward) before checking out and venturing back to LaGuardia for our flight.
We are all the best kind of tired...filled with many new memories, lots of stories and no regrets.
Real life was waiting...with stacks of bills to be paid, an empty refrigerator, lists of to do items and bags of dirty laundry. The heartbreaking 'real life' stuff going on with people I care about is still here...but it is OK. NYC was a fairy tale--I feel both exhausted and rejuvenated from the temporary escape, but I prefer to live in real life.
It was so easy to miss God amidst the glitz of the big city. I have a better understanding of how people can get caught up in the lights and the noise and miss His still small voice. As challenging as it can be to live in the grime, I am thankful for the opportunity to see Him at work here.