Last weekend, we all followed my husband, Stew, to New York as he participated in the New York City Marathon. Although Stew travels to New York for meetings regularly, and I had been due to layovers and a family celebration, we had not been back there as a family in over two years. So, when Stew mentioned that he was running his 4th NYC Marathon, we all wanted to be there to support him.
I got very busy planning the family itinerary, and wanted to make this trip into a mini family vacation/reunion. This past summer we had not taken a family vacation, so I felt it was my duty to make the experience extra special, especially for the kids.
Our itinerary included lots of facetime with our NY friends, as well as visiting familiar places such as the children’s old school and a drive-by to our home, afternoon tea, and after the Marathon get-together. We wanted to spend one day in the suburbs and the rest of the trip in the city. With my ability to always find great deals and never pay full prices, I was able to nab a hotel room at the Plaza Hotel (near the marathon finish line) for 2 nights, plus the Friday night we spent with my friend Angelina, her husband Monte, and their wonderful family. They were the most gracious hosts one could hope for!
Before we made it to our friends’ home, we made a few pit-stops. We stopped by Stew’s lovely Aunt Sylvia to have breakfast and chat a bit, and then went to Hackley School, where the kids met with old friends, teachers, and staff. We all had a fantastic time and the kids reconnected as if there had been no time lapse. It was all incredible to witness.
While in the city, on Saturday, we tried to squeeze in as much as we could. My older son wanted to return to one of his favorite spaces in the City, The American Museum of Natural History, with his dad and his 3 year old brother. My daughter wanted to host an Eloise Tea Party for her friends. Considering that it was on Halloween, we thought that our itinerary would be impacted, but the Museum was business as usual, with a Halloween celebration, and five of my daughter’s friends joined her at the Plaza for tea. It was truly spectacular. She was happy to hang out with some of the friends she has known since she was a baby.
We were all hyped on the Marathon Day. We downloaded the NYC Marathon app to follow Stew as he ran 26.2 miles, through 5 New York City Boroughs. The kids and I travelled via Uber to a diner in Queens, near the 14th mile maker, to cheer Stew on. We were greeted by members of the Fortune Society Charity, who supplied us with paper and markers to make posters. We created a few posters and, when Stew was on his 12th mile, we went to the route where he would be running to cheer him on. He was shocked to see us and, at the same time, very pleased that we had connected with him at such a crucial point in the race. He looked drained, tired, and weak.
Running in the New York City Marathon is one thing; finishing it is a completely different story. Stew’s last NYC Marathon record was 4:28; his time for this marathon was 5:56. His personal goal this time around, and over 30 years away from his 20s, was just to finish, bring awareness, and raise funds for a charity where he sits on the board. The Fortune Society helps previously incarcerated people to reintegrate into society. In my eyes, he did a fantastic job and we are all so proud of him!
We are not the only proud ones! Quite a few of our New York friends were cheering him on and came to meet us in the city. Our friends, Kathleen and Josh, and their wonderful family, as well as my dear cousin, Pearl, her husband Monty, and their lovely kids, they all tracked Stew along the way, we saw him ran adjacent to The Plaza, and came to hang out in our hotel room to celebrate Stew’s finish. We all then met with our dear friends for dinner, including Ted, Paige and family, David and Yokiko, Denise, Jameela and her family, Stew’s buddy Patrick and his fiancé, and had a wonderful time together.
All in all, we had a great time reconnecting with all our friends and supporting Stew. On the flight back, I was reflecting on our New York stay and realized that I don’t really miss New York City or the suburbs. What I truly miss are our wonderful friends. This trip would not have been the same if they had not been part of the complete experience.