The Magical Trip My Son & I Took That I’ll Never Forget

The Magical Trip My Son & I Took That I’ll Never Forget

One mom shares what happened when she took her son for a metropolitan adventure.

By Maria Mora

The first time I flew to New York City from Florida, I was 16 years old. My high school theater group spent five days attending workshops and going to see plays on Broadway. The city enchanted me. I loved the vintage clothing stores and record shops and beautiful actors rushing from the stage door to waiting cabs.

After that first magical trip, I spent a decade dreaming of going back.

As an adult in my late 20s, I visited much more often. It became easier to answer the city’s call, to step out onto the busy streets and feel the pulse of Manhattan beneath my feet. I go often enough to know my way around, but not often enough to become jaded.

Just after my oldest son turned 7, I took him to meet the city. It felt like introducing him to an eccentric aunt. As a friend drove us from the airport into Brooklyn, I scanned his features nervously. It felt personal. I wanted him to love it as much as I did.

He did.

What I learned over three days is that my young son loved the city as much as I did -- in entirely different ways. He didn’t care about my favorite stores or all the exotic food. He couldn’t comprehend the feats of engineering that held the skyscrapers up around us. He rarely looked up at how high the buildings stood.

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He looked down, petting every dog on a leash. He peeked through the sidewalk gratings we walked over and peered into basement windows. He dashed around playgrounds with city kids. He scaled the “mountains” in Central Park. He skipped along the solar system at the Hayden Planetarium. He calmly read a book on the subway and leaned into the wind on the Staten Island Ferry. He decided that New York had to be the best place in the world because nowhere else had so much pizza, his favorite food.


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I never lectured him as we explored. He has his entire life to learn about New York’s history and its amazing intersection of cultures. Instead, I let him experience New York from a child’s perspective.

He discovered that people take boats and trains to work. He fed pigeons. He learned how to hail a cab. He quickly learned to stand back before the subway train roared into the station, and how to identify the next stop. He had bagels for breakfast. He climbed on sculptures and tipped street performers and went to bed early, exhausted, every night.

My suburban son didn’t become a city kid overnight, but our trip opened up a bustling world that only existed to him in stories until that point. And I had the privilege of holding his hand as he walked those city streets for the first of what’s sure to be many times to come.

What was the most memorable trip you’ve taken with your child?

Maria Mora is communications director at Big Sea Design and Development in St. Petersburg, Florida. She lives with her two sons and their rescue terriers.

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