This time last year I was in New York visiting family and friends. It was the first time returning to the States after moving here to Belgium, and my husband Davy and I brought our little Noah with us. It was Davy’s second time with me in New York and Noah’s first.
Noah was 8 months old at the time.
He got his first stamp on his U.S. Passport wearing a velour tracksuit and looking so incredibly small compared to the little man he is now. We stayed at my mother’s on the Lower East Side in the very same apartment I grew up in half my life. My mother ate him up night and day. As child I never would have imagined that when I had a child of my own that my father would be missing from the picture. My mother’s strength faltered when my dad died so many years ago. Time has passed but the pain of his absence doesn’t diminish. It’s the strength in living that matters in passing time.
I believe now that my mother’s never been stronger since she lost my dad. Nothing compares to what is a grandmother’s love. Noah’s good for my momz soul.
On this day last year specifically, November 19, it was a cold day. Davy and I had underestimated what an enormous pain in the ass it was to travel with Noah’s monster stroller around Manhattan. All my days living in New York had been baby-less ones and I realized…living my single life in Manhattan I’d NEVER really thought about what it was like to live in the city with a baby. Babysitting for friends and colleagues doesn’t prepare you enough. It didn’t for me.
So this day last year our little family of three left my mother’s apartment, walked to the 6 train, and made our way north then west to the Intrepid on Pier 86. I wanted to show Davy the USS Intrepid and the submarine and all the war stuff that guys are into. I remember class trips to the Intrepid and how I always bought souvenirs to take home to give to my little brother Danny.
And then as an adult I remember fondly Fleet Week celebrations in May when all the sailors came in with their crisp uniforms and tight asses. Davy’s never watched Sex & the City so I explained to him the iconic festivity that is Fleet Week in New York.
We finally got to the Intrepid that day…
It was a ghost town. Closed. Hurricane Sandy damage was still fresh and we hadn’t confirmed the Intrepid was even open before venturing out. Fail. Hurricane Sandy changed a lot of our plans on this trip.
Davy and I were physically exhausted from lugging Noah’s stroller up and down subway station stairs, because there’s never an elevator when you need one, and then walking all the blocks from Times Square to Pier 86 with the bitter winds by the water. I’m actually glad I took this photo but if you zoom in you can probably see how disappointed Davy was. He and I both learned a lot about traveling with a baby like how fucking hard it is even with all the Google preparation in the world.
Months after returning home I learned Fleet Week was cancelled for this year and after my initial shock I thought it made sense. It wasn’t a reflection of anything but the economic times and millions of dollars the Navy could probably use somewhere else. It did make me think of that day last year at the day at the Intrepid that never happened.
Fleet Week may or may not return to New York next year but I know I’ll definitely be making it back to New York with Davy and Noah at some point. I can’t wait to share the Intrepid with them both. For now I still have memories and the odd but beautiful photo of Davy plus Noah sleeping in his stroller in front of the USS Intrepid, from this time last year…