Tuesday, April 28, 2009

All grown up - and together in New York

Iced Cappucino and Coffee at EAT.
Perfect for an 80-degree day.

Zan outside of the Rudolf Steiner school today.
East 79th Street.

There must be a word in another language that expresses perfectly the fusion of joy and woe, of bittersweet sadness and bliss. Does that word exist in English? I head back to Minneapolis tomorrow to work - plenty of wonderful client meetings, a new project, some styling work - yet, I always have a hard time saying good-bye to Lee and today, to Zan. I get a little weepy, feeling like somewhere dancing around my heart, there is a whirling dervish.

Today I needed to drop some food off at Lee's school. Zan, my son who has his first real job here in Manhattan, was meeting me, after spending the last part of the day with Lee's First Grade class. He helped herd them across 5th Avenue to Central Park to enjoy the final hour of this delicious day, holding his arms out wide, like a shepherd, to be sure no one strayed too far to the left or right. No matter what, it seemed entirely out of control to him. He just shook his head at how cute they are and how much energy that job must take.

I invited him for coffee, so we stopped at EAT on Madison, sat at a little old-fashioned wooden table on the marble checkerboard floors and ordered iced coffees. My iced cappucino looked like a dessert, layered with the milk, the coffee, then the foam. We talked about the future - mostly his, a little bit mine. So many possibilities - not always so easy to realize, but so much potential.

I can't really express the happiness, that joy that makes you all weepy, that I feel to have this time with Zan. And in this uncommon ground - new for both of us. We are equals, immigrants to a new place, making our own way. We find our meeting spots, our shared friends, the places to have a drink or dinner and it is magic; but, I never cease being surprised to see him here in New York, to see him in front of the school today, to see him open the door at our friend, Anna's, the other day for brunch.

It is exactly the feeling I had when, six years ago, I came to New York for the first time with Alexander to look at colleges. We were staying in Chelsea, but needed to be at NYU for a presentation early one afternoon. We decided to part ways in the morning and meet at the Starbucks across from NYU at 1:00. Now, I hadn't been in NY for years, but I have a pretty good sense of direction. He had only been there once at 14. I said, "So you know where you're going?"

"Yeah, see ya mom." And off he went. The boy from South Minneapolis.

I arrived a little early at the Starbucks. A big wrap around window looks west on 4th Street. I had my coffee and was taking in the way the college students looked different from how they look in Minnesota, when I looked up. There was Zan, walking down 4th Street straight for the Starbucks like he owned the whole Village. I was so surprised to see him. I will never forget it. I just shook my head and grinned. He'll be fine here. He gets this place. It was an epiphany as a parent. I'd done most of my work.

He got accepted at NYU on early decision, but the financial aid at GW was so much better, he chose to go to college at GW in DC. He loved it there, but there was no doubt where he would end up when that chapter was complete. New York.

And somehow, I end up here too. Go figure. It's just one of the sweetest things about my life to be here while Zan is here. I know it won't last forever. And that, of course, makes it all the sweeter. Or whatever that word is.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Alecia...you did it again. This is so lovely and tender. A literary treat. I love the image of Zan as a shepherd.