Adi and her friends wanted to go to NY on a summer day trip and I volunteered to be the adult chaperone. The gang made all plans and I was getting nervous as we were getting closer to the day. One of her friend’s dad called me on the day before and added more anxiety by mentioning how NY is so crowded especially at night, about covid cases, odds of bus travel etc.. I even had second thought of cancelling the trip but glad or not I didn’t do that!
On a Friday, I took off from work, the gang assembled at our home early in the morning and we drove to the bus station nearby. I sat few seats away from them to give them space and maintained distance throughout the trip just making sure they are at my eyesight. But, Adi’s friends were so nice they tried their best to make me feel inclusive. I was in parallel going through another set of emergency (read at end of this post) that staying away from them worked better for me!
They had the entire day planned out and I was just following them. First we went to Highline, then a Mexican restaurant for lunch, then Starbucks Reserve Roastery. I never knew about this place. There is only 6 Roastery in the world and they got some discounts as one of Adi’s friend was working in Starbucks. But, the price were rocket high even after the discount that we polished off the coffee cups and took it home 🙂 More details here – https://www.starbucksreserve.com/en-us/visit
Then, we took subway and went to Ice cream Musuem. This was a unique experience and the best part is my work friend met me there and we had our own time while Adi and her friends explored on their own. They gave samples to taste at every room and I had to say no at one point! More details here – https://www.museumoficecream.com/
We went back to downtown to visit harbor but it was closed for a private music event. So, headed towards a pizza joint for dinner. My friend was kind enough to come along for sometime as she realized that I needed company (you will know why at end of this post). After dinner, we took a cab back to Midtown and they took a quick stroll around Times Square as we had enough wait time for the next bus!
It was a task to pull them out of NY but I must admit all of them were very sweet and agreed to board the bus a little early.
Came back home safe and rest of the gang reached their home a little before midnight! I heard later that they all had great time and I enjoyed spending the day with them though it was not to my fullest because of the emergency situation back home.
Coming to the situation, M got a call from India that his mom is very critical and has been admitted in ICU. He decided to travel immediately and went about the preparations (travel covid test, packing et all). He called me just before we were getting off the bus at NY and looking at the kid’s face I just couldn’t make them return immediately. NY is around 1.5 hours away for us and the bus frequency at non peak hours to return is lesser. On top of that, they already had ice cream museum tickets pre-booked for 4pm. I also bought the tickets for my friend and I. So, pretty much all day I was on calls with relatives from India, with M, with my neighbor while Adi and her friends were roaming at a distance from me. I told Adi only after we boarded the bus to head back and connected her with M as he was already on his way to Airport by then. LHB stayed at my neighbor’s home while the other neighbor helped to drop off M at the airport.
Adi’s friend parked her car in our driveway so M couldn’t take our car out to go for Covid test. Neighbor helped by offering his car. I am so thankful for my neighbors for their continuous help and support. I was so thankful for my work friend as I was able to dump all my emotions to her! Until this day, I don’t know if what I did was right or wrong! Should I have returned home right away? I was part of the months plan the kids did for this trip. It may not sound as a big deal now but I knew on that day it was important for them! They may never do a NY day trip again with the same gang and I just didn’t feel right to take away that joy from them!
Little did we know in the morning that we will not see M for next 1 month! Life is strange in its own ways! He returned after 1 month while MIL showed good progress and was in recovering phase. But, God had other plans. Just 3 weeks after his return, she passed away due to a bad fall. It was quite an unexpected event and thankfully this time I was around to help him with pre-travel requirements and send him off!
I may have a million tiffs with M every other day but it melts my heart to see a man who lost both his parents within a span of 3 years. I consciously try to go easy with him, go with his flow, accept his nonsense’s, talk more, listen even more and give him the space to help him realize that we are there for him to call as family!