Visiting the World Trade Center

It’s the time of year where I wish I could pack these last few weeks of “weather that’s warm enough to wear shorts” and move it to February or March, aka the months I resent more than everything in life and then some. I’m ready for fall now, for light jackets and long pants and a fresh chill in the air.

To accommodate my sentiment I overdressed my children all weekend. Who cares if they sweat; this is the new fall collection.

On Saturday we hung out in Prospect Park with a bunch of Germans for the boys’ school “welcome to the new school year” picnic. Everyone brought some sort of a baked good; I brought peach cobbler. About 30 minutes in Julian and Arthur had eaten enough carbs to last all week, and that’s saying something. No one brought meats & cheeses, so I’m not sure how German anyone really is, including myself.

On Sunday we’d had enough of a) being lazy and b) our children bickering over absolutely everything – so we spent the day outside, and everyone, per usual, was happy.

We rode our bikes into Manhattan and had breakfast at this nice French place in the Financial District that we dared to set foot in despite white table cloths and the children we had in tow. The boys got to eat oven-warm chocolate croissants that left at least one of their faces covered in chocolate (not looking at you, Arthur).

Then we went on an adventure we’d been talking about for a while. We went to the observation deck of the World Trade Center. I still want to call it the Freedom Tower (because that is what the boys call it) or the “new” World Trade Center. But it is what it is: One World Trade Center.

The timing was, obviously, kind of appropriate. On Friday we stood at our dining room window and looked at the top of the World Trade Center and at the Towers of Light that went up into the sky. Julian was in Jeff’s arms and asked all the questions. Why did the airplanes crash? Why did the firemen not get away fast enough? Can that happen again to this World Trade Center?

I tried to keep busy during all of this and only listened with one ear, because I think otherwise I would have cried. It was one of the moments that have recently become more frequent…some of the loss of innocence and growing up that I know lies ahead for our boys. Just over the last month or so Julian has been asking questions about death and what happens when we die.

So, visiting the World Trade Center at this moment in our lives was kind of appropriate. The boys were very excited. Arthur kept pointing up and shouting “Freedom Tower!”

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We spent a lot of time walking around and looking at boats and tiny taxis and the bridges and the city and Brooklyn and New Jersey. We tried to find our house, but couldn’t.

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It was an amazing, amazing sight. It literally took my breath away. We looked at all the paths and roads we’ve ridden our bikes on and reminisced about the summer and the adventures we’ve had.

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We looked down at the World Trade Center memorial water fountain. We told Julian that this is where the original buildings stood.

When we went down and looked at the fountain up close, Arthur kept requesting to bathe in the water, so at that point it was time to move on. I think everyone needs an Arthur in their lives, just to keep things in perspective and for hearts not to get too heavy.

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We spent the rest of the day riding around Battery Park. We spent some time sitting by the water with beer, lemonade, and hot dogs – while the boys jumped on a foot-sized xylophone.

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We hung out on a playground…

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…until it started to rain. We had coffee and treats at a coffee shop in Tribeca. And then we headed home.

These moments with the boys are so bittersweet. On the one hand I want to protect them always and keep their hearts pure, but on the other hand I know it’s just not possible. Julian has proven to be very sensible, inquisitive, and smart when approaching some of the more serious subjects of life, although we’re still working on compassion on every day matters when his brother is lying on the floor, crying. Arthur, however, knows nothing about the turmoils of the heart, but he will drop everything right then and there to rush to his brother’s side when he’s upset and hold him.

So it all evens out in the end, I guess.

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