I’ve been waiting since the day Lucas was born to bring him to his first Broadway show.
I had no idea how to make sure Lucas would grow up to be the kind of person who would appreciate such a thing, but somehow I got lucky, and he is. Saturday night, I took him to see Peter and the Starcatcher, and we had such a good time. The show was great–funny and inventive. Lucas joked about how we were spending our evening watching people pretending to be something they are not, and I joked back about how most of life is like that. He bought me a pin as a souvenir.
Earlier in the day, I had mentioned that if he wasn’t too tired after the show, I might take him to the top of the Empire State Building. He’s afraid of heights and seemed apprehensive, and so I told him it was totally up to him. I told myself I needed to be okay with that. But after the show, he said, “I’m not tired. Let’s go to the Empire State Building.”
So then we started walking. We cut through Times Square. I’ve been through Times Square I don’t know how many times in my life, but I always just plow through. I’ve never stopped and looked at it. Lucas was gawking, though–staring up while we were trucking along–so I did something I’d never have done if he wasn’t with me. I pulled him aside and said, “Okay. Let’s stop. Let’s look.”
And we looked around for a while: reading everything, pointing stuff out, looking like total tourists at 11:30 on a Saturday night. It was fine.
After that, we went over to Fifth Ave., and that’s when we started sprinting from block to block in an attempt to not have to wait at any corners. That kid may run cross-country, but I can still keep up with him. When we were a block away, I caught a glimpse of the Empire State Building, and I stopped him and pointed it out.
“Oh my God, that’s high,” he said.
“It is,” I said. “You sure about this?”
He nodded, and we made our last sprint.
There was no line, so we walked and elevatored our way straight up to the top. Two steps onto the observation deck, we got hit by this crazy wind–our Playbills went flying and Lucas was laughing, chasing down the Playbills and telling me how my hair was sticking straight up.
“I know!” I said, “Come look!”
So we went to the edge and started going around slowly. I pointed things out that I knew, and Lucas asked questions. He made a point of looking down. He kept saying, “The cars are smaller than Matchbox Cars! They’re so small!”
It turned out that the wind was on two sides of the building and not the two other sides. After we made our first slow walk around, Lucas asked if we could go around again. Then again. Then again. By then our teeth were chattering, so we went inside.
“Do you want to go back to the hotel, or do you want to go out again?” I asked.
“Can we go out again? I want to go around one more time,” he said.
“We can stay here as long as you want,” I said. “This is not every day.”
And so we went out and ran around the observation deck a few more times. One time when we hit the wind, Lucas shouted, “I LOVE THIS!”
It was after midnight by then, so, finally, we went downstairs, I got us a cab, and Lucas took his first taxi ride with me back to our hotel.
I’ve thought a lot through the years about what I want to instill in this child who has given me so much. I’ve taught him some things on purpose, but then he surprised me by developing a love of theatre without my direct intervention. And now somehow he’s becoming the kind of person who doesn’t let being afraid stop him from doing something worthwhile, the kind of person who’s a lot of fun to hang out with in New York City on a Saturday night.
Lucas will be thirteen in a few weeks. Sometimes I’m afraid about him growing up.
But this, this is worthwhile.