“Defying Gravity”

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.


  1. Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I had no idea you guys had done this. Well done! Extra kudos for spelling theatre correctly too.

  2. Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Ah, this is lovely. Way to keep up with Lucas! I think I was around Lucas’s age when I got to go up the Empire State Building. The good thing about Manhattan streets is that many of them are one-way, so jay-walking is less dangerous than it might be otherwise (not that I’m advocating being a Terrible Role Model for Safety).

  3. Posted October 16, 2012 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    I love love this post! What a beautiful experience for both of you.

  4. olivia
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    This warms my heart. So glad you were able to take this trip. :) And that Lucas continues to be such a joy.

  5. olivia
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    And, btw, now I have “Defying Gravity” from Wicked stuck in my head. Darn you. ;)

  6. momster
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Nice:)I get the feeling he’ll be interested in NYU,Columbia–like that;)

  7. Posted October 16, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    (I, too, have “Defying Gravity” stuck in my head; our chorus did a Broadway Christmas show every year and some chick from London did pieces from Wicked. That song is kind of a theme song now.)

    Lucas sounds like an amazing, amazing human being. And so much braver than me. I aspire to be that cool.

  8. adrienne
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Jeffrey, I am pretty awesome.

    Farida, I am a terrible jaywalker when on my own, but I do mostly try to enforce following the rules of the road with the kids. Mostly.

    Jama, Thanks! It was!

    Olivia, He is a joy, and Maxwell is, too. I think he had a lot of fun as well, but he’s young for Broadway and the Empire State Building yet. Someday.

    Momster, It will be interesting to see!

    Olivia and Tanita, re: the song, BWA-HA-HA. I have it stuck in my head, too, kind of perpetually. Lucas really loves that song and show, and I did think about taking him to see that instead. I wish we could have done both.

  9. Tonderdo
    Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    It was a fun night all around. Perhaps he won’t ditch us quite yet.

  10. Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Silly me. I thought for years that the Empire State Building was “too touristy.” Then I finally went, and was proven utterly wrong. Lucas, thank you for yelling, “I LOVE THIS.” It’s what I want to say to the world too, and sometimes, am too grownup to get out the words.

  11. Posted October 17, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    What a great time! After all these years in or near NYC, I’ve never been to the top of the Empire State Building. I must remedy this.

  12. adrienne
    Posted October 17, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Tammy, I don’t know who else would take him to do so many fun things.

    Sara and Susan, This is one of those touristy things that’s worth doing. I’ve been up there twice, and I was lucky enough that I didn’t have to wait in line either time. The lack of waiting might be part of why I think so fondly of it.

    Also, I think it’s best to go at night. I’ve only gone up at night, too, but it’s very cool with all the lights.

  13. Heidi
    Posted October 19, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    “Lucas joked about how we were spending our evening watching people pretending to be something they are not,” Were you watching the audience or the actors? :-)

  14. Posted October 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    This is one of my favorite Adrienne and Lucas stories ever.

  15. adrienne
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Heidi, Exactly.

    Little Willow, Thanks! It’s one of my favorites, too.

  16. Posted October 20, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Seriously, I wish I had been there to film it. But I wasn’t, so all I can do is ask you if I can shamelessly steal it for something, someday, some scene in a film, because it’s so beautiful and awesome.

  17. adrienne
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Please do! I’ll be so glad to see what you do with it someday!

  18. Posted October 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink


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