Paul and I went out to dinner just the two of us on Saturday night. There was no occasion, really, just an available babysitter, which is enough of a rarity to be an occasion in and of itself. We'd purposely made no plans, and when the evening presented itself, a beautiful, clear summer night, we were glad to walk around town for a bit before selecting a destination.
In the end, we chose one of the few restaurants in town where we'd never been before, primarily because we could get an outside table and we were loathe to go indoors on such a beautiful night. The menu turned out to be fabulous and the atmosphere was equally lovely. Live music and the opportunity to people watch as we dined were a rare treat, and we found ourselves growing nostalgic for a town that we're not even sure we're leaving just yet.
Talk turned, as it inevitably does these days, to our potential London adventure, and then back to life here in the States. "You know," I finally said to Paul, "we don't have to go abroad to have new experiences and expose our children to the world. If we've determined that they're old enough to see Europe, then surely they're old enough to see all that New York and our surrounding area have to offer as well."
It was a prospect we hadn't really considered before, and yet, we both immediately knew it to be the truth. And so, just two days later, Paul took Julia into the city with him, for a special father-daughter day. They would ride the train in, "work" at his office a bit, find a place to eat lunch together and then come home early. Julia was absolutely thrilled when Paul presented the plan to her, and the two of them left on Monday morning with a backpack full of diversions for Julia and great plans for a great day.
When they returned several hours later, they were full of great stories of what they did and what they saw and where they ate. The trip had been a success, we all agreed as Julia showed me the pictures of skyscrapers that she'd drawn while Paul had been working. But that night, as I tucked Julia into bed, she had a little confession to make. "I know it was a big adventure and all," she told me. "And it WAS fun. But it was also... a little boring."
I laughed as I reassured Julia that it was OK for her to have been bored. Even when an adventure is exciting, I explained, it can be pretty ordinary some of the time. It was a useful -- albeit unexpected -- lesson for Julia to have gained from her day in the big city. But in the back of my mind, I knew that was really me and Paul who would do well to remember what she had just learned.