New York New York – The Big Apple Big Surprise

Surprising our 10 year old with a New York trip.

“One of your Christmas presents will arrive early this year. It will be delivered around the 12th and it can’t wait so you can open that one early.  Just that one though.”

My husband and I had started dropping hints to pique her interest. Our 10 year old daughter was excited and mildly irritated at the unfolding charade.  We had been plotting our New York scheme for a couple months and now that we were in the home stretch it was getting more exciting.  We had it all planned out and gently torturing her was definitely part of the plan.

new york

Everything was coming together for our big surprise.  The tickets were bought, the accommodations arranged, we had recruited a friend to drive our car back from the airport.  I had done some secret shopping for clothes, shoes and jackets as our light southern California options would be no match for the frigid climate where we were heading.  The weather report said snow flurries!

The morning of departure we climbed into the car, our luggage secured in the trunk the night before so not to raise any suspicions.  I was driving and my husband sat in the passenger side.  Ollie and our friend Angel got in the back seat.  We told her our friend needed a ride and we all chatted during the commute.  As we neared the airport my husband started fiddling with the radio and his blue tooth.  The car stereo speakers came alive with the intro to an Alicia Keys song just as I pulled into the airport and up to the curb at the appropriate terminal.

“Hey Ollie, remember we kept talking about a big surprise for Christmas?” I said looking in the back seat at my little girls face.

“Yeah…” she sputters as she looked out the window. “Are we going somewhere?” Her face brightening with the realization, “Is THAT the surprise? We are flying somewhere??” I am nodding yes to her and I can guess what her next question will be.  I reach to turn the music up just as she asks, “Where are we going?”

I lip sync the answer using my cell phone as a microphone, “Neeewwwww Yyoooooorrrrkkkk, concrete jungle where dreams are made of…”

I let my rock star pantomime fall off as her face lit up like Broadway.  She said it again to be sure, “New York? We are going to New York?!?”

The rest of the trip was a dream.  We stayed in Brooklyn at a friend’s apartment and got to experience a true New Yorkers life.  We took the subways, which she hated.  We went ice skating in Central Park, toured the Natural History museum and the Met, which she loved.  We ate a slice at Rays and went Christmas shopping at a pop up event in Bryant Park.  We got caught up in a protest march and she saw her first snow fall.  We saw the tree at Rockefeller and went to the top of the Empire State building.  It was a magical New York Big Apple Christmas and she whole-heartedly agreed that the surprise was well worth the wait.

New York

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