Saturday, October 29, 2011

Meeting Mary

As I wrote on Three Thinking Mothers, when we started Three Thinking Mothers in June, I never knew if I would ever have the opportunity to meet Mary from Homegrown Learners.  She lives in Atlanta and I live in New Jersey.  Over the last few months, we have exchanged dozens of emails, chatted and "hung out" on Google+ and developed a close friendship.  So when she said that she would be traveling with her husband on business to New York City, I immediately emailed my boss about taking that day off, found someone to cover my programs at the library and found someone to stay with the girls!  I was so excited for the opportunity to meet Mary!

Normally when we go into the city, Jason drives.  But I am not comfortable driving in the city and it is more cost effective for one person to take the train.  So I did.  As I was waiting on my local train platform, a woman came up and asked if this was the train to Manhattan.  I replied that it was.  Somehow, we started talking.  And wouldn't you know it, she is a HOMESCHOOL MOM!  Her son is a child actor living and working in New York City and she had to apply for a permit for him to film in our little NJ town (which was why she was there!).  We sat together on the train all the way to NYC talking curriculum and opportunities and developing our children's passions.  Total Coolness!

When I got to the city, I was not at all nervous.  If you know me, you know I normally get myself a little worked up before meeting new people, but I was not at all nervous.  I was just excited!  I was also impressed with my sense of direction to get to the restaurant!

Meeting Mary seemed like the most natural thing in the world to me.  Mary is such a warm, open, easy person to be with that it instantly felt like we were old friends, who had known each other forever.  Melissa from Joys of Home Educating met us as well.  She was also very warm and very easy to be with, she has an amazing testimony that she blessed us with.  At one point, I realized that Melissa and I were your typical mile-a-minute New Yorkers, talking over and around each other as New Yorkers do and Mary was just taking it all in.  It was a wonderful, bonding afternoon with two women who I felt a strong connection with almost instantly.

After lunch, we walked Melissa back to Grand Central Station.  On the way, we passed this and decided to pray.  I have shared with you that I sometimes spontaneously burst into song; if something I or someone else says reminds me of a song lyric--it's over!  What you don't know is that I also spontaneously pray; if I look up and see something beautiful, I say a quick "Thanks, God, you Rock!" (yes, I tell God that he rocks quite often!) and if I find something that I thought was lost, I offer a quick prayer.  In Catholic school, we were taught to say, "Jesus have mercy" three times when we heard a siren (ambulance or fire), I have taught my girls to pray for whomever is in the ambulance or the people whose home to fire truck is going to.  So, as we passed this statue, when Melissa said, "I feel we should pray..." I thought, "Amen, Sister!"

We made our way to Grand Central Station, which is such a gem!  I really should have taken more photos there, but I think when you get to go to these places regularly you take them for granted :(  I did, however, take some photos in the Grand Central Marketplace, where we were SO tempted to buy something awesome to bring home.  But the thought of carrying it around for the rest of the day...

After that, Mary and I just started walking with no real agenda.  I have to say, that is my favorite thing to do in Manhattan.  When you have an agenda you are focused on getting to that place.  When you don't have an agenda, you take the time to look around and New York City is definitely a place to look around.  If you don't live here and you come to visit, I encourage you to take a day to plan nothing and just walk around...and don't forget to LOOK UP!

I did remember Karen at Homeschool Girl's post the other day of cotton fields and how she and Kei see them all the time, but they photographed them to share with people in other parts of the country (like me!) who have NEVER seen a cotton field!  So, these photos are for those of you who have not been to The New York Public Library:

Yes, folks, this is the ceiling.  As Mary and I said upon entering, "No wonder our country is in financial trouble"  The upkeep on this must cost a fortune.  But it sure is beautiful!

A Lego Lion.  There are two, guarding the doors on the inside.

After that, without an agenda, it was St. Pat's:

Every time I go to St. Pat's I say over and over, ad nauseum,
"I am SO glad that they still have REAL candles!"
Seriously, people.
The smell, the ambiance, the feeling...
NOT the same with those electric candles most Catholic churches now have.
I get the insurance thing.
I understand it.
But I still prefer REAL waxy, flickering, burning candles!

Our day ended with watching the ice skaters at Rock Center and probably an hour or more of real, good, heart-to-heart girl talk :)

Then I had to head back to catch the train back to New Jersey...