The first day in Manhattan, I was carefully instructing Annie on how to "be" in New York. Yes, you really are expected to cross against the light. No, those aren't real Rolexes. Yes, New Yorkers do talk a lot, and they like it when you talk back. No, you can't stop suddenly on a busy street to snap photos.
Although she was having a great time, she looked a little like a deer in the headlights. The peak of her insecurity happened the second day in Manhattan, in the morning. After sitting through the information session at NYU, as we began the tour, she leaned over to me and said quietly, "Mom, I can't possibly get in here, why are we doing this?"
That was at about 11:30am.
By 5:00pm that night, she was volunteering to wait on line by herself at the TKTS booth while Julie and I shopped Times Square. She was telling me which way to turn to get to the theatre, and how much time we'd need to get back to Grand Central in time for the late train (and finding her way through the GC maze once we got there). She was walking in a perfect Manhattan walk, about a half block ahead of me at all times ("hurry UP, Mom"). She was gamely eating oysters, even the big ones that make me gaggy. And perhaps most telling, she was talking about *when* she lives in the City.
Even for Annie, this was quite a growth spurt. At least five years worth of maturity and self-confidence in just over 5 hours. But it was magical to watch, and very gratifying to see.
I can't wait to see the wonders she encounters on this journey.