Back when I was a wee lad, my Grandma Marta used to work part time at the original Macy’s, located at 34th Street in Manhattan. I still vividly recall going to the store to visit herâ€”the long wood escalators, the employee cafeteria, the Cellar. What I remember best is that, a couple of Christmas seasons, Grandma took my brother and me to see Santa. It was a true highlightâ€”Macy’s had this whole Santa’s Village, with a long path and Santa’s helpers, etc. In my family, it was a favorite story to talk about the time, at age 7 or 8, Santa asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I replied, “Nothing, I’m Jewish.”
Anyhow, two years ago I started what I hope will be a lengthy tradition with my 5-year-old daughter, Casey: Taking her into the city for a day of fun before Christmasâ€”capped off by Santa at Macy’s.
Today was the day.
I have friends who don’t want kids, and usually I understand. But not today. This was pure glee for both of us. Casey was mesmerized by Santaâ€”we had this lengthy debate beforehand whether she should tell him she’s Jewish. When she reached a decision, she looked at me very seriously and said, “Now, Daddy, don’t tell him.” So I didn’t. Casey sat on his lap, asked for makeup for Christmas, posed for the overpriced photographs we would never, ever purchase.
Later in the day, after seeing the big tree across from the Rainbow Room, I dragged Casey into St. Patrick’s. She was fascinated, and initially asked whether we could sit down. I agreed, and then she started asking me about prayer. I explained the concept, how it’s supposed to work. “Daddy,” she said. “I think we should pray for Grammie, because she’s old.” I laughed.
This is a long babble. But for all the trials of being a parent, it really is worthwhile. Tomorrow, my wife and kids are going to Florida for a week as I work on my next book. To say I’m hurting is a huge understatement. But, for lack of a better word, I’m hurting.