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I have always liked New York City! The bright lights, the endless noise, the frantic walking through its overpopulated, concrete jungle while being looked down-upon by cold, towering skyscrapers have always amused me. We have spent quite a few summers, here, in the past, bunking in tiny, one-bedroom apartments, while my sister trained and performed with this and that dance company. It has always been an enjoyable month or two where mom and I toured the city, visited numerous museums, played on spongy playgrounds, and observed an astounding collection of incredibly colorful people.
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This school year, however, my sister was chosen to apprentice and perform with The Joffrey, which meant we needed to temporarily go to NYC with her. It has been a few months now and three weeks before Christmas, the realization set in that I was going to actually spend Christmas here, this year, and not in my beloved Colorado as I have for the past ten years, with our most cherished traditions and my best friend, Jonas.
One of my favorite things around this holiday has always been the fun fairs and festivals we attend in Colorado. Another favorite tradition is driving around the neighborhood, in my pjs, with candy cane and hot chocolate in hand, admiring everyone else’s decorations. A most special, yet newer tradition, has been the day after Christmas, where I spend time with my best buddy, Jonas, ravenously enjoying all of our new holiday goodies together. Surely, none of this would be possible in New York City. This realization made me sad as I knew this Christmas was not going to be the same at all and probably nowhere near as fun either.
My mom, noticing my intense scowl, inquired as she playfully poked my side, “What’s got you down, Gav?”
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“Mom,” I answered, “I’m not sure I want to spend the holidays here this year.”
“Really?” Mom replied as she took hold of my cold hands and looked deep into my eyes, “Why is that?”
“It’s not going to be the same,” I pouted. “It’s not going to be as fun. We won’t be able to do any of the things we usually do around this time of year and I won’t be able to play with Jonas after Christmas with all our new gifts. I think that we should go back home for the holidays!”
“Well, you’re right, Gav,” she acquiesced. “It won’t be the same, but your sister has holiday performances coming up soon and we must stay here with her until she is done, just like we all agreed at the beginning of our adventure. Who’s to say that different can’t be as fun, though? I know that it’s hard to be away from home for so long, especially during this holiday season, but I promise you, I’ve made fun plans for us that I know you’ll enjoy, plus a huge surprise at the end that will make you almost forget you are not in Colorado.” She then gently wiped away a strand of hair covering my eye and continued, “Give it a chance, buddy! I have a feeling you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
Knowing I didn’t have much say in the matter, I nodded quietly, certain that there was absolutely no way I would enjoy the holidays here as much as I usually did in Colorado.
Over the next few weeks, my mother proved herself to be correct. She had gone above and beyond to ensure we would have a fabulous, festive season in this “City that Never Sleeps!” There was so much to see and do! First, we took part in the celebrations at Rockefeller Center’s Tree Lighting Ceremony where we enjoyed watching singers, dancers and skaters until the boisterous countdown to the illumination of the largest tree I had ever seen. Then, we admired gorgeous, sparklingly-decorated windows at two of the largest stores in Manhattan. The first, Macy’s, had a “Living in NYC” theme, while the second, Saks Fifth Avenue, had a “Snow White/Fairytale” theme. Lastly, we had front row, balcony seats at Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes in their most famous “Christmas Spectacular!” It was outstanding and really got me in the Christmas spirit! It was a fun holiday season after all, but one sad thought still lingered in the back of my mind. How could I possibly, truly enjoy Christmas if I couldn’t share my newly-acquired presents with my best pal, Jonas?
Christmas day was joyful and peaceful. We celebrated in our apartment’s living room, by our tree, happily ripping apart festive wrapping-papers and gift-boxes to discover the thoughtful surprises hidden inside. It was a most special family day! My mom had thought of everything all the way down to my favorite, holiday dinner of juicy turkey with lightly-buttered brussel sprouts and potatoes. For dessert, we even got to make and decorate our own cookies coupled with sweet, homemade sorbet. It was definitely an amazing day, but as I washed up and brushed my teeth before heading to bed that night, I couldn’t help but sigh at the thought that the following day could never measure up to the “day-after” back home.
The next morning, I was awakened abruptly by the sharp, piercing honk of the apartment’s intercom system. Someone must have been pressing the button accidentally since we, obviously, were not expecting any company.
From the bathroom, my mother yelled, “Gav, could you answer the buzzer, please? I can’t get to it right now!”
Stumbling out of bed, I annoyedly pressed the “talk” button, “Who is it?” I asked slightly irritated.
“Bro, open the door!” the arrogant visitor exclaimed.
“Who is it?” I repeated, now twice as irritated.
“Has it been that long, you don’t remember my voice? It’s Jonas!” the visitor chuckled.
“What?” I responded, stunned, “No, that’s no possible! What are you doing here?”
“Well, let me in and find out!” Jonas teased.
The next few seconds, as Jonas and his mom walked up to our 3rd floor apartment, were the slowest in the world. What was Jonas doing here? Was this for real?
As I started hearing their climbing footsteps, I ran to the stairwell to see for myself. It WAS Jonas! I couldn’t believe my eyes! I was so excited!
I gave him a huge hug and dragged him into the apartment where we stayed for hours, chatting and playing together on my new PS4, petting the cat, and reminiscing about previous Christmases in Colorado as though no one else of any importance was in the room with us. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know what our moms were doing. I have absolutely no clue as I was solely focused on Jonas! I was SO happy!
The next few days with my best buddy were the greatest! My mom and I showed Jonas and his mom all our favorite places. We toured Manhattan, walked Times Square, enjoyed a museum and a pinball amusement facility, as well as some open play-time at my NYC parkour gym. Jonas and I had a most wonderful time together!
Those three days unfortunately flew by. Before we knew it, it was time to, once again, say our goodbyes. I am extremely grateful I have the best mom in the world, who, no matter how busy she was, planned this most amazing Christmas Holiday Season for me, away from home, in New York City! It may have been a different and unusual Christmas, but it sure was a terrific one!
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