Street vender t-shirt; American Eagle cutoffs; Anthropologie tights; Tory Burch flats
The day I turned twelve, my dad informed me that it was the beginning of the end. The day I turned twelve meant that there were a mere 365 days until the day I turned thirteen, and that meant being a teenager. And being a teenager meant I would no longer be his. Teenagers, he told me, roll their eyes at everything their fathers do, don’t laugh at their jokes (What did zero say to eight? “Nice belt!”), and especially don’t want to talk to them about anything. Teenagers are awful.
He proceeded to reveal a large envelope from behind his back. It was a birthday present, but really, it was a celebration that I wasn’t a teenager yet.
The day I turned twelve, my dad gave me a homemade coupon for a three-day trip – just him and me – to anywhere in the country I wanted to go. The printed sheet had clip art pictures of airplanes in each corner (my mother’s doing, I knew), and was singlehandedly the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. This gift existed, and would for my sister when she turned twelve, he explained, so that he could have as much time with us as possible before we started thinking that parental hang-out sessions were the lamest. Before teenagerdom. So, he said, where do you want to go?
It wasn’t even a question in my mind. NEW YORK CITY, I said passionately, and nearly fainted.
I kept everything from that long weekend in the Big Apple, and still have it in a box in my closet. The wax paper bag that once held steaming hot Nuts 4 Nuts; the napkin from the French restaurant where we convinced the waitstaff it was my birthday that very day and they proceeded to write “Happy Birthday” in sauce on the sides of all of my plates; the pamphlet a stranger handed me as we stood crying at Ground Zero; the program from the first show I ever saw on Broadway (it was Hairspray - did you not read yesterday’s post title?). It was a whirlwind of everything ever. It was sensory overload. I was a small person and it was a big city and I thought maybe it could swallow me and I wasn’t exactly sure I would mind if it did. I have been back to New York a few times since then, and fallen more in love with the city with each visit, but it will never be as magical as it was that three day weekend with my dad. I don’t think anything will be.
This shirt is a relic from that trip, and nearly nine years later, yellowed and faded, its message is still true.
Listen. Teenagerdom came and went, and my dad is still the man.