Friday, April 23, 2010
One of the hardest things for me in parenting Colby is never knowing if an environment is going to be O.K. for her, and there being no ability to reason with, bribe or cajole her. It feels a little trivial, I will confess anyway, but I have missed not being able to take Colby certain places. In particular, Balthazar. Balthazar is gorgeous. One of my earliest experiences of New York City glamour was at age twenty-two, sitting at the bar on a summer evening after a dance class and having a cold beer in an elegant Pilsner glass. I snacked on the olives and thought how I as a little girl would have found the environment exhilarating. And I looked forward to taking my own kids there as an ultra treat from that moment on.
I tried taking Colby once, we were there for about eight minutes. People were nice, trying to help, but she started to cry and wanted out, and there is really no point trying to force a moment like that with her. When Coral had her first croissant at a local coffee shop and loved it, I knew I had my long awaited date for Balthazar, I knew she would love it: she loves croissants, she loves mirrors, she loves fans, she loves nice, pretty ladies and handsome men. Balthazar is a temple to croissants, it is plastered with French bistro mirrors and every member of the waitstaff, in their crisp black and white outfits, are so gorgeous they look like they are playing waiters in a movie.
We were seated at our table, grinning widely, both fully aware that this was a real treat. Coral looked at the fans, above the outstretched spring bouquets of peonies and cherry blossoms and said, "Fans dancing!" while they twirled above us. She ate her croissant exclaiming, "This mine Moma!" and dipping it in her warm milk with honey. It was bliss. It was the sort of moment I remember savoring as a child, having your parents all to yourself, in a special environment, eating a treat.
I thought of it as a treat for Coral, but actually it was a treat for me. To sit with my daughter, just two years old now, with whom I can easily anticipate moods and needs. I can read her and see things coming in a way that I cannot with Colby. Being with Coral is not a comparison between the girls. This moment together was much simpler than that. It was being with a child, my child, and sharing something we both enjoy: a lovely place, a buttery croissant, and each other. It was nothing short of a dream come true.